While walking on a road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, two disciples encountered a man whom they later recognized to be the risen Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ then, "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded (διηρμήνευεν) to them the things about himself in all the scriptures."1

Furthermore, the disciples later said that the Lord Jesus Christ "...opened (διήνοιγεν) to us the scriptures."2 In addition, it is written that the Lord Jesus Christ "opened (διήνοιξεν) their understanding, so that they would understand the scriptures."3

According to the doctrine of apostolic succession, the Lord Jesus Christ entrusted and delivered the faith (i.e., the depositum fidei) to his apostles whom later entrusted and delivered it to their successors, and so forth.

Accordingly, if the Lord Jesus Christ opened the understanding of his disciples (students) by thoroughly expouding the scriptures, wouldn't Jesus' disciples have likewise taught their disciples, and so forth? If so, wouldn't the bishops (apostolic successors to the apostles) in the Catholic Church also possess a thorough understanding of the scriptures about the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament? Would that be part of the depositum fidei?


1 Luke 24:27

2 Luke 24:32

3 Luke 24:45

  • Are you familiar with the role of the Magisterium in the Catholic Church? Apr 15, 2016 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


Yes, absolutely.

The depositum fidei is the fullness of God's Word contained in both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Christ has entrusted to the shepherds of God's people the task of interpreting His Word for the Church:

Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort.

But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.

(Dei Verbum, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, article 10; emphasis added)

This teaching office, exercised in the name of Christ, is known as the Magisterium, and is part of the gift of the Word to Christ's Church. It is guided by the Holy Spirit to preserve it from error:

This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.

(Dei Verbum, article 10)

To address your last question more specifically, yes, the Church (through its pastors, that is, the pope, the bishops, and the pastors of parishes) does teach authoritatively about the understanding and foreshadowing of Jesus Christ given us in the Old Testament:

The principal purpose to which the plan of the old covenant was directed was to prepare for the coming of Christ, the redeemer of all and of the messianic kingdom, to announce this coming by prophecy (see Luke 24:44; John 5:39; 1 Peter 1:10), and to indicate its meaning through various types (see 1 Cor. 10:12). Now the books of the Old Testament, in accordance with the state of mankind before the time of salvation established by Christ, reveal to all men the knowledge of God and of man and the ways in which God, just and merciful, deals with men. These books, though they also contain some things which are incomplete and temporary, nevertheless show us true divine pedagogy. These same books, then, give expression to a lively sense of God, contain a store of sublime teachings about God, sound wisdom about human life, and a wonderful treasury of prayers, and in them the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way. Christians should receive them with reverence.

God, the inspirer and author of both Testaments, wisely arranged that the New Testament be hidden in the Old and the Old be made manifest in the New. For, though Christ established the new covenant in His blood (see Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25), still the books of the Old Testament with all their parts, caught up into the proclamation of the Gospel, acquire and show forth their full meaning in the New Testament (see Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:27; Rom. 16:25-26; 2 Cor. 14:16) and in turn shed light on it and explain it.

(Dei Verbum, articles 15–16; emphasis added)

The Church, as the authentic interpreter of all of Sacred Scripture, declares the true meaning of the Old as well the New Testament.

  • Can we see somewhere in the New Testament this understanding of the Scripture by the Apostles, including St. Paul? And in the Church Fathers? Many debates arose later on (e.g. about the nature of Jesus, Trinity), so I think we cannot really understand the text in the Emmaus as a complete understanding of the depositum fidei. This only might refer to what in the NT is referred to the Scriptures, which is the OT and not the NT (which has not been written at the time of the event!). There is another passage of the NT (can't find it) where it says that the fullness of understanding will come.
    – luchonacho
    Oct 19, 2018 at 9:32

You must log in to answer this question.