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Appreciate the Privilege of Knowing Bible Truth
4. What caused Jesus to become “overjoyed in the holy spirit”?
4 Gaining insight into God’s Word does not depend on intellect or worldly education, which tend to foster pride. Instead, it depends on Jehovah’s undeserved kindness, which he extends toward humble, honesthearted people who are conscious of their spiritual need. (Matthew 5:3; 1 John 5:20) When Jesus reflected on the fact that some imperfect humans were having their names inscribed in heaven, “he became overjoyed in the holy spirit and said: ‘I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have carefully hidden these things from wise and intellectual ones, and have revealed them to babes.’”—Luke 10:17-21.
5. Why were Jesus’ disciples not to take for granted the Kingdom truths revealed to them?
5 After uttering that heartfelt prayer, Jesus turned to his disciples and said: “Happy are the eyes that behold the things you are beholding. For I say to you, Many prophets and kings desired to see the things you are beholding but did not see them, and to hear the things you are hearing but did not hear them.” Yes, Jesus encouraged his faithful followers not to take for granted the precious Kingdom truths being revealed to them. These truths had not been revealed to earlier generations of God’s servants, and they were certainly not disclosed to the “wise and intellectual ones” of Jesus’ day!—Luke 10:23, 24.
Allowed But Not Essential
The book A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture asks the question: “Is Bible Reading Necessary for Salvation?” In answer it states: “There is no universal precept, either divine or apostolic, that all the faithful—every man, woman and child—should personally read the Bible.”
Thus, while the Catholic Church now permits its members to read the Holy Scriptures, even granting a plenary indulgence “if the reading continues for at least one half hour,” it does not consider such Bible reading to be indispensable.* Explaining why, the French Catholic Dictionnaire de la Bible states: “Tradition is the most normal channel by which all teaching of the faith reaches mankind. Use of the New Testament Scriptures came later. They do not contain the entire deposit of faith, and their use is not essential.”
Tradition Put Above the Bible
The Bible is not, therefore, required reading for Catholics. And even if they do read it, it must take second place, behind tradition. The Catholic Church claims that the early Christians depended on oral tradition before receiving the written Word and that, accordingly, Scripture must be understood in the light of tradition as preserved by the church.
Confirming this viewpoint, a book designed to help French-speaking Catholics to read the Bible states: “The divine revelation, even that expressed predominantly in the Scriptures, has been committed to a faithful community, the living Church; this raises the vital question of the relationship between the Bible, Tradition and the Church. . . . This added light [in the Scriptures], once given, joins and completes the treasure of Tradition. . . . The Scriptures are, therefore, entirely dependent upon Tradition.”—Initiation Biblique, pages 963, 971. Author’s italics.
How much confidence will a sincere Catholic have in the Bible when he reads in a book written by a Catholic professor of Sacred Scripture: “Tradition precedes, envelops, accompanies and goes beyond the Scriptures”?* Or what will he think if he picks up A Catholic Dictionary and reads: “The Church . . . affirms that all Scripture is the word of God, but at the same time it maintains that there is an unwritten word of God over and above Scripture”?