Catholic Christians believe the revealed Word of God is handed on as Paul noted "by word of mouth" in the constant faith of the community of believers, the Church.
The Bible repeatedly affirms the process of handing on the revelation--paradosis, or tradition.
The Bible, the written Word of God, does not claim that it is the only source of revelation. It does name those faithful people who are chosen to hand on the Word of God by word of mouth: episcopoi, presbyteroi, diaconoi.
The Bible offers a decision-making model for determining and handling truth and refuting error--the Conciliar Model of Acts 15: "It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and ours too."
The Catholic Church has faithfully followed that model from Nicaea to Vatican II.
The faithful people entrusted to hand on the Word of God are found among the Apostolic Fathers (1st and 2nd centuries), the Post-Apostolic Fathers (2nd to 8th centuries), and the Doctors of the Church.
The latest expression of the constant faith of the Church, handed on by faithful people in direct succession from the Apostolic Church is found in the documents of Second Vatican Council.
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Last Updated: July 22, 2000