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Interpreting Scripture

All Scripture is inspired by


God and is useful for
teaching-for reproof,
correction, and training in
holiness so that the man
of God may be fully
competent and equipped
for every good work. (2
Tim. 3:16-17)
How do we faithfully and
accurately interpret Scripture?

“The task of giving an authentic


interpretation of the Word of God
has been entrusted to the living
teaching office of the Church
alone” (DV 10).
FOUR FACTORS IN
INTERPRETING SCRIPTURES
1. HUMAN AUTHOR

 Common sense tells us to find out what


the inspired human author had in mind
when interpreting a text.

 This involves some basic idea of the social,


economic, and religious conditions of the
authors in their particular historical
situations (cf. DV 12; CCC 110).
2. The TEXT itself

 We have to look at its literary form (e.g.,


historical narratives, prophetic oracles,
poems, parables, etc.) which the author is
using (cf. DV 12).

 The text must be viewed within the unity


of the whole Bible (cf. CCC 112).
 Something of the history of the text’s
interpretations, especially its use in the
Church’s liturgy, can be very helpful.

 Four ‘senses’ of Scripture:


* literal – teaches what happened
* allegorical – what is to be believed
* moral – what is to be done
* anagogic – what we must endure
3. The READERS/HEARERS

 We are constantly asking Scripture new


questions and problems, drawn from our
own experience; meaning, we want to know
what the Scripture means “to me/us”.

 At the same time, we recognize that the


Bible brings its own culture of meanings and
framework of attitudes that help form,
reform and transform us, the readers, into
the image of Christ.
Any authentic interpretation of the text for
the Christian community today must be in
continuity and harmonize with this tradition
of meaning that has grown out of the text’s
impact on Christian communities through
the ages (cf. DV 21; CCC 131-133).

We need to consider the witness offered in


the lives of holy men and women in the
Church through the centuries.
4. Common Horizon

 It first unites all the books of the Bible into a


basic unity.
 Second, it links together the context of the
Scriptural text and its tradition with our
present reading context today.
 This horizon is the new and eternal covenant
God has established with us in His Incarnate
Son, Jesus Christ.
 In interpreting Scripture, we seek the truth
that God wishes to communicate to us
today, through Scripture.
Thus we see that “in the supremely wise
arrangement of God,
a)Sacred Tradition,
b)Sacred Scripture and
c) the teaching office (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 our salvation” (DV 10).
QUIZ
1.Explain the relationship of Sacred Scriptures
and Sacred Tradition.
2.Explain how the Gospels were formed.
3.Why do we consider the books in the Sacred
Scriptures as biblically inspired?
4.Why does the Catholic Canon have 46 OT
books while the Protestant Canon has 39 OT
books?
5.Why can we say that the Bible provides us
with inerrant saving truth?
6.Explain the four factors in interpreting
scripture.

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