If you ask most Christians how they know what to believe the usual response is, “The Bible, of course. It’s the Word of God.” Chances are, though, the Christian that gives that answer learned it from someone else. At some point, someone taught that person that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. In other words, it is a tradition handed on from one person to the next. Few people spontaneously pick up a Bible and teach themselves that it is the Word of God. Generally, other people tell them so.
So, the “handing on” of the Bible is a Christian tradition. Christian writings have been passed on from the very beginning. As soon as the Apostles wrote letters and Gospels they were passed on to other believers. Yet, if we look at all the Christian writings, we notice that not all of them made it into the New Testament. There are many other letters and even some gospel accounts that are not considered divinely inspired. Therefore, they were not included in the Bible to be handed on to others.
Who decided which writings were divinely inspired? Who decided what Christian writings belonged in the New Testament? The Catholic Church made those decisions almost 400 years into Christianity. The men that were the successors of the Apostles decided which writings belonged in the Bible and which ones did not. But why should anyone trust them to do it? Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide the Church into all truth. If a Christian is going to trust Jesus, then a Christian must believe that the Holy Spirit guided those men in the Catholic Church in deciding which writings belonged in the Bible. Not because the men were perfect, but because the Holy Spirit is perfect.
If I believe the Bible, I have no other choice than to believe that the Church that assembled the Bible was Spirit-led. So, I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God because I can trust the Holy Spirit to guide the Church into all truth. Now, if the Catholic Church got the New Testament writings put in the proper place, who am I to suggest that they are in error regarding other aspects of Christian truth? I cannot logically say, “Oh, well, yeah, the Catholics got the New Testament writings correct, but they are wrong about this or that aspect of faith and morals.” Either the Holy Spirit leads into all truth or he does not. Jesus did not say, “I will send the Holy Spirit who will lead you only to assemble the Bible and then new churches will be started.” Nor did Jesus say, “All of Christian truth will eventually be put into written form in the Bible.” There is nothing anywhere to suggest that all Christian truth must be written down. But, there is plenty to suggest that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of truth.” (1Tim 3:15 and Matt 18:17, for example) The Bible points to the Church as the final authority, not to itself. The Bible is “profitable” or “useful” (2Tim 3:16) but never claims to be entirely “sufficient” in leading the Church. There must also be an interpreting authority.
Because the Catholic Church can trace an apostolic succession all the way back to Christ and his Apostles, I can therefore trust that the Bible is indeed the Word of God. I know the Bible is right because the Catholic Church tells me so. Nowhere does the Bible say, “The Table of Contents is accurate. All these books belong here.” The Church tells me that The Table of Contents is accurate because the Church assembled The Table of Contents. It is the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church that is being handed on with each Bible. Every time we say that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, we are validating the Christ-given authority of the Catholic Church.
So, that is why I attend the Catholic Church. It is the original, Bible-believing Church. Since they got that truth right, they must have other aspects of faith and morals right, too. Otherwise, we’re all reading from Bibles that were put together by a Church that is only Spirit-led part of the time, a Church that is led into some truth but not all truth. Or, the gates of Hell prevailed against the Church after it assembled the Bible and thousands of new denominations with different “truths” had to be started. That’s not what Jesus promised. I want the whole package promised by Jesus. That’s why I’m a Bible-believing Catholic. The Bible is, after all, a Catholic book.