What does revelation mean? What does it mean to say God “reveals” Himself to us?
The Church teaches that God has freely and fully revealed himself to us in order to draw us nearer to him and to make us more like him. God’s Revelation culminates in the person and the mission of Jesus Christ. God offered his Revelation to human beings in stages.
With Noah – after the flood. With Abraham – Our Father in Faith. With Moses – The Ten Commandments. The Prophets preached about a new and everlasting covenant that would supersede all other covenants. Jesus is God’s final Revelation. He is the fulfillment of all covenants.
The word Bible is from a Greek word which means “book.” Composed of 73 books – 46 Old Testament and 27 New Testament books.
Books are NOT arranged in the order in which they were written. Most books written by several authors.
The Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of the sacred books. “God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written and no more.” (Dei Verbum, 11)
Literal sense – what the written words mean as they are written. Spiritual sense – looks at what the words signify: Allegorical Moral Anagogical
Canon refers to the books of the Old and the New Testaments that the Church accepts as inspired books.
The canon of the Old Testament includes The Pentateuch – The first five books of the Bible also called the Torah or Law books. The Prophets – e.g. Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. Writings – all other books not included in the first two categories.
From the Greek word for “seventy.” The translation of Scripture from Hebrew into Greek. Seventy-two Hebrew elders divided into teams to translate the Scriptures. At the conclusion, each of the translations was exactly the same!
Catholic Bibles include the 7 extra books from the Septuagint called deuterocanonical or “second canon.” The Old Testament canon of Protestant Bibles includes only those books originally written in Hebrew. However, the “second canon” books are usually printed in a separate section called apocrypha.
The Council of Trent in the 16 th Century confirmed the canon of the N.T. using the following criteria: 1) originated with the Apostles. 2) widely circulated and accepted by more than one local Christian community. 3) doctrine taught was essential to the Christian faith.
Gospels (good news) Letters (epistles) written to local Christian communities or individuals by St. Paul Letters intended for the entire Church (Catholic letters) Acts of the Apostles - sequel to Luke’s Gospel recounts early days of the Church Revelation – apocalyptic literature
- Written between 65-100 AD - Synoptic Gospels – Although written for different Christian communities, Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are similar. Synoptic = “one eye.” -Gospel of John – written later - reflects a fuller understanding of the divinity of Christ.
Stage 1 – The life and teachings of Jesus Christ Stage 2 – Oral tradition Deaths of the Apostles, concern for weaknesses in oral tradition, need for catechetical manual and worship aid led to Stage 3… Stage 3 – The Gospels were written down
First reading from the Old Testament Psalm Response Second Reading from New Testament Letters Gospel Reading (related to the OT reading) Homily (Scripture explained by the priest) Year A – Matthew, Year B – Mark, Year C – Luke John – Lent and Easter, 5 Sundays of Year B
The Second Vatican Council renewed interest in Scripture. Readings at Mass are in the vernacular (language of the people). Over a three year cycle, Catholics hear readings from virtually every NT book and a large selection of OT readings. Scripture readings for Mass are contained in the Lectionary (book of readings).
The Bible is the “book of the Church.” The words of Scripture must be incarnate and living – not locked into the century in which they were written.
We must understand what the human authors were attempting to say and what God wanted to reveal by their words. The reader must take into account the historical and cultural context of the writing. The detailed study or explanation of a biblical book or passage is known as exegesis from the Greek word meaning “to lead.”
1. Pay attention to the Bible as a whole – See the unity of God’s plan with Christ at the center. 2. Read the Bible in the light of the living Tradition of the Church – from the perspective of the Church rather than individualistically. 3. Be attentive to the analogy of faith – Scripture understood within the entire plan of God’s Revelation.
Relational truth – you know it is true from your experience and from the testimony of others. Symbolic truth – parable – story that uses easily understood symbols and ends with a surprising moral lesson. Moral truth – laws and standards for living. Religious truth – describes God’s relationship with humankind.
Lectio divina – “divine reading” prayerful reading of Scripture Choose a Scripture reading Call on the Holy Spirit Read slowly through the passage Listen to God speaking in your heart Conclude with prayer in your own words