Does sacred scripture mean whatever we personally think
and/or feel it should mean?
Do we take everything in scripture as being an absolute, total,
historical and literal truth?
And ho w do es that who le " inspiratio n" thing fit in, anyway?
Keep in mind ... while God is the "author" of
scriptures (via the Holy Spirit), it was written by
humans -- using human emotions, language,
It's like God
gave them the
... and they wrote it
in their own words.
And, last timeI checked (with the exceptio n o f Jesus, o f co urse!)
humansarenot God and therefore… humansaren't perfect!
SACRED SCRIPTURE, ITS INSPIRATION AND DIVINE INTERPRETATION
11. Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been
committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the
belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both
the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because
written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on
as such to the Church herself. In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by
Him they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them,
they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted.
Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by
the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully
and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings for the sake of salvation.
Therefore "all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for
reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be
efficient and equipped for good work of every kind" (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).
12. However, since God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in human fashion, the interpreter of
Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully
investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by
means of their words.
To search out the intention of the sacred writers, attention should be given, among other things, to
"literary forms." For truth is set forth and expressed differently in texts which are variously historical,
prophetic, poetic, or of other forms of discourse. The interpreter must investigate what meaning
the sacred writer intended to express and actually expressed in particular circumstances by using
contemporary literary forms in accordance with the situation of his own time and culture. For the
correct understanding of what the sacred author wanted to assert, due attention must be paid to
the customary and characteristic styles of feeling, speaking and narrating which prevailed at the
time of the sacred writer, and to the patterns men normally employed at that period in their
everyday dealings with one another.
But, since Holy Scripture must be read and interpreted in the sacred spirit in which it was written, no
less serious attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture if the
meaning of the sacred texts is to be correctly worked out. The living tradition of the whole Church
must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith. It
is the task of exegetes to work according to these rules toward a better understanding and
explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture, so that through preparatory study the judgment of
the Church may mature. For all of what has been said about the way of interpreting Scripture is
subject finally to the judgment of the Church, which carries out the divine commission and ministry
of guarding and interpreting the word of God.
13. In Sacred Scripture, therefore, while the truth and holiness of God always remains intact, the
marvelous "condescension" of eternal wisdom is clearly shown, "that we may learn the gentle
kindness of God, which words cannot express, and how far He has gone in adapting His
language with thoughtful concern for our weak human nature.“ For the words of God, expressed
in human language, have been made like human discourse, just as the word of the eternal Father,
when He took to Himself the flesh of human weakness, was in every way made like men.
We need to look at both the human author’s intent, audience,
perspective, experience, and purpose …
We need to also look at the divine author’s intent,
audience, perspective, experience, and purpose.
You’re an idiot!
It means we need to look carefully at how we interpret
the Bible, and take several different factors into
This is where the “historical-literary method of Bible
criticism” comes into play … examining both the
historical context and the writings themselves.
It’simportant to realizethat “criticism” often meansmoreof theidea
of abeneficial critique(careful examination) asopposed to an
unkind complaint (badmouthing slam).
Bet yo u tho ught Iwas go nna be sacrilegio us and no n-teacherly here, right?
The Literal Sense:
What the words actually mean
The Spiritual Sense:
Viewing events of the Bible as signs
Allegorical Sense ~ prefigures/foreshadows Christ
Moral Sense ~ tells us how to act
Anagogical Sense ~ Greek for “leading”; points to
Where’d they get their information?
Raises the question of the “Synoptic Problem”
Synoptic is Greek for “seen together”
Mark wrote his gospel first
Matthew and Luke then “borrowed” from Mark
And then …
Perhaps Luke and Matthew shared a source that
Mark didn’t know about
Luke and Matthew each had their own individual
sources as well.
Q ~ Quelle (German for “source”); collection of
Jesus’ sayings used by Matthew and Luke
M ~ sources unique to Matthew
L ~ sources unique to Luke Mark
Temptation in desert
Parable of lost sheep
Coming of wise men
Parable of weeds
Peter walking on water
Parable of ten virgins
Story of the shepherds
Jesus at age twelve
Parable of Good Samaritan
Q M L
Matthew 16:13-16 Mark 8:27-29 Luke 9:18-20
When Jesus went into the
region of Caesarea
Philippi he asked his
disciples, “Who do people
say that the Son of Man
is?” They replied, “Some
say John the Baptist,
others Elijah, still others
Jeremiah or one of the
prophets.” He said to
them, “But who do you
say that I am?” Simon
Peter said in reply, “You
Now Jesus and his
disciples set out for the
villages of Caesarea
Philippi. Along the way he
asked his disciples, “Who
do people say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John
the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the
prophets.” And he asked
them, “But who do you
say that I am?” Peter said
to him in reply, “You are
Once when Jesus was
praying in solitude, and
the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do
the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John
the Baptist; others,
Elijah; still others, ‘One
of the ancient prophets
has arisen.’” Then he said
to them, “But who do you
say that I am?” Peter said
in reply, “The Messiah of
Need to consider not only the different types of
writings (encyclopedia, newspaper, novel,
textbook, etc.), but also the different styles within
PLUS … oral tradition influences writings as well
For example …
Parables are storytime – listen for deeper
Narratives are “historical” – listen for what
Each gospel gives a different picture of Jesus, as
shaped by the theology, audience, purpose, etc.,
of the evangelist
In the days before cut&paste, it was parchment,
Hand-copied texts, though, were not always
perfect. Mistakes were made, people changed
things, writing wasn’t clear, different and
Amazingly enough, however, most differences
Codex Vaticanus (c. 350) ~ oldest NT collection
Vulgate (383-384) ~ Jerome, into Latin (“common”); Church’s official translation from
the original languages
King James (1611)
New Revised Standard Version (1990)
Revised English Bible (1989)
New International Version (1973-1978)
Douay-Rheims (1582-1609; 1749-1763) ~ translation of the Vulgate
1943 ~ Pope Pius XII encourages translation from original languages, not just the Latin Vulgate
New American Bible (1952-1970; 1987) ~ used in the liturgy
New Jerusalem Bible (1985) ~ from French La Sainte Bible
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