The Transmission of Authoritative Doctrine

The historicity and authenticity of the Bible text is not a problem among Christians today. Roman Catholic Christians affirm that the Bible is an historical document and that the text we possess today is authentic.

It is apparent from the content of the Bible as an historical document that matters of importance were transmitted among the early Christians.

Jude 3
Beloved, although I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel a need to write to encourage you to contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones.
Jude 20
But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the holy Spirit.
2 Tim 1:13
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
2 Tim 4:3
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers
Titus 1:9
...holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents.
1 Tim 6:20
... guard what has been entrusted to you.
2 Tim 1:14
Guard this rich trust with the help of the holy Spirit that dwells within us.
1 Tim 4:6
If you will give these instructions to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching you have followed.
Heb 3:1
Therefore ... reflect on Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,
Heb 4:14
... let us hold fast to our confession.
Heb 10:23
Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.
Phil 2:15-16
...that you may be blameless and innocent ... as you hold on to the word of life
Acts 5:20
Go ... and tell the people everything about this life.
1 Jn 2:24
Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
2 Thess 2:15
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.
Rom 6:17
But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted.
1 Cor 11:23
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you
1 Cor 15:3
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received ...

Paul declares specifically what it is he preaches. It is a "gospel" (the Greek euaggelion, means "good news").

Gal 2:2
I went up in accord with a revelation, and I presented to them the gospel that I preach to the Gentiles ...
Rom 2:16
on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people's hidden works through Christ.
Rom 16:25
Now to him who can strengthen you, according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages
1 Cor 15:1
Now I am reminding you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand.

For Paul, the content of the preaching is Jesus Christ.

Rom 16:25
Now to him who can strengthen you, according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages
1 Cor 1:21
For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.

Paul also writes of the fruit of the tradition which he preaches ... "faith."

Col 2:7
rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught ...
Gal 1:23
They (the people of Syria and Cilicia) only kept hearing that "the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."
Eph 4:5
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

Paul finally writes of the content of the doctrine, the tradition he preaches - the "word of God" or "the word of the Lord."

1 Thess 1:6
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the holy Spirit,
2 Thess 3:1
Finally, brothers, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you,
1 Cor 14:36
Did the word of God go forth from you? Or has it come to you alone?
Gal 6:6
One who is being instructed in the word should share all good things with his instructor.
Phil 1:14
... the majority of the brothers, having taken encouragement in the Lord from my imprisonment, dare more than ever to proclaim the word fearlessly.

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By Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics, © Copyright 1985-1997, Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Last Updated: January 3, 1997