Who Said the Bible is Inspired?


By Victor Feria

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be equipped, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

Argument 1:

We have to see the context of this verse as to when it was written by St. Paul to Timothy. Looking at the verses prior to this:

14: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15: 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.

We can see that Paul was referring to the scriptures that was written at that time. He was referring to the Old Testament. Blessed John Henry Newman explained it in an 1884 essay entitled “Inspiration in its Relation to Revelation.” :

Now, a good part of the New Testament was not written in his boyhood: Some of the Catholic epistles were not written even when Paul wrote this, and none of the books of the New Testament were then placed on the canon of the Scripture books. He refers, then, to the scriptures of the Old Testament, and, if the argument from this passage proved anything, it would prove too much, viz., that the scriptures of the New Testament were not necessary for a rule of faith.”


One may claim the verse is “self-authenticating”. This is problematic due to reasons where other books can claim as inspired. The Quran, The Book of Mormons, etc. can then claim the same argument. Self-authentication becomes a circular logic or reasoning. It is like, in mathematics, solving an equation using the same declaration as the solution itself. That gets us nowhere. An absurd claim can also be made like this: “I am God because I said so; I said so because I am God.” There is nothing more clear than this example and that proves nothing.

Argument 2:

When we rely solely on 2 Tim 3:16 that declares that “All scriptures” are inspired then we have taken the Church out of the process of compiling the books that we now have as the Bible. Most Protestants adhere to this verse in their argument of “Sola Scriptura” or Bible Alone. There is more to this which is beyond the scope of this paper. As one can see, the Church under Divine Authority, infallible and as surrogate,  issued a final decree beginning with the Council of Rome. There is simply no argument against that the Church was involved in declaring the canonicity of the books.

Concluding Argument:

“Being inspired by God is, by definition, the only real criterion for a book’s inclusion in the biblical canon. This is fine, in the abstract, but useless when it gets down to brass tacks– for to respond to the question ‘Which books are canonical?’ with ‘The books that are inspired’ is just to say that we can know the inspired books by their being inspired! The question just gets pushed back a step to ‘How do we know which books are inspired?’ What the canon is does not tell us how to identify it.” – Dr. Doug Beaumont, “Evangelical Exodus”

In “Decretum Gelasianum De Libris Recipiendis Et Non-Recipiendes” at the Council of Rome (382AD) decreed which books are to be received and not received. So the Divinely appointed infallible Church, with Divine Intervention, “discovers” which books are canonical. It is worthwhile to note that there were numerous books that were disputed and some declared spurious and their “authors to be damned in the extricable shackles of anathema forever.”

At the Vatican Council I (1870), “ Dei Filius, Chapter 2” states:

“…this supernatural revelation, according to the faith of the universal Church, as declared by the holy synod of Trent, is contained “in the written books and in the unwritten traditions which have been received by the apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself; or, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit have been handed down by the apostles themselves, and have thus come to us” [Council of Trent]. And, indeed, these books of the Old and New Testament, whole with all their parts, just as they were enumerated in the decree of the same Council, are contained in the older Vulgate Latin edition, and are to be accepted as sacred and canonical. But the Church holds these books as sacred and canonical, not because, having been put together by human industry alone, they were then approved by its authority; nor because they contain revelation without error; but because, having been written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and, as such, they have been handed down to the Church itself.

In closing, let me quote from a book written by Rt. Rev. Henry Grey Graham, 1911, “Where We Got The Bible”:

“.. We shall only be awarding a just meed of praise and gratitude if we frankly and thankfully recognize that it is to a council (or councils) of the Roman Catholic Church that we owe the collection of the separate books into our present Canon of the New Testament, and that to the loving care and devoted labor of the monks and scholars of that Church all through the ages we are indebted, not only for the multiplication and the distribution of the sacred volume among the faithful…but even for the preservation of the Book from corruption and destruction.”

Witness, Dialogue or Both?

Witness, Dialogue or Both?

In a group discussion I attended, it was said that it is “wrong” to engage in a dialogue when it comes to explaining our faith. This statement was made opposing my view of engaging another in a dialogue in order to explain what our Church teaches. The contention was that one’s witness or actions, e.g. leading a holy and spiritual life, is “the correct way.” By writing this note, it is my intention to dispel incorrect notion or misconception against what the Church officially teaches.


My disagreement to such “witness alone” concept is based on what I have learned from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. A commentary by Dr. Scott Hahn in his book, “Evangelizing Catholics: A Mission Manual for the New Evangelization” states:

The importance of witness, however, doesn’t give us license to dispense with words. Words matter too. They’re essential. And the reason they’re essential is because none of us are so truly and clearly living the Good News that the witness of our lives is sufficient for bringing people to faith.

As I tell folks when they use this excuse on me, “If you really think your witness is sufficient, that words aren’t necessary, go talk to your sister or your spouse and ask them if the witness of your life is so powerful, so moving and complete, that they can just look at you and know everything they could ever possibly need to know about God, Jesus Christ, and the Church, about sin and grace, sanctification, and salvation. Can people see it all in how you live every minute of every day? Could a complete biography of your life replace the Gospels? Or is something, at least occasionally, lacking?”

The answer, obviously, is that something is lacking. A whole lot of somethings are lacking — from my witness, your witness, and the witness of every fallen human being in this world. Even the holiest saints the Church has produced, St. Francis included, needed to use words to lead people to Christ.

The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (Apostolicam Actuositatem) acknowledged the importance of bearing witness to Christ with our lives, noting that such a witness has “the power to draw men to belief and to God.”

But it then goes on to say: However, [the lay apostolate] does not consist only in the witness of one’s way of life; a true apostle looks for opportunities to announce Christ by words addressed either to non-believers with a view to leading them to faith, or to the faithful with a view to instructing, strengthening, and encouraging them to a more fervent life. “For the charity of Christ impels us” (2 Cor 5:14). The words of the Apostle should echo in all hearts, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.” (n. 6) Again, both words and witness are essential. They work together. They complete each other, making our apostolate effective and whole. The Church doesn’t give us the option of picking one over the other. Nor does she give us the option of letting our preference for one mode of evangelization be our excuse for neglecting the other mode.

Instead, she calls us to overcome our reluctance to evangelize and to do it in word and deed. Not just for the sake of others, but for our own sake as well.”  (Chapter 3, p34-35)

I am sure that Dr. Hahn’s commentary was based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Let us examine the following paragraphs:

[par 900] Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it.

First of all, as paragraph 900 says, we have the right and duty as a group or as an individual. We are all called and duty-bound to share our faith. In doing so, as the following paragraphs show,  witness alone is not enough:

[par 905] Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, “that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.” For lay people, “this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world.”

This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful.

[par 906] Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the communications media

In the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, Lumen Gentium, paragraph 1285 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

…”by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.”

“Strictly obliged” is a very strong statement. It adds more to the reason why we, as Catholics, need to do more to share and defend our faith. More importantly, to do it within us by both witness and dialogue. As Dr. Hahn commented, “To evangelize others is to evangelize ourselves.”

By Victor Feria

St. Michael Apologetics Society