17 May 2017
The Bible is really indispensable for Christians. It’s one of the primary ways God makes himself known to us. But the Bible isn’t the only way God reveals himself. For instance, when those early Christians debated about ritual circumcision, they had the Law of Moses as a reference. So, they did consult Scripture. But we know they also consulted “the Apostles and the presbyters” in Jerusalem. They consulted “the Church.”
The Holy Spirit working through the living, breathing Church is another prime way God reveals himself and his will. And turning to the Church with questions is not only good, sometimes it’s necessary. And that’s simply because Scripture doesn’t have—explicitly—all the answers we’re looking for.
For instance, the Bible says, “Thou shall not kill.” But we ask, “What about in self-defense? What if the country is being attacked?” Or there are a lot of social and moral questions that Scripture doesn’t really get specific on; things like: contraception, the use of social media, taxes, the sciences, the best use of money, and so on. Instead, Scripture gives us a lot of general principles. And from those principles, and with help from the Holy Spirit, the Church is able to discern what a good answer is to those more specific questions.
The Bible is indispensable to us. It’s inspiring to listen to the Word of God being spoken. It’s also inspiring when the Church speaks because there, too, God is at work. And so, the Church, too, is indispensable for us. When we face the questions of life, it’s always a good move to consult the Church; to see what the Saints have said throughout the centuries, to benefit from their inspired wisdom; to read what various Councils have declared; to consider what the popes have reiterated time and time again.
It’s always a good move to consult the Church. As indispensable as the written Word of God is in Scripture, so too is the living, breathing Word of God present in the Church.