This is a very important question. The answer will reveal to what religion you belong. Before we can start looking for that answer, we should examine a few things about God Himself and how it was that God gave us the Bible.
The Bible is the Word of God. Another question which could be asked is did God finish talking once He gave us His word which is contained in the Bible? Another question might be – what is the Bible all about? Who put the Bible together? Who said that, of all the books which are in the Bible, the ones that are in it today belong there?
Let’s start with the last questions. In the early church there were many letters and documents which were, and those which claimed to be, authentic letters from apostles, evangelists and disciples. It was the Catholic Church which determined which books are part of the Bible and which are not. Even today, Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox do not all totally agree which books should be in the Bible. That is why there are Catholic and Protestant Bibles. The Catholic Church has determined which books are authentic and we accept that.
The Bible is the recorded Word of God. God has spoken to us in history. Jesus Christ lived on earth and He spoke to us. His disciples heard His message and they recorded what they heard and saw. St Paulwrote many epistles and they are also considered as the official Word of God which was inspired by the Holy Spirit. God speaks to us so that we might hear and be saved.
There is another very important question. Has God finished speaking to us? Does He continue to speak even today? Some Christians might say that only what is in the Bible is what God said. Catholics and Orthodox say no; God continues to speak to us through the Church Fathers, the Bishops, the Church Councils, the Popes and the official teaching authority of the Church. In other words the Holy Spirit continues to communicate with us today. We ourselves say that our church synods are holy because God speaks to theUkrainianChurchthrough them. If we look into Christian history we will notice that the early Church Fathers made comments and otherwise interpreted what God had said in scripture. Therefore, we may have God’s word, for example, on abortion while little is said about it in the Bible itself. We know that it is wrong because we know God says it is.
It makes all the difference in the world to believe that God continues to speak to us today through the official teaching authority of the church and, saying that, each individual can interpret what God is saying or has said in the Bible. We reject Bible fundamentalism. As a matter of fact all religious fundamentalism is unacceptable. The Catholic Church does not disallow people interpreting Scripture, but asks for the sake of clarity and truth that established biblical principles be followed. God speaks through His Church and His word is unchanging.