Bread of Life

BREAD OF LIFE
 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (john 6: 50)
The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded. Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.

THE REAL PRESENCE

Why does the Catholic Church believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist?
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” - John 6:48-56
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!

This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Monday, August 23, 2010

THE CANON OF THE BIBLE

All Christians realize that if God has revealed Himself by communicating His will to man, man must be able to know with assurance where that revelation lies. Hence the need for a list (i.e. canon) of books of the Bible. In other words, man needs to know without error (i.e. infallibly) what the books of the Bible are. There must be an authority which will make that decision.

The canon of the Bible refers to the definitive list of the books which are considered to be divine revelation and included therein. A canon distinguishes what is revealed and divine from what is not revealed and human. "Canon" (Greek kanon) means a reed; a straight rod or bar; a measuring stick; something serving to determine, rule, or measure. Because God did not explicitly reveal what books are the inspired books of the Bible, title by title, to anyone, we must look to His guidance in discovering the canon of the Bible.

Jesus has told us that he has not revealed all truths to us.

John 16:12-13
I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.

Jesus then told us how he was planning to assist us in knowing other truths.

John 14:16-17
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.

John 15:26
When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.

The New Testament writers sensed how they handled truth-bearing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4
For I handed on (paredoka) to you as of first importance what I also received ...

2 Timothy 2:2
And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust (parathou) to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well.

There was a constant history of faithful people from Paul's time through the Apostolic and Post Apostolic Church.

Melito, bishop of Sardis, an ancient city of Asia Minor (see Rev 3), c. 170 AD produced the first known Christian attempt at an Old Testament canon. His list maintains the Septuagint order of books but contains only the Old Testament protocanonicals minus the Book of Esther.

The Council of Laodicea, c. 360, produced a list of books similar to today's canon. This was one of the Church's earliest decisions on a canon. Pope Damasus, 366-384, in his Decree, listed the books of today's canon. The Council of Rome, 382, was the forum which prompted Pope Damasus' Decree. Bishop Exuperius of Toulouse wrote to Pope Innocent I in 405 requesting a list of canonical books. Pope Innocent listed the present canon.

The Council of Hippo, a local north Africa council of bishops created the list of the Old and New Testament books in 393 which is the same as the Roman Catholic list today. The Council of Carthage, a local north Africa council of bishops created the same list of canonical books in 397.

This is the council which many Protestant and Evangelical Christians take as the authority for the New Testament canon of books. The Old Testament canon from the same council is identical to Roman Catholic canon today. Another Council of Carthage in 419 offered the same list of canonical books.

Since the Roman Catholic Church does not define truths unless errors abound on the matter, Roman Catholic Christians look to the Council of Florence, an ecumenical council in 1441 for the first definitive list of canonical books.

The final infallible definition of canonical books for Roman Catholic Christians came from the Council of Trent in 1556 in the face of the errors of the Reformers who rejected seven Old Testament books from the canon of scripture to that time.

There was no canon of scripture in the early Church; there was no Bible. The Bible is the book of the Church; she is not the Church of the Bible. It was the Church--her leadership, faithful people--guided by the authority of the Spirit of Truth which discovered the books inspired by God in their writing. The Church did not create the canon; she discerned the canon. Fixed canons of the Old and New Testaments, hence the Bible, were not known much before the end of the 2nd and early 3rd century.

Catholic Christians together with Protestant and Evangelical Christians hold the same canon of the New Testament, 27 books, all having been originally written in the Greek language.

Catholic Christians accept the longer Old Testament canon, 46 books, from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Alexandrian Canon.

Protestant and Evangelical Christians, from the Reformers onward, accept the shorter Old Testament canon, 39 books, from the Hebrew Palestinian Canon. Jews have the same canon as Protestants.

Canonical books are those books which have been acknowledged as belonging to the list of books the Church considers to be inspired and to contain a rule of faith and morals. Some criteria used to determine canonicity were

special relation to God, i.e., inspiration;
apostolic origin;
used in Church services, i.e., used by the community of believers guided by the Holy Spirit.

Other terms for canonical books should be distinguished: the protocanonical books, deuterocanonical books, and the apocryphal books.

The protocanonical (from the Greek proto meaning first) books are those books of the Bible that were admitted into the canon of the Bible with little or no debate (e.g., the Pentateuch of the Old Testament and the Gospels)

The deuterocanonical (from the Greek deutero meaning second) books are those books of the Bible that were under discussion for a while until doubts about their canonicity were resolved (e.g. Sirach and Baruch of the Old Testament, and the Johannine epistles of the New Testament).

The apocryphal (from the Greek apokryphos meaning hidden) books have multiple meanings:

complimentary meaning - that the sacred books were too exalted for the general public;
pejorative meaning - that the orthodoxy of the books were questioned;
heretical meaning - that the books were forbidden to be read; and lastly
neutral meaning - simply noncanonical books, the meaning the word has today.

Another word, pseudepigrapha (from the Greek meaning false writing) is used for works clearly considered to be false.

7 comments:

daevg4g said...

When non-Catholics are asked to provide biblical support or their belief that the Bible Alone is the sole rule of faith for the believer, they usually cite 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which states that “all scripture is God-breathed and is useful”.

However, they somehow miss the fact that the two verses immediately prior stress the importance of oral teaching and the teaching authority of the Church. Here is the entire passage with context added:

2 Timothy 3:14-17
Verse 14: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of (Timothy had learned the Gospel and become convinced that it was true by Paul’s ORAL preaching and teaching.

This oral preaching and teaching is known to Catholics as Sacred Tradition.), because you know those from whom you learned it (Timothy had learned the Scriptures first from his mother and grandmother, and then the full gospel from Paul, an Apostle (and Bishop) of the Church, and possibly from other Church leaders whom Timothy had heard preaching and teaching.

The teaching authority of the Church is known to Catholics as the Magisterium.)

Verse 15: and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures (Timothy would have known only the Old Testament scriptures from his infancy since the New Testament had not been written or completed at the time Paul’s letter to Timothy was composed.

However, the New Testament is recognized as part of the Bible, the written Word of God. This is known to Catholics as Sacred Scripture.), which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

(Only after commending the Tradition “handed on” from the Magisterium does Paul go on to discuss the nature of Sacred Scripture in the following verses.)

Verse 16: All Scripture is God-breathed (referring exclusively to the Hebrew Scriptures) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

daveg4g said...

Viewed this way, we can see that 2 Timothy 3:14-17 does not support the doctrine of sola scriptura at all. In fact, the opposite is true. (Compare: 1 Cor 11:2; 2 Thess 2:15, 3:6. )

Another point to consider is that Paul’s disciple, Timothy, was a Greek, and the Old Testament that Timothy would have been most familiar with from the time of his youth was the Greek Septuagint.

Because of his travels outside of Israel, Paul, too, would have been familiar with and would have used the Greek version of the Old Testament writings.

Eighty percent of Paul’s quotations of the Old Testament in the New are from the Greek Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Bible.

Therefore, in this passage of scripture, Paul encouraged Timothy to continue in what he had learned from the Septuagint.

NanaNor's said...

Greetings Michael, You left me a comment yesterday and I thank you for the verses you shared. I'm not quite sure how it related to what I was sharing but I appreciate your input. I have known many born-again Catholics who live a life of faith and are Spirit filled-they have been a blessing to me.
In Jesus, Noreen

Scooter said...

Dave4g4, You are making some incredible leaps of logic when you ascribe 2 Tim. 3:14 and 15 to the Catholic Church. Paul is making a reference to Timothy's mother and grandmother (1:5), as well as to Paul himself.
According to custom, the Jewish parent was to begin instructing a child in the law when the child reached 5 years of age. The situation in context is that the false teachers had been misrepresenting the Old Testament (1 Tim. 1:7; Titus 3:9). Timothy needs to remembera the proper instruction he received at the hands of his mother and grandmother. The 'sacred writings' here are the books of the Old Testament. The new Testament did not yet exist as a collection. How in the world do we get the so-called oral teaching of the Catholic church from these 2 prior verses?

daveg4g said...

....Protestants typically read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 out of context. When read in the context of the surrounding passages, one discovers that Paul’s reference to Scripture is only part of his exhortation that Timothy take as his guide Tradition and Scripture.

The two verses immediately before it state: "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:14–15).

Paul tells Timothy to continue in what he has learned for two reasons: first, because he knows from whom he has learned it—Paul himself—and second, because he has been educated in the scriptures.

The first of these is a direct appeal to apostolic tradition, the oral teaching which the apostle Paul had given Timothy.

So Protestants must take 2 Timothy 3:16-17 out of context to arrive at the theory of sola scriptura. But when the passage is read in context, it becomes clear that it is teaching the importance of apostolic tradition!

The Bible denies that it is sufficient as the complete rule of faith. Paul says that much Christian teaching is to be found in the tradition which is handed down by word of mouth (2 Timothy 2:2).

He instructs us to "stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

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Antonia said...

Controversial verse. Was a problem with translating from Greek and the "is"was put in twice whereas modern scholars render the verse as saying "All scripture ( OT was only scripture back then) God-breathed IS profitable ..."
See:http://knol.google.com/k/writings-section-of-original-bible-of-the-jews#

Michael said...

The goal of Rabbinic Judaism was to first record the oral traditions not contained in Sacred Scripture and second, to produce a new Greek translation of Sacred Scripture which could not be used so effectively by Christians to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Davidic Messiah.

A new Greek translation was produced by Jewish rabbis of Jamnia beginning circa 100AD which manipulated the Old Testament prophecies to change the wording and make the text less likely to be used as a proof of Jesus' fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

You may recall the words of St. James, Bishop of Jerusalem to St. Paul in Acts 21:20 concerning the success of proselytizing Jews: You see, brother, how thousands of Jews have now become believers, all of them staunch upholders of the Law... Those Jews well verse in the prophecies of the Messiah would be the first to recognize the fulfillment of those prophecies in Jesus of Nazareth.

http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/Is%20the%20Catholic%20Old%20Testament%20Accurate.htm