Thursday, April 23, 2009

Holy Father on the Pricinples of Scripture Study

.- On Thursday morning, Pope Benedict addressed representatives of the Pontifical Biblical Commission following their plenary assembly and said that a correct understanding of Scripture does not come from "the individualistic illusion that biblical texts can be better understood outside the community of believers" but rather rises from the Tradition of the Church.

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"For a correct interpretation of Scripture we must, then, carefully examine what the hagiographers really sought to say and what God was pleased to reveal with their words," he explained.

  • First, "Sacred Scripture is one by virtue of the unity of God's plan, of which Jesus Christ is the center and the heart."
  • Second, "Scripture must be read in the context of the living Tradition of the entire Church. ... In her Tradition the Church carries the living memory of the Word of God, and it is the Holy Spirit Who provides her with the interpretation thereof in accordance with its spiritual meaning.
  • "The third criterion concerns the need to pay attention to the analogy of the faith; that is, to the cohesion of the individual truths of faith, both with one another and with the overall plan of Revelation and the fullness of the divine economy enclosed in that plan."

When I take an analytical look at the Holy Father's method of Scripture study I get the following points:
  1. God is the author of Sacred Scripture.
  2. Study the scriptures in relation to the Traditions of the Church. The Scriptures were written down by the Church, compiled by the Church, and intended for use by the Church, and most especially in Church.
  3. Don't take passages out of context.

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"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton