The Bible is the Word of God
The Bible is God’s love letter to us Soren Kierkegaard
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ St. Jerome
To read Scripture means to turn to Christ for advice St. Francis of Assisi
-“The Bible-which is also called the Sacred Scriptures-tells the story of the loving relationship between God and humankind” (Catholic Youth Bible, C1)
-The Bible was written by human beings who were inspired by God. This is how we can say that God is the author of the Scriptures.
-There are two different layers of meaning in the Bible:
1. Literal (what actually happened? What was the culture like then? What literary form is the author using? Etc.) Ex. Jesus used imagery of building because he and his father Joseph were carpenters/architects
2. Spiritual (How does this connect to God’s plan for salvation? How does this passage help me to understand Jesus or the Church? What message does this passage have for me today? Ex. We can see later the foreshadowing that Jonah had with Jesus since Jonah was in the belly of a whale for 3 days and Jesus was in the tomb for 3 days.
-The Canon (collection of books) of the Bible was determined by the Pope gathered in community with the Bishops of the world at the Council of Hippo in 393. In the Catholic Tradition the Canon has not changed since 393. After the Reformation Protestant communities chose to use a different Canon of the Old Testament.
-How the Bible came to exist illustrates how we as Catholics believe about the Bible and how it differs from Protestants. We believe that the Bible is one way that God has revealed Himself to us but not the only way.
-The Catholic Church believes that God reveals himself in three ways:
1. Scripture: The inspired written Word of God
2. Tradition: “The living transmission of the message of the Gospel in the Church” (US Catechism for Adults). This includes the oral teachings and living example of the Apostles that inform our current practices even though they might not be written down explicitly in the Bible.
3. The Magisterium: The successors of the Apostles (the Pope and Bishops) make up the Magisterium, or the teaching authority of the Church which is the primary interpreter and protector of the Scriptures and Tradition. Jesus passed on His authority here on earth to his Apostles before He ascended to heaven. The Catholic Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, continues to guide the Church and interpret God’s revelation. Since the Holy Spirit is within each of us, we, as members of the Church, play a role in understanding, interpreting, and articulating God’s revelation when we do so in union with our Apostolic Church.
-Most Catholics have a limited understanding of the Bible because the Catholic Church has not placed a strong emphasis on individual reading and interpretation of the Bible, focusing more on the Scriptures being read and interpreted within the community at Mass. Since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s there has been a refreshing renewed emphasis on individual Catholics reading and praying with the Scriptures both individually and in community.
-As Catholics we are not a ‘people of the book’ but believe that the Word of God is ultimately a Person (John 1), Jesus Christ, who dwells within us and speaks to us today.
Ideas for using the Bible at Home:
-Have a Bible at home for reference
-Read the Sunday Gospel either before Mass or after Mass
-Have a Bible quote of the week on a dry-erase board at home for inspiration
-Use the Bible around the dinner table for mealtime prayer
-Use the Bible for reading bedtime stories
-Read the Bible to learn more about your faith
-Read the Infancy Narratives each Christmas
Recommended Bibles and Resources:
For Elementary School
For Middle School
Catholic Youth Bible—Purchased for each Middle School Youth
Other Bible Resources for Parents