The 66 books of the Bible mutually agreed upon by all Christians are the only authorities considered as God’s own words, both sufficient and infallible. Although this is the only consensus among all Christians, many Christians have additional sources of authority. Orthodox have many more books. Catholics have more books, and also believe in papal infallibility, that the pope at certain times speaks perfectly. The following shows why Jesus intended only for the 66 books to be authoritative.
All Christians agree that the 66 books of the Bible are authoritative. Although Christians disagree on which books belong in the Old Testament, all Christians, Protestant, Pentecostal, Catholic, Orthodox, etc. agree in the 27 books of the New Testament.
God’s Word includes the Old Testament: books Jesus approved of.
Jesus said that “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44). Almost all biblical scholars agree this refers to what the Hebrew Jews called the Thorah, Nabiaim, and Kethuvim, which are the 39 books of the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi.
God’s Word includes the New Testament: works of the original disciples and Paul.
The majority of Christians already agree that the 27 books of the New Testament are truly God’s Words, mainly because all of those books are written by people who knew Jesus. The one exception is Paul, but Jesus appointed Peter to lead His church (Matthew 16:18), and Peter said Paul’s written letters are Scripture (II Peter 3:15,16).
God’s Word cannot be confusing.
Because God never confuses us (I Corinthians 14:33) and because the Holy Spirit has already succeeded in leading many toward the truth (John 16:13), the logical outcome of this is to find what most of Jesus’ followers believe is the Word of God. As of now, there is a worldwide consensus that the 66 books of the Bible are God’s Word.
God’s Word is written.
God’s Word must be written and not spoken. Every time God wanted a doctrine writer to record His Words, He never told them to pass it down verbally, but to always pass it down in writing (Jeremiah 30:2; Habakkuk 2:2; Revelation 1:19). This is most likely because God never changes (Hebrews 13:8), and humans have a tendency to accidentally add or remove words verbally due to speech errors or false memory.
God’s Word never contradicts itself.
Scripture always is coherent in its explanation of righteousness and sin (II Timothy 3:16). If a book had a logical contradiction, then one or both of them must be removed. A great example of why the Christian Bible is authoritative but other Scripture books aren’t is the contradictions in the Mormon’s Pearl of Great Price book. Abraham 2:22-25 contradicts Genesis 20:2-3,11,13. There is a historical error in that although it’s the same story, God says something different. It’s also a moral error because in the Pearl God tells someone to lie, even though they also believe in the Bible where it says it’s impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18).
God’s Word is not tradition.
The Pharisees created additional rules that were supposed to be derived from the given Law of Moses (Mark 7:3). Jesus said we must only “teach as doctrine” the “Word of God,” not the interpretations of these commands, written by men (Mark 7:7-8,13). Paul did say to “hold to the traditions” he taught (II Thessalonians 2:15; I Corinthians 11:2), but Paul, similar to Jesus, differentiated between the “traditions of man” and the doctrine of the Christ: man’s judgment vs God’s commands (I Corinthians 7:25; Colossians 2:8).
God’s Word is not from the Pope speaking “ex cathedra.”
Catholics believe in papal infallibility, that at certain times when the pope speaks, known as “ex cathedra”, it is impossible for him to say something wrong. This belief is built on the belief of apostolic succession. We have proved in the following linked article that apostolic succession was not a teaching of Jesus.
Why should we read the New Testament before the Old Testament?
While Christians are commanded to read and obey both (Matthew 5:17), the New Covenant is judged as wholly better due to the fault of the Old (Hebrews 8:6-7). The Old Covenant was a “ministry of condemnation” while the New Covenant is a “ministry of righteousness” (II Corinthians 3:9). There was glory in giving justice to sinners, but this glory is fading away (II Corinthians 3:10; Hebrews 8:13) because the law is a necessary evil that kills the soul (II Corinthians 3:6), as shown by the extreme legalism of the Pharisees (Matthew 15:2-3,8-9). “Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13) because understanding that our salvation is by grace (Ephesians 2:8) allows us to rest from earning salvation (Matthew 11:29). Only by reading the New Covenant will the veil of condemnation be lifted (II Corinthians 3:14-15) to see the freedom found only in Jesus (II Corinthians 3:16-18).
The Catechism is similar to the Pharisaical laws: additional rules created to explain Scripture. Jesus said we must only “teach as doctrine” the “Word of God,” not the interpretations of these commands, written by men (Mark 7:7-8,13). Paul did say to “hold to the traditions” he taught (II Thessalonians 2:15; I Corinthians 11:2), but Paul, similar to Jesus, differentiated between the “traditions of man” and the doctrine of the Christ (Colossians 2:8). Therefore, the Catechism is similar in nature to this website Answering Problems: good material but not perfect.