Q — Is it still the teaching of the Catholic Church that all scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, or did Vatican II change that teaching to only those portions of scripture that are necessary for salvation are inspired?

A — For a succinct summary of the church’s teaching on the inspiration of Holy Scripture one could not do better than consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 105-108. Those four brief paragraphs summarize the tradition of the church’s teaching culminating in Vatican II, “The Constitution on Divine Revelation.” Paragraph 105 reiterates the notion that God is the author of Sacred Scripture. Paragraph 106 acknowledges that God inspired the human authors of these sacred books that constitute the Bible. 

Paragraph 107 is centrally important for this question and so I reproduce it here: “The inspired books teach the truth. ‘Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wish to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.’” The quote within the quote is from Constitution on Divine Revelation, paragraph 11. The church therefore teaches clearly that the truths guaranteed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit are the truths that pertain to our salvation. In that very precise sense the Holy Scriptures’ primary witness is to the salvation that God desires for humankind. That affirmation does not mean that historical truths, for example, are not to be found in the Scriptures — clearly the entire salvific event of our Lord Jesus Christ is also historical event — but it does mean that the historical events’ final truthfulness is theological, that is to say, to do with our salvation.