May 1, 2012

The Word of God (Book of James)

This blog post is based on the Bible Study James: Pearls for Wise Living by Jeff Cavins. Here are my previous posts based on this study:

"Indeed, for the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart." 
- Hebrews 4:12

I'll keep this fairly short because I'm in the midst of exams! At our Bible study this week we talked about God's word and why we must be doers of the word.  I'll discuss a little bit about the word of God tonight, and on Thursday when I'm done with exams I'll continue with why we must be doers of the word.

When many people think of the word of God they think of Scripture.  However, Catholics believe the word of God encompasses both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition through which he has revealed himself to us.

Sacred Scripture is able to show us part of God's will for us.  Throughout the Old Testament God showed who he was through both words and deeds (more on that later!), and he revealed his plan of goodness for our lives.  Later on in the New Testament, Jesus also shows us through both his words and deeds who God is and what his will is for our lives. 

Sometimes people wonder why Catholics do not practice "sola scripture," or only scripture.  To keep it short and sweet, it's because Catholics embrace everything that Jesus passed down to us through his teachings, not just the Bible.  He taught the apostles through his words and actions so that it would be passed on throughout the years.  Some of the apostles (such as Peter, John, and Matthew) chose to write to pass down the word.  However, others chose to preach instead of write, and their word was passed down orally through the apostolic succession (the line of Bishops who followed the apostles).  There are plenty of events that occurred in the span of Jesus' life that are not recorded in the Bible, as seen in John 20:30 - "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of [his] disciples that are not written in this book."

Also, there is not even one quote in the Bible that says that the Bible is the only authority for God's word. We are in fact encouraged in many places to hold on to the Sacred tradition, whether it came from the Bible or from Jesus's teachings that were passed down to us in other ways.  

"Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours." 
- 2 Thessalonians 2:15

I know there weren't any actual quotes from James in this post, but it's kind of an intro to what's coming Thursday:

"Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves
- James 2:22


  1. Yay! Loving the series. Nice explanation of why we believe in Tradition and Scripture. Good luck with exams!

    1. Thanks! It feel so good to be done with them now! :)

  2. Love this series and totally agree with Megan. You give a beautifully succinct explanation of why we believe in Apostolic Tradition. Thanks! :)

    1. I am so glad you are enjoying the series! :) We have been getting so much out of this Bible study.