Inspiration of the Gospel…
St. Paul definitively tells us that these are not teachings of his own; they came from Christ:
Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin. For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. -Galatians, 1:11-12, NAB
Believing that the Bible is the inspired Word of God is a core tenet of our Catholic faith. Our interpretations of the Scripture may differ; however, that is not because of the Bible’s errors – but ours. One of those differences is related to the Inspiration of the Gospel itself, and it can be found in 2 Timothy:
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3:16-17, NAB
This verse was made famous by Protestants defending sola scriptura – the belief that the Bible is the only source of the Gospel. But nowhere in either of these two verses do we see that St. Paul said the Gospel was limited to his writing alone. In fact, his letter to the Galatians was not considered Scripture yet, but we now recognize it as inspired anyway.
We Catholics believe that the Gospel message can be found both in Sacred Scripture (the written Gospels and Word of God) and Sacred Tradition (the Gospel message passed down orally).
The inspiration of the Gospel, whether in Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition, flows directly from God – primarily the Holy Spirit. We believe that God inspired and worked through the writers to create the wonderful text of the Bible. Researching this idea, NewAdvent.org, the Catholic Encyclopedia, describes it beautifully:
Inspiration can be considered in God, who produces it; in man, who is its object; and in the text, which is its term. -New Advent (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08045a.htm)
The inspiration of the Gospel, then, is produced by God, flows through man, and becomes the written words of the Bible itself. Beautiful. We believe that this same idea holds true for the inspiration of our oral tradition, the Sacred Tradition, as well.
Before we can believe anything else taught in Christianity, we need to accept the authority and inspiration of the Gospel message, the source of all of our other teachings. May the inspired Word of God touch your heart, drive your decisions, and bring you ever closer to our God.