Did You Know........?
That no book in the history of the world has wielded as much influence on civilization as the Holy Bible? The Bible is unique in that it had God as its Author, while all other books were composed by human beings. It is indeed the Book of Books.
The Deposit of Faith
The Catholic Church derives all of its teaching authority from its tradition, called "Sacred Tradition," these are the doctrines which have come down to it from Christ. This Tradition is preserved in written form in the "Bible" which contains the principle Truths of Faith taught to the Apostles by Christ. Inspired men were moved by the Spirit of God to commit these matters to writing in the early Church. Only a short time after Christ's Ascension, perhaps within twenty years, the need to preserve these Truths in a permanent form was recognized. Before any book was accepted as "authentic" however, the authority of an Apostle was demanded by the early Christian Community. Mark's Gospel was accepted because he was Peter's companion. Similarly, though Luke was a man who had not seen Christ, his book gained acceptance through St. Peters authority.
The Church has protected and guarded these books which contained the revelations of Christ to His disciples and their testimony concerning Him.
The Bible Defined
In the words of the Council of Trent, which enumerated the books of the Bible under their proper titles, the Church declares that she receives: "All the books of the Testaments, Old and New, since the one God is the Author of both." The Vatican Council is more explicit: "The Church holds those books as sacred and canonical, not because, having been composed by human industry, they were afterwards approved by her authority, nor merely because they contain revelation without error, but because having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their Author."
The word "Bible" comes from the Greek biblion meaning "the book," the plural is ta biblia, "the books." In the Greek the word is a neuter, but later on the word biblia was taken for a feminine singular, "the book." Taken in this sense, it refers to all the books of both Testaments. The Bible is the Book par excellence.
The Bible Needs an Interpreter
The Bible is extremely difficult to understand, even by Bible scholars. It was written in languages long dead, and in the manner and idiom of the time. To interpret the Bible, it is not only necessary to understand the languages in which the Bible was written, but to understand the meanings that the words of the Bible had at the time they were written. The Bible, therefore, has to be interpreted to be understood, and for Catholics, the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, is the official guardian and infallible interpreter of the Bible.
Canon of the Bible
The Bible contains 72 books (or 73, depending on whether the Book of Lamentations is listed as a separate book and not as part of Jeremiah), varying in length from a few hundred words to many thousands. Together, these books comprise the official list or canon of the Bible. Of these books, 45 were written before the time of Christ and are called the books of the Old Testament. The other 27 books were written after the time of Christ and are called the books of the New Testament.
Source: The New American Bible. Translated from the Original Languages with critical use of all the ancient sources by members of the Catholic Biblical Association of America.