Week #01 Assessment
Week #1 Introduction on the New Testament
1.Vatican II Docs èDei Verbum & Study Questions(See the attached file named Session #02 HANDOUT – Dei Verbum)
2.The Catechism of the Catholic Churchè#26-141
Please answer BOTH of the following questions.
Note: Essay responses must be 2-3 paragraphs of 4-6 sentences per paragraph unless otherwise noted. When citing your references, please refer to the specific page from the reading material (Page #XXX) or the specific slide used from the Online Lecture (Slide #XXX).
- Referring to the material and discussion assigned to Week #01, how can the methods of modern scripture study enhance one’s faith?
- Explain the relationship between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium. (CCC #95) Describe the three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit that inspired it. (CCC #112-114)
Please note that this work contains 2 parts:
- For part one,
Be sure to response to the topic questions in less than 12 hours in atleast 2 paragraphs (4-6 sentences each paragraph)
- Then for Part two,
Then, after 1-2 days, I will share with you the question of the instructor If he responds to the posting, and you will need to respond to the instructor question in less than 12 hours from sharing his question with you. Full credit will be given for those who provide a thorough response to the question I pose (if any).
- Plagiarism is not acceptable in any form and a score of zero will be given on the paper, as the paper will be checked by Turnitin Website for plagiarism.
- Do not just repeat words and text from the online Lecture of the reading materials assigned
- Use your own words and add value/information beyond the reading materials.
- Copying from sites like Wikipedia or any other internet sites will result in a score of zero as you only allow to use the reading materials provided.
To have a clear idea about what you need to do, below is an example of student response to this assessment:
There are 2 way I see modern scripture can enhance one’s faith. For example, from the online lecture slideshow, “To build this relationship with God, according to the Catechism of the Church, we really need to utilize a tool that is often foreign to academic studies at a University. That tool is called prayer.” I also like this one from the online lecture as well, #2563 “The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Stemic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place “to which I withdraw.” The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully…” I love these texts from the lecture because it really proves that both heart and prayer sync with our way in believing in our own faiths. In fact, it really enhances to me personally my faith because prayer can give us purpose, it shows and proves that there is a higher power protecting us. The heart is what makes us human to have emotion and love, while prayer shows proof of our devotion towards life in the process. In my eyes, the secret of life is love after all. So, the heart allows us to understand compassion and teach those the values of compassion. I’m a strong believer that both prayer and heart can draw the best in us anything we may pursue or do in our lives, thus in turn enhance one’s own faith.
The relationship between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium relies on heavily that they are equally important and that one cannot stand without the other, being connected to work together by the one Holy Spirit for the salvation of everyone. As stated in the book Catechism of the Catholic Church on pg. 29 section #95, “It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of all souls.”62
According to the book Catechism of the Catholic Church on pg. 32 section #112-114, The Second Vatican Council indicates the three criteria for interpreting scripture by the spirit who inspired it.
1.) “Be especially attentive “to the content and unity of the whole Scripture.”” Section #112
2.) “Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church.”” Section #113
3.) “Be attentive to the analogy of Faith.” Section #114
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UNFORMATTED ATTACHMENT PREVIEW
Week #01 Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 From St. Jerome… “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Welcome to the Course! Welcome to the online version of the Old Testament 200 course Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Welcome to the Course! Welcome to the Course! Week #01 Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 \ An Introduction to Story To begin our journey together, Peter Kreeft provides the following illustration concerning why we even talk about our relationship with God in the first place and the subject of Christianity in the modern world: Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story In J. R. R. Tolkien’s great epic The Lord of the Rings, Frodo and Sam are crawling through the slag heaps of Mordor desperately attempting to fulfill their perilous quest when Sam stops to ask, ‘I wonder what kind of story we’re in, Mr. Frodo?’ Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story It is a great question, a concrete way of asking the abstract question, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ That the question is asked at all shows that we are in a story, not a jumble, and a story points to a storyteller. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 VIDEO CLIP – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story The good Catholic that he was, Tolkien based his epic tale on the belief that the virtuous life (namely, to be like God) can overcome even the worst of evil. In the process, he tells the story of this journey of the faith between Frodo and Sam and their dependence on each other to achieve this quest. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story In the Catholic tradition, this very much defines the purpose of Church – two or more people gathered in Christ’s name to do good and avoid evil. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story The purpose of this course is to tell the story of God’s relationship with us through story, not history. History has a different set of tools than story and history is not without its own problems. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story If you write a historical article for a newspaper for a newspaper, magazine, book or electronic media, you are already biased in the manner in which you choose one story and not another. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story German theologians call this a Sitz im Leben, or a situation of life that varies from one culture or group of people from another. When reporting the story, each human being is limited by their own experience, not having the benefit of knowing the larger picture of life nor of the perspective of God. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story Rather, the bible prefers to use the method of story to tell of this relationship between God and us because story uses a different set of tools than history. Stories can be entertaining. Stories are not as concerned with specifics of an event but with a core message. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story This does not mean that stories are not true or are devoid of facts but that the message of the story is more important than the details so sometimes the details of specific are exaggerated or not thought through as well as they could be. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story Sometimes the details can differ, depending on who tells the story. For instance, if we tell the story of the White Sox World Series in 2005, depending on who tells the story, then a different perspective will be highlighted in citing the details. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story If I were a White Sox fan in Chicago and told the story of the 2005 World Series, I might describe it by saying, “God came down to the world in 2005, touched the White Sox with great love and the world became right in 2005 when the White Sox won the World Series.” Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story If I were a Cub fan, I might describe the same event by saying “God condemned the world, and Satan was throwing snowballs in hell when the White Sox won the World Series. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story Storytelling is the manner in which God uses a tool that is important to learn in this course – the word is “condescension.” God wishes to speak to us not in language foreign to us but in a way that we understand. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion CONDESCENSION: The manner in which God speaks to us in a way that we can understand. (See CCC #101) Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story You will notice that God chooses to speak through the human writer, with their own biased approaches to scripture, revealing the core message through the human writer’s text. That message comes to us in the form of story and metaphor, simple communication tools which we can grasp. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story And when we build a relationship with God, we do so through story, metaphor but most of all prayer and love, which is the prerequisite to understand what we are doing. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story As with any relationship, we want to know the details about a person’s life but if we are in love with someone, we want to learn about their heart and soul even more. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story To give you an understanding of the Old Testament and the bible in general from a relational point of view, perhaps I can use an analogy to express where we are going with this… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story The goal in this course is to first understand the tenets of the faith and then discuss how our understanding of these doctrines evolve with each age. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story To build this relationship with God, according to the Catechism of the Church, we really need to utilize a tool that is often foreign to academic studies at a university. That tool is called Prayer. According to the Catechism of the Church, Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story #2562 … Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story #2563 The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place “to which I withdraw.” The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story #2564 Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ. It is the action of God and of man, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story Thus, the study of reading the bible is a process, not just a theological discipline. Like any faith journey or personal relationship, a healthy relationship does not end as long as we make an investment in it. If we choose to learn about God on this journey, then our perspective changes concerning what we believe. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story Faith is relational. Our attempt is to build a relationship with Christ, which normally starts with some type of spiritual experience (see diagram on the next slide). In our attempt to describe this experience, our expressions and stories develop into metaphors, concepts and doctrines. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story We then compare these doctrines to our experience in order to understand whether those dogmas truly reflect what we have encountered. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story In this course, we will cover the tools necessary to learn about the Old Testament but if we wish to understand the core of God’s message, then we need to learn to channel those teachings through our heart and soul, building a relationship with God in the process. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story Like any other enterprise in life, we can learn the terms and the details of a specific discipline without understanding the larger picture of the discipline but then our understanding of the discipline seems lacking of its ultimate purpose. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story In this course, we learn that the Old Testament is the starting point to learning about our Lord’s covenant with us and how it is fulfilled with Jesus Christ. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The Old Testament Story In this story, we realize that God began this relationship through the creation of the human being (Adam & Eve) and allowed this humanity to choose the path which they wished to follow. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The Old Testament Story God made a covenant with these people, time and time again, in the Old Testament (or Old Covenant): I will be your God and you will be my people (Genesis 17)… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Topics/Themes Early Christianity born within Palestinian Judaism Expanded into surrounding GrecoRoman world Interpreted by Gentile converts in light of Hellenistic thought and culture Eventually resulted in Christianity’s separation from parent religion of Judaism Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The Old Testament Story …Time and time again in the Old Testament, the “chosen people” disregarded this covenant, only to be punished by this God for their disobedience. It was up to the prophets of the Old Testament age to foresee a new, last and everlasting covenant between God and His people through a Messiah, also called the Christ. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The Old Testament Story Fr. Lawrence Boadt (the author of the textbook from our Old Testament Course) provides a fitting summary of the Old Testament story, which provides a foundation for what we are about to discuss this semester: Infidelity to God’s covenant given through Moses will lead to disaster and destruction. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The New Testament Story It is in this New Testament (or New Covenant) that we are introduced to this Messiah, who reestablishes this covenant between God and us. By assuming our human nature, being baptized, by serving the poor and needy and by suffering for us, the Messiah (or Christ) models for us the type of life we must lead… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 About the New Testament Scripture scholars believe that the books of the New Testament probably were written from 51 AD (with St. Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians) until 110 AD (it is believed that St. John’s Gospel and the letters attributed to St. John the Apostle were written between 90-110 AD). Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 About the New Testament Once the last apostle (St. John) died (St. John was the only one of the twelve apostles that did not die a martyr’s death), the canon of the New Testament closed. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 About the New Testament Many scholars theorize that the books of the New Testament were formed by the events of three major periods of the First Century AD… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 About the New Testament 5 BC – 30 AD: The Life and Teaching of Jesus. Scholars believe that Jesus was born around the time the census from Luke’s gospel took place, most likely between 4-6 BC. The same scholars would also attest that Jesus probably died between 27-30 AD. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 About the New Testament Because there are so few concrete points in our historical timeline, many dates are based on estimations rather than historical accuracy. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 About the New Testament 30 – 70 AD: The Apostolic Age. The Oral Tradition. ‘For, after the ascension of the Lord, the apostles handed on to their hearers what he had said and done, but with that fuller understanding which they, instructed by the glorious events of Christ and enlightened by the Spirit of truth, now enjoyed’ (DV 19). Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 About the New Testament During the Apostolic Age, Jesus commissioned the apostles to continue his pastoral work in Mt 28: 18-20. The sequel to The Gospel of Luke (The Acts of the Apostles) describe this ministry called “The Way,” which most likely took place through the 70s. Most of the Pauline Letters were written during the 50s. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 About the New Testament 67 AD – 110 AD: Remainder of New Testament Written (including gospels). Because the faithful believed that the second coming of Christ would be immediate (which was the theme of 1 Thessalonians), the faithful saw no need to write down an account of Jesus’ life for future generations. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 About the New Testament HOWEVER, during the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem for the second time in 70 AD (the first time being around 586 BC), the faithful realized that Jesus’ return would not be immediate and saw the need to record the events of his life for future generations. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 About the New Testament Most scholars will argue that Mark was the first gospel written (67-70 AD) followed by Matthew & Luke (70-90 AD). John’s gospel, written somewhat differently than the other three gospels, most likely was written between 90-110 AD. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story The Catechism teaches us so – it teaches us that both the Old Testament and New Testament are inseparable from each other, since the former provides the covenant relationship which the New Testament fulfills. This is summarized clearly in Paragraph 140 of the Catechism, where the bishops of the Church state, Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story The unity of the two Testaments proceeds from the unity of God’s plan and His Revelation. The Old Testament prepares for the New and the New Testament fulfills the Old; the two shed light on each other; both are true Word of God. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 An Introduction to Story Note: If you are not invested in the life of story, if you are not a believer in the Jewish or Christian scriptures, DO NOT PANIC! In a good relationship, hopefully we learn from each other even if we do not agree or share the same faith story. The purpose here is not to convert you to the faith but to teach it to you in a Catholic context. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Week #01 Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Ground Rules for the Course This course will require you to do a little more than other courses but you should be able to navigate through this course with little problem if you just follow a few simple rules: Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Ground Rules for the Course First, READ YOUR SYLLABUS AND CLASS SCHEDULE!!! You are responsible for following them, regardless of whether we discuss the information in these lectures. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Ground Rules for the Course Make sure you read the online lectures and your reading material from the course. All your answers needed for your handouts are found in both sources. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Ground Rules for the Course You are required to make THREE postings a week on the discussion boards. To receive full credit for the discussions, please respond once at the beginning of the week, once in the middle and once on the weekends. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Ground Rules for the Course This is important – DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!!! It is easy in an online course to cite material from other internet sites or sources outside of what you have been given. I have written in the syllabus the consequences of plagiarism at the university, which we take seriously. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Some Friendly Advice If you read the material in the course and keep up with your work, you will have no problems getting a good grade at the end of our time together. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Some Friendly Advice Please keep the discussion posts positive! I have no problems if you struggle with issues – that is normal Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Some Friendly Advice Your final assessments need to be accompanied with references as to where you acquired the information. Unless I state otherwise, all references must come from the reading material and online lectures. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Ground Rules for the Course If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers as we spend the next few months together walking through this survey of the New Testament. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Week #01 Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 VIDEO CLIP – “The Bible” & “Inspirations” From “What Every Catholic Needs to Know about the Bible” Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion In order to offer this week’s presentation, I would like to introduce a few terms that I would like you to learn very well this week (Adapted from the GLOSSARY of The Catechism of the Church). Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion THE DEPOSIT OF FAITH: The will of God given to us, which consists of our ability to interpret sacred scripture. The DOF never changes but our understanding of it develops with each age… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion THE DEPOSIT OF FAITH: Thus, according to the CCC #133:”The Church ‘forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful . . . to learn ‘the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ,’ by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. ‘Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.’ Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The Deposit of Faith Inspired by the Holy Spirit, The Magisterial Teachings consist of… Sacred Scripture We define sacred scripture as the “canon” or authentic writings of God’s salvific plan for humanity + tradition (small “t”) We understand tradition (small “t”) as the interpretation of the Sacred Scripture from the theologians of each age Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 VIDEO CLIP – “Tradition” From “What Every Catholic Needs to Know about the Bible” Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The Deposit of Faith The Magisterium serves as the teaching body of the Church that relates to the faithful the message brought forth by tradition and Sacred Scripture (CCC #85-87). Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The Deposit of Faith In this approach, the Deposit of Faith, in its entirety, was revealed fully to His Church. However, in light of each generation’s gradual maturity in the faith, the Church evolves in her understanding of this Faith. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The Deposit of Faith Therefore, each generation is challenged to return to the sources of interpretation (Sacred Scripture and Tradition) in order to shed new light, in today’s age, of the Deposit of Faith that our God has given us. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion MAGISTERIUM: The living, teaching office of the Church, whose task it is to give as authentic interpretation of the word of God, whether in its written form (Sacred Scripture), or in the form of Tradition. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion TYPOLOGY: The illumination of the unity of the divine plan by discerning 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. In this light, Jesus Christ becomes the “lens” through which we read the Bible. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion TYPOLOGY: Another way of defining Typology is the discernment of persons, events, or things in the Old Testament which prefigured, and thus served as a “type”(or prototype) of, the fulfillment of God’s plan in the person of Christ. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion The typology of the Old Testament which is made clear in the New Testament demonstrates the dynamic unity of the divine plan of salvation. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion BIBLE: Literally meaning “little books,” the Catholic Bible consists of 73 books (66 for Protestants) which contain the truth of God’s Revelation and were composed by human authors inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible contains both the forty-six books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion CANON: The Church’s complete, authentic, God-inspired list of sacred books of the Bible. The main purposes for the evolution of the early Christian canon was to help clarify what beliefs early church leaders considered true and acceptable. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion TESTAMENT: The name given to the two major parts of the Bible; a synonym for “covenant,” as in Old and New Covenants. The Old Testament recounts the history of salvation before the time of Christ (46 books), and the New Testament unfolds the saving work of Jesus and the apostolic beginnings of the Church. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion COVENANT: A solemn agreement between human beings or between God and a human being involving mutual commitments or guarantees. The Bible refers to God’s covenants with Noah, Abraham, and Moses as leader of the chosen people, Israel… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion COVENANT: In the Old Testament or Covenant, God revealed his law through Moses and prepared his people for salvation through the prophets. In the New Testament or Covenant, Christ established a new and eternal covenant through his own sacrificial death and Resurrection… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion COVENANT: The Christian economy is the new and definitive Covenant which will never pass away, and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion OLD TESTAMENT: The forty-six books of the Bible, which record the history of salvation from creation through the old alliance or covenant with Israel, in preparation for the appearance of Christ as Savior of the world. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion SHEMA: Shema Yisrael are the first two words of a section of the Torah (Hebrew Scriptures) that is a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. The first verse encapsulates the monotheistic essence of Judaism: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one,” found in Deuteronomy 6: 4 & Mt 22: 37. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion MISHNAH: the tradition of the elders which originally circulated in oral form only but were eventually written down in a set of collective documents. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion NEW TESTAMENT: The twenty-seven books of the Bible written by the sacred authors in apostolic times, which have Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God his life, teachings, Passion and glorification, and the beginnings of his Church – as their central theme… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Terms in This Discussion NEW TESTAMENT … The promises and mighty deeds of God in the old alliance or covenant, reported in the Old Testament, prefigure and are fulfilled in the New Covenant established by Jesus Christ, reported in the sacred writings of the New Testament. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Key Topics & Themes Old Testament: Forty Six documents or “books” Thirty Nine Protocanonical Books Seven Deutero-Canonical Books consisting of… “The Torah” The Historical Books Canonical Wisdom Literature Major Prophets Minor Prophets DeuteroBooks Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 From Dei Verbum During the Second Vatican Council (19621965), the bishops who attended described this interpretation in the following way: Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 From Dei Verbum … 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… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 From Dei Verbum … To search out the intention of the sacred writers, attention should be given, among other things, to “literary forms.” … Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 From Dei Verbum 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 (Dei Verbum #12). Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Week #01 Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The Authors of Scripture From this approach, we understand that TWO TYPES OF AUTHORS are responsible for the creation of the sacred scriptures: • The Divine Author • The Human Author Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The Authors of Scripture We also realize that the divine author has one specific agenda (namely, our salvation), the human authors that compose the bible each have specific agendas, based on their own experiences, prejudices, and literary styles… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 The Authors of Scripture Thus, the good interpreter, in the world of hermeneutics, needs to understand the agenda of the human author who is inspired by God to write the words on the page and the divine author, whose message is contained within those words. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Week #01 Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 VIDEO CLIP – “The Bible” From “What Every Catholic Needs to Know about the Bible” Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 VIDEO CLIP – “The New Testament” From “What Every Catholic Needs to Know about the Bible” Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Typology of Bible …The Old Testament looks towards the New Testament and the New Testament fulfills the promises of the Old Testament. The question we ask in today’s age is whether today’s age choose to accept this New Testament/Covenant. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Fulfilled Prophesies of the OT His pre-existence Jn 1: 1, 14 (Mc 5: 2) Born of the seed of a woman Of the seed of Abraham God would provide Himself a Lamb as an offering From the tribe of Judah Heir to the throne of David Born in Bethlehem Born of a virgin Mt 1: 18 (Gn 3: 15) Mt 1: 1-16 (Gn 12: 3) Jn 1: 29 (Gn 22: 8) Called Immanuel, “God with us” Mt 1: 23 (Is 7: 14) Mt 1: 1-3 (Gn 49: 10) Mt 1: 1(Is 9: 6-7) Mt 2: 1 (Mc 5: 2) Mt 1: 18 (Is 7: 14) Declared to be the Son of God Mt 3: 17 (Ps 2: 7 ) He is the stone which the builders rejected Mt 21: 42; I Pt 2: 7 (Ps which became the headstone 118: 22-23; Is 28: 16 ) Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Testament & Covenant The nature of the covenant with Yahweh in the Hebrew Bible The promise of a “new covenant” (Jer 31: 31) Jesus’ declaration of a new covenant Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 What Is the New Testament? The New Testament as “scripture” Appreciating the cultural world of the New Testament ◦ A society far different from ours ◦ The Jewish world of Jesus: Palestine ◦ An agrarian, peasant society ◦ Interaction of Palestinian Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 New Testament & Hebrew Bible Relationship between the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible as Scripture for early Christians Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Testament and Covenant The nature of the covenant with Yahweh in the Hebrew Bible The promise of a “new covenant” (Jer 31: 31) Jesus’ declaration of a new covenant Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 VIDEO CLIP – “The Canon of the Bible” From “What Every Catholic Needs to Know about the Bible” Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 27 Books of the New Testament The Gospels & Acts Matthew Mark Luke John Acts of the Apostles (Sequel to Luke) Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 27 Books of the New Testament Pauline Literature (to the Tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”): Ro-Co-Co with Paul Gal-Eph-Phili-Col Thess-Thess-TimTim Titus-Philemon Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 27 Books of the New Testament Pauline Literature: Romans 1 & 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians 1 & 2 Thessalonians 1 & 2 Timothy Titus Philemon Philippians Colossians Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 27 Books of the New Testament The Other Epistles of the NT Hebrews 1(Letter of) James 2 (Letters of) Peter 3 (Letters of) John (The Letter of) Jude Revelation Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (the USCCB) is the “magisterial” body for the Church in the United States. On their website (www.usccb.org), the bishops offer resources on many subjects. One of those subjects concerns the manner in which we can understand the bible Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible On the website, Mary Elizabeth Sperry (Associate Director for Utilization of the New American Bible) writes the following concerning a good way in which we should read and understand the bible. I end this week’s Week with her wonderful direction… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible The Bible is all around us. People hear Scripture readings in church. We have Good Samaritan (Lk 10) laws, welcome home the Prodigal Son (Lk 15), and look for the Promised Land (Ex 3, Hb 11). Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible Some biblical passages have become popular maxims, such as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Mt 7:12),” “Thou shalt not steal (Ex 20:15), and “love thy neighbor” (Mt 22:39). Today’s Catholic is called to take an intelligent, spiritual approach to the bible. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 10 Points – Fruitful Scripture Reading 1. Bible reading is for Catholics. The Church encourages Catholics to make reading the Bible part of their daily prayer lives. Reading these inspired words, people grow deeper in their relationship with God and come to understand their place in the community God has called them to in himself. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 10 Points – Fruitful Scripture Reading 2. Prayer is the beginning and the end. Reading the Bible is not like reading a novel or a history book. It should begin with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds to the Word of God. Scripture reading should end with a prayer that this Word will bear fruit in our lives, helping us to become holier and more faithful people. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 10 Points – Fruitful Scripture Reading 3. Get the whole story! When selecting a Bible, look for a Catholic edition. A Catholic edition will include the Church’s complete list of sacred books along with introductions and notes for understanding the text. A Catholic edition will have an imprimatur notice on the back of the title page. An imprimatur indicates that the book is free of errors in Catholic doctrine. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible 4. The Bible isn’t a book. It’s a library. The Bible is a collection of 73 books written over the course of many centuries. The books include royal history, prophecy, poetry, challenging letters to struggling new faith communities, and believers’ accounts of the preaching and passion of Jesus… Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible 4. …Knowing the genre of the book you are reading will help you understand the literary tools the author is using and the meaning the author is trying to convey. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible 5. Know what the Bible is – and what it isn’t. The Bible is the story of God’s relationship with the people he has called to himself. It is not intended to be read as history text, a science book, or a political manifesto. In the Bible, God teaches us the truths that we need for the sake of our salvation. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible 6. The sum is greater than the parts. Read the Bible in context. What happens before and after – even in other books – helps us to understand the true meaning of the text. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible 7. The Old relates to the New. The Old Testament and the New Testament shed light on each other. While we read the Old Testament in light of the death and resurrection of Jesus, it has its own value as well. Together, these testaments help us to understand God’s plan for human beings. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible 8. You do not read alone. By reading and reflecting on Sacred Scripture, Catholics join those faithful men and women who have taken God’s Word to heart and put it into practice in their lives. We read the Bible within the tradition of the Church to benefit from the holiness and wisdom of all the faithful. Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible 9. What is God saying to me? The Bible is not addressed only to long-dead people in a faraway land. It is addressed to each of us in our own unique situations. When we read, we need to understand what the text says and how the faithful have understood its meaning in the past. In light of this understanding, we then ask: What is God saying to me? Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Understanding the Bible 10. Reading isn’t enough. If Scripture remains just words on a page, our work is not done. We need to meditate on the message and put it into action in our lives. Only then can the word be “living and effective” (Heb 4:12). Source: www.usccb.org Theo 210A – The New Testament, Week #01 Theo 210, Session #02: Dei Verbum On November 18, 1965, Pope Paul VI promulgated the Conciliar document of the Second Vatican Council entitled, The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum). In its preface, the bishops of the Second Vatican Council write that the focus of this document is “… to set forth authentic doctrine on divine revelation and how it is handed on, so that by hearing the message of salvation the whole world may believe, by believing it may hope, and by hoping it may love.” Below is the complete text of the Conciliar Document Dei Verbum. DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON DIVINE REVELATION DEI VERBUM SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON NOVEMBER 18, 1965, PREFACE 1. Hearing the word of God with reverence and proclaiming it with faith, the sacred synod takes its direction from these words of St. John: “We announce to you the eternal life which dwelt with the Father and was made visible to us. What we have seen and heard we announce to you, so that you may have fellowship with us and our common fellowship be with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ”(1 John 1:2-3). Therefore, following in the footsteps of the Council of Trent and of the First Vatican Council, this present council wishes to set forth authentic doctrine on divine revelation and how it is handed on, so that by hearing the message of salvation the whole world may believe, by believing it may hope, and by hoping it may love. (1) 1 CHAPTER I REVELATION ITSELF 2. 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. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having in inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation. (2) 3. God, who through the Word creates all things (see John 1:3) and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities (see Rom. 1:19- 20). Planning to make known the way of heavenly salvation, He went further and from the start manifested Himself to our first parents. Then after their fall His promise of redemption aroused in them the hope of being saved (see Gen. 3:15) and from that time on He ceaselessly kept the human race in His care, to give eternal life to those who perseveringly do good in search of salvation (see Rom. 2:6-7). Then, at the time He had appointed He called Abraham in order to make of him a great nation (see Gen. 12:2). Through the patriarchs, and after them through Moses and the prophets, He taught this people to acknowledge Himself the one living and true God, provident father and just judge, and to wait for the Savior promised by Him, and in this manner prepared the way for the Gospel down through the centuries. 4. Then, after speaking in many and varied ways through the prophets, “now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son”(Heb. 1:1-2). For He sent His Son, the eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them of the innermost being of God (see John 1:1-18). Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh, was sent as “a man to men.”(3) He “speaks the words of God”(John 3;34), and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave Him to do (see John 5:36; Divine Revelation 17:4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (John 14:9). For this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation 2 proclaimed, that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal. The Christian dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away and we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Tim. 6:14 and Tit. 2:13). 5. “The obedience of faith”(Rom. 13:26; see 1:5; 2 Cor 10:5-6) “is to be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which man commits his whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals,”(4) and freely assenting to the truth revealed by Him. To make this act of faith, the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit must precede and assist, moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind and giving “joy and ease to everyone in assenting to the truth and believing it.”(5) To bring about an ever deeper understanding of revelation the same Holy Spirit constantly brings faith to completion by His gifts. 6. Through divine revelation, God chose to show forth and communicate Himself and the eternal decisions of His will regarding the salvation of men. That is to say, He chose to share with them those divine treasures which totally transcend the understanding of the human mind. (6) As a sacred synod has affirmed, God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certainty from created reality by the light of human reason (see Rom. 1:20); but teaches that it is through His revelation that those religious truths which are by their nature accessible to human reason can be known by all men with ease, with solid certitude and with no trace of error, even in this present state of the human race. (7) CHAPTER II HANDING ON DIVINE REVELATION 7. In His gracious goodness, God has seen to it that what He had revealed for the salvation of all nations would abide perpetually in its full integrity and be handed on to all generations. Therefore Christ the Lord in whom the full revelation of the supreme God is brought to completion (see Cor. 1:20; 3:13; 4:6), commissioned the Apostles to preach to all men that Gospel which is the source of all saving truth and moral teaching, (1) and to impart to them heavenly gifts. This Gospel had been promised in former times through the prophets, and Christ Himself had fulfilled it and promulgated it with His lips. This commission was faithfully fulfilled by the Apostles who, by their oral preaching, by example, and by observances handed on what they had received from the lips of Christ, from living with Him, and from what He did, or what they had learned through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The commission was fulfilled, too, by those 3 Apostles and apostolic men who under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit committed the message of salvation to writing. (2) But in order to keep the Gospel forever whole and alive within the Church, the Apostles left bishops as their successors, “handing over”to them “the authority to teach in their own place.”(3) This sacred tradition, therefore, and Sacred Scripture of both the Old and New Testaments are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God, from whom she has received everything, until she is brought finally to see Him as He is, face to face (see 1 John 3:2). 8. And so the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved by an unending succession of preachers until the end of time. Therefore the Apostles, handing on what they themselves had received, warn the faithful to hold fast to the traditions which they have learned either by word of mouth or by letter (see 2 Thess. 2:15), and to fight in defense of the faith handed on once and for all (see Jude 1:3) (4) Now what was handed on by the Apostles includes everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the peoples of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes. This tradition which comes from the Apostles develop in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. (5) For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through Episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her. The words of the holy fathers witness to the presence of this living tradition, whose wealth is poured into the practice and life of the believing and praying Church. Through the same tradition the Church’s full canon of the sacred books is known, and the sacred writings themselves are more profoundly understood and unceasingly made active in her; and thus God, who spoke of old, uninterruptedly converses with the bride of His beloved Son; and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel resounds in the Church, and through her, in the world, leads unto all truth those who believe and makes the word of Christ dwell abundantly in them (see Col. 3:16). 9. Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the 4 divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently, it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore, both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence. (6) 10. Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort. (7) But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, (8) has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, (9) whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed. It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls. CHAPTER III 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. (1) In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (2) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, (3) they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. (4) 5 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 (5) 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, (6) 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. (7) 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. (8) But, since Holy Scripture must be read and interpreted in the sacred spirit in which it was written, (9) 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. (10) 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.” (11) For the words of God, expressed in human language, have been made like human 6 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. CHAPTER IV THE OLD TESTAMENT 14. In carefully planning and preparing the salvation of the whole human race the God of infinite love, by a special dispensation, chose for Himself a people to whom He would entrust His promises. First He entered into a covenant with Abraham (see Gen. 15:18) and, through Moses, with the people of Israel (see Ex. 24:8). To this people which He had acquired for Himself, He so manifested Himself through words and deeds as the one true and living God that Israel came to know by experience the ways of God with men. Then too, when God Himself spoke to them through the mouth of the prophets, Israel daily gained a deeper and clearer understanding of His ways and made them more widely known among the nations (see Ps. 21:29; 95:1-3; Is. 2:1-5; Jer. 3:17). The plan of salvation foretold by the sacred authors, recounted and explained by them, is found as the true word of God in the books of the Old Testament: these books, therefore, written under divine inspiration, remain permanently valuable. “For all that was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope”(Rom. 15:4). 15. The principal purpose to which the plan of the old covenant was directed was to prepare for the coming of Christ, the redeemer of all and of the messianic kingdom, to announce this coming by prophecy (see Luke 24:44; John 5:39; 1 Peter 1:10), and to indicate its meaning through various types (see 1 Cor. 10:12). Now the books of the Old Testament, in accordance with the state of mankind before the time of salvation established by Christ, reveal to all men the knowledge of God and of man and the ways in which God, just and merciful, deals with men. These books, though they also contain some things which are incomplete and temporary, nevertheless show us true divine pedagogy. (1) These same books, then, give expression to a lively sense of God, contain a store of sublime teachings about God, sound wisdom about human life, and a wonderful treasury of prayers, and in them the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way. Christians should receive them with reverence. 16. God, the inspirer and author of both Testaments, wisely arranged that the New Testament be hidden in the Old and the Old be made manifest in the New. (2) For, though Christ established the new covenant in His blood (see Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25), still the books of the Old Testament with all their parts, caught up into the proclamation of the Gospel, (3) acquire and show forth their full meaning in the New Testament (see Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:27; Rom. 16:25-26; 2 Cor. 14:16) and in turn shed light on it and explain it. 7 CHAPTER V THE NEW TESTAMENT 17. The word God, which is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe (see Rom. 1:16), is set forth and shows its power in a most excellent way in the writings of the New Testament. For when the fullness of time arrived (see Gal. 4:4), the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us in His fullness of graces and truth (see John 1:14). Christ established the kingdom of God on earth, manifested His Father and Himself by deeds and words, and completed His work by His death, resurrection and glorious Ascension and by the sending of the Holy Spirit. Having been lifted up from the earth, He draws all men to Himself (see John 12:32, Greek text), He who alone has the words of eternal life (see John 6:68). This mystery had not been manifested to other generations as it was now revealed to His holy Apostles and prophets in the Holy Spirit (see Eph. 3:4-6, Greek text), so that they might preach the Gospel, stir up faith in Jesus, Christ and Lord, and gather together the Church. Now the writings of the New Testament stand as a perpetual and divine witness to these realities. 18. It is common knowledge that among all the Scriptures, even those of the New Testament, the Gospels have a special preeminence, and rightly so, for they are the principal witness for the life and teaching of the incarnate Word, our savior. The Church has always and everywhere held and continues to hold that the four Gospels are of apostolic origin. For what the Apostles preached in fulfillment of the commission of Christ, afterwards they themselves and apostolic men, under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, handed on to us in writing: the foundation of faith, namely, the fourfold Gospel, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. (1) 19. Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (see Acts 1:1). Indeed, after the Ascension of the Lord the Apostles handed on to their hearers what He had said and done. This they did with that clearer understanding which they enjoyed (3) after they had been instructed by the glorious events of Christ’s life and taught by the light of the Spirit of truth. (2) The sacred authors wrote the four Gospels, selecting some things from the many which had been handed on by word of mouth or in writing, reducing some of them to a synthesis, explaining some things in view of the situation of their churches and preserving the form of proclamation but always in such fashion that they told us the honest truth about Jesus. (4) For their intention in writing was that either from their own memory and recollections, or from the witness of those who “themselves from the beginning were eyewitnesses and 8 ministers of the Word”we might know “the truth”concerning those matters about which we have been instructed (see Luke 1:2-4). 20. Besides the four Gospels, the canon of the New Testament also contains the epistles of St. Paul and other apostolic writings, composed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, by which, according to the wise plan of God, those matters which concern Christ the Lord are confirmed, His true teaching is more and more fully stated, the saving power of the divine work of Christ is preached, the story is told of the beginnings of the Church and its marvelous growth, and its glorious fulfillment is foretold. For the Lord Jesus was with His apostles as He had promised (see Matt. 28:20) and sent them the advocate Spirit who would lead them into the fullness of truth (see John 16:13). CHAPTER VI SACRED SCRIPTURE IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH 21. The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord, since, especially in the sacred liturgy, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the bread of life from the table both of God’s word and of Christ’s body. She has always maintained them, and continues to do so, together with sacred tradition, as the supreme rule of faith, since, as inspired by God and committed once and for all to writing, they impart the word of God Himself without change, and make the voice of the Holy Spirit resound in the words of the prophets and Apostles. Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture. For in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life. Consequently these words are perfectly applicable to Sacred Scripture: “For the word of God is living and active”(Heb. 4:12) and “it has power to build you up and give you your heritage among all those who are sanctified”(Acts 20:32; see 1 Thess. 2:13). 22. Easy access to Sacred Scripture should be provided for all the Christian faithful. That is why the Church from the very beginning accepted as her own that very ancient Greek translation; of the Old Testament which is called the Septuagint; and she has always given a place of honor to other Eastern translations and Latin ones especially the Latin translation known as the vulgate. But since the word of God should be accessible at all times, the Church by her authority and with maternal concern sees to it that suitable and correct translations are made into different languages, especially from the 9 original texts of the sacred books. And should the opportunity arise and the Church authorities approve, if these translations are produced in cooperation with the separated brethren as well, all Christians will be able to use them. 23. The bride of the incarnate Word, the Church taught by the Holy Spirit, is concerned to move ahead toward a deeper understanding of the Sacred Scriptures so that she may increasingly feed her sons with the divine words. Therefore, she also encourages the study of the holy Fathers of both East and West and of sacred liturgies. Catholic exegetes then and other students of sacred theology, working diligently together and using appropriate means, should devote their energies, under the watchful care of the sacred teaching office of the Church, to an exploration and exposition of the divine writings. This should be so done that as many ministers of the divine word as possible will be able effectively to provide the nourishment of the Scriptures for the people of God, to enlighten their minds, strengthen their wills, and set men’s hearts on fire with the love of God. (1) The sacred synod encourages the sons of the Church and Biblical scholars to continue energetically, following the mind of the Church, with the work they have so well begun, with a constant renewal of vigor. (2) 24. Sacred theology rests on the written word of God, together with sacred tradition, as its primary and perpetual foundation. By scrutinizing in the light of faith all truth stored up in the mystery of Christ, theology is most powerfully strengthened and constantly rejuvenated by that word. For the Sacred Scriptures contain the word of God and since they are inspired really are the word of God; and so the study of the sacred page is, as it were, the soul of sacred theology. (3) By the same word of Scripture the ministry of the word also, that is, pastoral preaching, catechetics and all Christian instruction, in which the liturgical homily must hold the foremost place, is nourished in a healthy way and flourishes in a holy way. 25. Therefore, all the clergy must hold fast to the Sacred Scriptures through diligent sacred reading and careful study, especially the priests of Christ and others, such as deacons and catechists who are legitimately active in the ministry of the word. This is to be done so that none of them will become “an empty preacher of the word of God outwardly, who is not a listener to it inwardly”(4) since they must share the abundant wealth of the divine word with the faithful committed to them, especially in the sacred liturgy. The sacred synod also earnestly and especially urges all the Christian faithful, especially Religious, to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the “excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ”(Phil. 3:8). “For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”(5) Therefore, they should gladly put themselves in touch with the sacred text itself, whether it be through the liturgy, rich in the divine word, or through devotional reading, or through instructions suitable for the purpose and other aids which, in our time, with approval and active support of the shepherds of the Church, are commendably spread everywhere. And let them remember that prayer should 10 accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for “we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying.”(6) It devolves on sacred bishops “who have the apostolic teaching”(7) to give the faithful entrusted to them suitable instruction in the right use of the divine books, especially the New Testament and above all the Gospels. This can be done through translations of the sacred texts, which are to be provided with the necessary and really adequate explanations so that the children of the Church may safely and profitably become conversant with the Sacred Scriptures and be penetrated with their spirit. Furthermore, editions of the Sacred Scriptures, provided with suitable footnotes, should be prepared also for the use of non-Christians and adapted to their situation. Both pastors of souls and Christians generally should see to the wise distribution of these in one way or another. 26. In this way, therefore, through the reading and study of the sacred books “the word of God may spread rapidly and be glorified”(2 Thess. 3:1) and the treasure of revelation, entrusted to the Church, may more and more fill the hearts of men. Just as the life of the Church is strengthened through more frequent celebration of the Eucharistic mystery, similar we may hope for a new stimulus for the life of the Spirit from a growing reverence for the word of God, which “lasts forever”(Is. 40:8; see 1 Peter 1:23-25). 11
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