The Word of God: Interpreting Scripture and Tradition

Report
© 1/3/2013, Jeffrey Bame – Content of this presentation may not be used without explicit permission.
“The Word of God: Interpreting Scripture and
Tradition”
 Cornerstone document: Dogmatic Constitution on
Divine Revelation: Dei Verbum
 Date: November 18, 1965
 English Copy:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vati
can_council/documents/vatii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_en.html
 Spanish Copy:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vati
can_council/documents/vatii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_sp.html
Tonight’s Outline
A. Prologue of the Gospel of John
B. Dei Verbum
1. What is Divine Revelation?
2. What Constitutes Divine Revelation?
3. Development of Canon of Sacred Scripture
4. Inspiration of Scripture
5. Interpretation of Scripture
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
C. Prayer: Lectio Divina
Tonight’s Outline
A. Prologue of the Gospel of John
B. Dei Verbum
1. What is Divine Revelation?
2. What Constitutes Divine Revelation?
3. Development of Canon of Sacred Scripture
4. Inspiration of Scripture
5. Interpretation of Scripture
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
C. Prayer: Lectio Divina
The Prologue of the Gospel according to John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning
with God. All things came to be through him, and
without him nothing came to be. What came to be
through him was life, and this life was the light of the
human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the
darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God. He came for
testimony to testify to the light, so that all might believe
through him. He was not the light, but came to testify
to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone,
was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came to be through
him, but the world did not know him. He came to what
was his own, but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him he gave power to
become children of God, to those who believe in his
name, who were born not by natural generation nor by
human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling
among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the
Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he
of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks
ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his
fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses, grace
and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever
seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s
side, has revealed him.
- John 1: 1-18
Bible Quiz
Question 1:
What is the origin of the word
“Bible”? What does it mean?
Bible Quiz
Answer:
The word “Bible” comes from
“τὰ βιβλία” in Greek. In Greek,
this is a plural noun literally
meaning “the books”.
Bible Quiz
Question 2:
How many books are there in the
Bible?
Bible Quiz
Answer:
The Catholic Bible has 73 books,
46 from the Old Testament and
27 from the New Testament.
(The Protestant Old Testament
contains seven fewer books.)
Bible Quiz
Question 3:
What are the “extra” books of the
Catholic Bible called?
Bible Quiz
Answer:
The “extra” books are called the
deuterocanonical books (meaning
“second canon”). The Protestants
often call these books
“apocyrphal” (hidden).
Bible Quiz
Question 4:
In what language was the Bible
written?
Bible Quiz
Answer:
Most of the Old Testament was
written in Hebrew, while the
deuterocanonical books and the
New Testament were written in
Greek. The official translation
used by the Church is in Latin.
Tonight’s Outline
A. Prologue of the Gospel of John
B. Dei Verbum
1. What is Divine Revelation?
2. What Constitutes Divine Revelation?
3. Development of Canon of Sacred Scripture
4. Inspiration of Scripture
5. Interpretation of Scripture
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
C. Prayer: Lectio Divina
1. What is Divine Revelation?
 “God has revealed himself to man by gradually
communicating his own mystery in deeds and in
words.” (CCC 69)
 God revealed himself:
 in the order imposed during creation
 in the Law given through Moses
 through the prophets
 through his promises and covenant
 in the Incarnation (the fullness of revelation)
 in the tradition passed down through the apostles
1. What is Divine Revelation?
“In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal
Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose
of His will (see Eph. 1:9) by which through Christ, the
Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have
access to the Father and come to share in the divine
nature (see Eph. 2:18; 2 Peter 1:4). Through this
revelation, therefore, the invisible God (see Col. 1;15, 1
Tim. 1:17) out of the abundance of His love speaks to
men as friends (see Ex. 33:11; John 15:14-15) and lives
among them (see Bar. 3:38), so that He may invite and
take them into fellowship with Himself.” (DV 2)
Tonight’s Outline
A. Prologue of the Gospel of John
B. Dei Verbum
1. What is Divine Revelation?
2. What Constitutes Divine Revelation?
3. Development of Canon of Sacred Scripture
4. Inspiration of Scripture
5. Interpretation of Scripture
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
C. Prayer: Lectio Divina
2. What Constitutes Divine Revelation?
 Revelation is constituted by two elements:
 Holy Scripture – the set of holy writings inspired by
the Holy Spirit
 Sacred Tradition – “the living transmission of the
message of the Gospel in the Church” (CCC
Glossary)
 However, these are not separate or distinct elements
but “one sacred deposit” that along with the
Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church)
“are so linked and joined together that one cannot
stand without the others.” (DV 10)
2. What Constitutes Divine Revelation?
“While in the Church we greatly venerate the sacred
Scriptures, the Christian faith is not a “religion of
the book”: Christianity is the “religion of the word of
God”, not of “a written and mute word, but of the
incarnate and living Word”. Consequently the
Scripture is to be proclaimed, heard, read, received
and experienced as the word of God, in the stream
of the apostolic Tradition from which it is
inseparable.”
- John Paul II, Verbum Domini, 7 (2010)
Tonight’s Outline
A. Prologue of the Gospel of John
B. Dei Verbum
1. What is Divine Revelation?
2. What Constitutes Divine Revelation?
3. Development of Canon of Sacred Scripture
4. Inspiration of Scripture
5. Interpretation of Scripture
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
C. Prayer: Lectio Divina
3. Development of Canon of Sacred Scripture
 Old Testament comes together over the millennium
before the birth of Christ
 Apostles witness the words, deeds, and life of Christ
 Apostles and followers commit oral tradition to writing
 During the first six centuries of the Church, individual
Church Fathers and then councils determine by
tradition the canon of Scripture.
 During the Reformation (16th century), Martin Luther
rejects some books traditionally held as canonical
 The canon is dogmatically defined by the Council of
Trent in 1546
3. Development of Canon of Sacred Scripture
 The Canon of Scripture, that is, the understanding of
what is divinely inspired, comes from Tradition (DV 8)
 Public revelation is closed – no new Scriptures are
forthcoming (DV 4)
 “Saint John of the Cross expresses this truth
magnificently: ‘Since he has given us his Son, his only
word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything
at once in this sole word – and he has no more to
say… because what he spoke before to the prophets
in parts, he has spoken all at once by giving us this All
who is his Son.’” (Verbum Domini 14)
Tonight’s Outline
A. Prologue of the Gospel of John
B. Dei Verbum
1. What is Divine Revelation?
2. What Constitutes Divine Revelation?
3. Development of Canon of Sacred Scripture
4. Inspiration of Scripture
5. Interpretation of Scripture
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
C. Prayer: Lectio Divina
4. Inspiration of Scripture
 The Holy Spirit inspired imperfect men to write, edit,
and compile the Scriptures – God did not dictate
 God is free from error, but human writers are not
 Words, details, facts, etc. may be wrong, but the true
message of God is not (DV 11)
 “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.” (DV 11)
4. Inspiration of Scripture
Warning Against Rationalism
 Tendency of modern biblical science to examine
Scripture with a presupposition of its mythical nature
 Rationalistic scholars deny the possibility of God’s
self-disclosure (or flat out deny God’s existence)
 Tendency to study Scripture out of context and use
“errors” as a means of disproving divine inspiration
 “The unity of the two levels at work in the
interpretation of sacred Scripture presupposes, in a
word, the harmony of faith and reason.” (Verbum
Domini 36)
4. Inspiration of Scripture
Warning Against Fundamentalism
 Approach championed by many Protestant groups
 Takes each word of Scripture at face value, literally,
without consideration of genre, message, or context in
the rest of Scripture - incorrectly treating Scripture as
if it was dictated by God
 “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6)
 “Christianity, on the other hand, perceives in the
words the Word himself, the Logos who displays his
mystery through this complexity and the reality of
human history.” (Verbum Domini 44)
Tonight’s Outline
A. Prologue of the Gospel of John
B. Dei Verbum
1. What is Divine Revelation?
2. What Constitutes Divine Revelation?
3. Development of Canon of Sacred Scripture
4. Inspiration of Scripture
5. Interpretation of Scripture
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
C. Prayer: Lectio Divina
5. Interpretation of Scripture
(see “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church” by the
Pontifical Biblical Commission for more information)
 Historical-Critical Method
 Scientific study of the ancient texts of Scripture
 Study of the patterns, genres, forms, sources,
redaction, archaeology, anthropology, history, etc.
 Canonical Exegesis
 Not opposed to the Historical-Critical Method, but
offers balance
 Reading each passage of Scripture in context of
the entire body of Scripture (DV 12)
5. Interpretation of Scripture
 Literal Sense vs. Spiritual Sense
 Literal sense is the direct meaning conveyed by
the words of the human author (not necessarily
literalism that ignores metaphor or context)
 Spiritual sense is the meaning of a text when read
under the influence of the Holy Spirit in the context
of the paschal mystery of Christ
 Typology: “discerns in God’s works of the Old Covenant
prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness
of time in the person of his incarnate Son”. (Verbum
Domini 41)
5. Interpretation of Scripture
 Genres
 Historical
 Psalm/Song
 Legal
 Apocalyptic
 Liturgical
 Epistle
 Wisdom
 Parable/Allegory
 Prophetic
 Etc.
 Old Testament vs. New Testament - “The New
Testament is hidden in the Old and the Old is made
manifest in the New” – St. Augustine (Verbum Domini
41)
5. Interpretation of Scripture
 Difficult Passages
 Some passages seem difficult or problematic,
especially in the light of the Gospel message
(passages of revenge, permitted murder or
violence, or promiscuity, etc.)
 “Here it must be remembered first and foremost
that biblical revelation is deeply rooted in history.
God’s plan is manifested progressively and it is
accomplished slowly, in successive stages and
despite human resistance.” (Verbum Domini 42)
5. Interpretation of Scripture
 Caution for Interpretation
“In this regard, however, one must avoid the risk of
an individualistic approach, and remember that
God’s word is given to us precisely to build
communion, to unite us in the Truth along our path to
God. While it is a word addressed to each of us
personally, it is also a word which builds community,
which builds the Church. Consequently, the sacred
text must always be approached in the communion
of the Church.” (Verbum Domini 86)
Tonight’s Outline
A. Prologue of the Gospel of John
B. Dei Verbum
1. What is Divine Revelation?
2. What Constitutes Divine Revelation?
3. Development of Canon of Sacred Scripture
4. Inspiration of Scripture
5. Interpretation of Scripture
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
C. Prayer: Lectio Divina
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
 Proper response to Divine Revelation
 Our proper response to God is “the obedience of
faith”, “offering the full submission of intellect and
will to God”. (DV 5)
 Respond in prayer: “The word of God draws each
of us into a conversation with the Lord: the God
who speaks teaches us how to speak to him. Here
we naturally think of the Book of Psalms, where
God gives us words to speak to him, to place our
lives before him, and thus to make life itself a path
to God.” (Verbum Domini 24)
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
 Private Revelation
 Not on the same level as public revelation (i.e.
Scripture and Tradition)
 Ex.: Rosary, Divine Mercy, apparitions
 “Distinguish the word of God from private
revelations” whose role “is not to ‘complete’
Christ’s definitive revelation, but to help live more
fully by it in a certain period of history”. (Verbum
Domini 14)
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
 Liturgy
 “the double table of the word and of the Eucharist”
(Verbum Domini 68)
 “’Christ’s body and blood are really the word of
Scripture, God’s teaching. When we approach the
[Eucharistic] Mystery, if a crumb falls to the ground
we are troubled. Yet when we are listening to the
word of God, and God’s Word and Christ’s flesh
and blood are being poured into our ears yet we
pay no heed, what great peril should we not feel?’.
Christ, truly present under the species of bread
and wine, is analogously present in the word
proclaimed in the liturgy.” (Verbum Domini 56)
Other Papal Documents Referenced:
 Benedict XVI – Verbum Domini:
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_
exhortations/documents/hf_benxvi_exh_20100930_verbum-domini_en.html
 The Pontifical Biblical Commission – The Interpretation
of the Bible in the Church (1993)
 Catechism of the Catholic Church
© 1/3/2013, Jeffrey Bame – Content of this presentation may not be used without explicit permission.
Tonight’s Outline
A. Prologue of the Gospel of John
B. Dei Verbum
1. What is Divine Revelation?
2. What Constitutes Divine Revelation?
3. Development of Canon of Sacred Scripture
4. Inspiration of Scripture
5. Interpretation of Scripture
6. The Word of God in Liturgy and Christian Life
C. Prayer: Lectio Divina
C. Prayer: Lectio Divina
 Lectio divina is an ancient prayer practice that
involves praying and meditating upon a Scripture
passage. In the Word of God, we hear God speak to
us and then respond in prayer.
 Practice established by St. Benedict in the 6th century
 In Dei Verbum, Paul VI recommends this practice for
all Christians
 Importance of Silence
C. Prayer: Lectio Divina
 Traditional Structure: Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio,
Contemplatio (Verbum Domini 87)
 Alternative Approach
 Read and LISTEN
 Read and THINK
 Read and FEEL & RESPOND
 Read and ACTION
 Another alternative approach is to read a passage
several times, while assuming the point of view of a
different character in the passage each time.
© 1/3/2013, Jeffrey Bame – Content of this presentation may not be used without explicit permission.

similar documents