Many years ago, I had mistakenly referred to Scripture as the Word of God. However, as I get to know more about my faith, I learned that the Word of God is Jesus himself. This is seen in John 1:14 as we quoted above.
Catholics believe the Word is revealed in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. What God wanted to reveal to humanity, he did so in Jesus. This is Divine Revelation. However, when Jesus ascended to heaven, he wanted to continue his revelation of the Father. The things Jesus taught and did, was handed by Jesus to the Apostles and the Apostles pass what they know through their successors, the Bishops. This handing down of divine revelation is Sacred Tradition. This is different from human traditions which originate from men. Sacred Tradition is the basis of Sacred Scripture, because Scripture, specifically, the books of the New Testament can be traced to the Apostles. This shows that the Church has always, since the beginning, given emphasis to Apostolic Tradition.
Scripture then must be defined within the context of Sacred Tradition. We cannot interpret Scripture just the way we want, because that will be chaotic, as everyone can have their own interpretation of it. This is how the errors throughout history happened, because people interpreted Scripture based on their own understanding. We are not talking of the “recent” errors started by Martin Luther, but this goes back to the time of the Apostles with the issue of circumcision for the Gentiles through to the belief that one needs to know the secret knowledge to be saved (gnosticism), to the error with regards to the divinity and humanity of Jesus (Arianism).
This is why insisting that ONLY the Bible is the source of truth, is shortsighted and deficient. If the interpretation of Scripture is not founded on Sacred Tradition, then one can ask: how do you know your interpretation of the Bible is correct? What is your basis?
We need to remember, the Catholic Church is NOT a Bible believing Church. We are a Church that believes in Jesus Christ who reveals his Father through Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.
May we remain steadfast in our faith as we hold on to God’s revelation of himself in his Word: Jesus Christ.