Wow! My last little Ti Morceau stirred things up a little! I’ve been going through our Liturgy of the Word, the first part of Mass. No problem there. But as I was describing the first reading, which is usually from the Old Testament, I mentioned that this part of the Bible “is not complete” in and of itself, and that parts of it “don’t apply any more.”
A couple of people came up to me and objected this past week: this would make part of the Bible untrue, they said. Well, my answer is the answer of the Catholic Church: that’s right! The books of the Old Testament “contain matters imperfect and provisional,” that is, applicable only to the Jewish people of that day and age (no. 15 of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation).
Remember, Catholic and Orthodox Christians (like us!) understand the Bible to “teach faithfully and without error that truth which is for the sake of our salvation” (no. 12 of the Constitution). The teaching authority of the Church itself assists us in understanding that truth. (Many Protestants typically make the mistake of thinking that the Bible is completely literally true, or without any kind of error at all. At least they say that; I’ve never really met someone who actually believed it one hundred percent!) The eternal truth of the Bible lies in that it helps reveal to us God’s will. Bluntly speaking, there’s more to God’s revelation than the Bible, and we need to understand that.