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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
23- The Holy Bible does not mention everything
11) Here I shall state an important fact. The Holy Bible does not mention everything:
(a) It does not mention all that the Lord Jesus Christ did or all that He said. What happened was that the Evangelists chose parts of the Lord Jesus Christ's sayings and parts of His works, recorded them at a certain time for the people and left out the rest. This is obvious from the last written Gospel. St. John the Apostle says: "And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John.21: 25) and also "...truly Jesus did many other sign sin the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John.20: 30,31).
Do not think that the miraculous signs which the Lord Jesus Christ did are only those mentioned in the Bible; thousands of miracles were not recorded. To prove this, it is sufficient to mention the words of St. Luke the Evangelist: "Now when the sun was setting, all those who had anyone sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them" (Lk.4: 40).
How many were those sick? They were too many. Not all the healing miracles are recorded, and we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other pages. Our teacher St. Matthew the Evangelist says: "Now Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people" (Matt.4: 23).
What are the details of the incidents of healing every disease? They are not recorded. What about the Lord's teachings in the synagogues and His preaching? They are not recorded either. Our teacher St. Mark the Evangelist says that when the Lord Jesus went to Capernaum, He went into the synagogue and "taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mark.1: 21,22). What was that teaching which astonished them? It was not recorded.
In the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes, the Lord Jesus was teaching the people from morning until late in the afternoon. What did He teach them? Nothing was recorded in the Gospels. What were the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ on the shore of the lake, on the seashore, in the boat and on the roads? We do not know; as nothing was detailed about it in the Gospels.
(b) After the Lord's resurrection, we find the same situation. The Lord met the two disciples of Emmaus, and "beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Lk. 24: 27). All these teachings, and others, were not recorded in the Gospels. But undoubtedly they, or some thereof, have reached us through Tradition.
(c) What about the forty days which the Lord spent with His disciples after His resurrection, speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1: 3)?
What were the Lord's words about the things pertaining to the kingdom of God?
Undoubtedly His words were of such great importance that they were worth Him having many meetings with His Apostles after His resurrection. Yet despite their great importance, His words were not recorded in the Holy Bible. Most probably they were matters that concerned the leaders of the Church, for them to understand and teach, following the Lord's saying: "... teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Matt.28: 20), without mentioning what His commandments to them were.
Have the teachings and commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ been lost or have they reached us? It is far fetched to believe that they have been lost since they are so important. How did they reach us then? With the exception of the Apostle Paul who was not one of the eleven Apostles and did not attend the meetings of the Lord with His Apostles after His resurrection, the eleven Apostles with whom the Lord spent forty days after His resurrection, wrote too little and what they wrote does not comprise all the Christian teachings. There is one explanation and it is that the Lord Jesus Christ's teachings to His Apostles have reached us through Tradition, that is, through the Apostolic Entrustment.
The Church has been living these teachings according to the Lord's saying: "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John.6: 63). The Apostles understood the spirit of the words and transcribed them into life, and these words have reached us in the life of the Church.
Therefore, we can say that Tradition is the life of the Church or it is the living Church. The Apostles entrusted this life together with all that they had learnt and received from the Lord, to the saints in the Church. However, they did not write them in the Gospels or in the Epistles, but they left them as living practices and teachings in the life of the Church. Among those teachings are the Church discipline, rituals and Sacraments.
Do you think that the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.5-7) is the only sermon of the Lord during over three years? This is unbelievable. The Lord's words have not gone astray; the disciples kept them in their hearts, ears and minds. From the treasure of their good hearts, from their sacred memories, they brought out the Lord's sayings and entrusted them to the Church under the heading of 'Tradition’ or 'The Apostolic Entrustment. The Holy Spirit taught them everything and reminded them of everything the Lord had said, according to His true promise (John.14: 26).
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