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Question 92: Since Mark and Luke were not Apostles, why are their writings in the New Testament?


Answer: Nearly every Christian writer during the first five centuries after Christ gives testimony the Catholic Church was the only recognized depository and interpreter of the written Scriptures and the unwritten word and deeds of Jesus. This was alluded to by St. John: “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain all the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)

The sacred heart of the Church contains all the truths of the faith revealed by our Blessed Savior. From apostle to apostle, from bishop to bishop, from priest to priest, from disciple to disciple, the words uttered by Christ and the deeds he performed were transmitted within and under the sole direction of the only Church of God then in existence.

A part of these words and deeds were the written Scriptures of the Apostles and their holy predecessors, and a part the recorded Traditions of the successors of the Apostles, the only recognized representatives of Christ on earth. The proper source of Revelation is the word of God, which is both written and unwritten. The written is contained in the Sacred Scriptures, the unwritten in Sacred Tradition. When we speak of the unwritten word of God, we do not mean it has never been written, but that the man to whom God revealed it never wrote it. It was committed to writing afterwards by his disciples or by others who heard it from his lips.

The Gospels of Mark and Luke are a prime example of Sacred Tradition. Mark was the secretary, traveling companion, and interpreter for Peter. Peter, spoke only Aramaic, so whenever he preached in Greek speaking lands, Mark interpreted. Luke traveled with Paul. We have written historical evidence that the Christian community asked Mark and Luke to write down the teachings of Peter and Paul. This is a very good example of what the Catholic Church means when she speaks of Sacred Tradition. When the Catholic Church compiled the New Testament canon of Scripture and the end of the fourth century, the Gospels of Mark and Luke were included because of their direct link to the Apostles. 

The divine legacy bequeathed by Christ to men, the Sacred Scriptures and Traditions of God’s visible Church, were written in the records of the Church by the hands of Catholic priests and were passed down from generation to generation by Catholics. Those same Scriptures and Traditions are still in the same Church, while modern Protestants have appropriated only a part of the legacy — the written Scriptures. Sacred Tradition is the deposit of oral teaching passed on from age to age by faithful followers of Christ.



Copyright © 2004 Victor Claveau. All Rights Reserved