Thursday, December 24, 2009

Isaiah 4

Below you find the handout from the last class. Here is the link to the audio. If you are having trouble with the link, try to right click it and select "save target as...," if you are using Internet Explorer; or choose "save link as..." if you are using Firefox. Then save the file and try to open it after you save it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Servant Passages in the Old Testament

The Servant in the Old Testament (A selection of passages):

Compiled by Fr. Jake Runyon using Bibleworks.

The Servant as:

  • The People:

NAB Genesis 26:24 The same night the LORD appeared to him and said: "I am the God of your father Abraham. You have no need to fear, since I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham."

NAB Leviticus 25:42 Since those whom I brought out of the land of Egypt are servants of mine, they shall not be sold as slaves to any man.

NAB Deuteronomy 32:36 Surely, the LORD shall do justice for his people; on his servants he shall have pity. When he sees their strength failing, and their protected and unprotected alike disappearing,

NAB Psalm 34:23 The LORD redeems loyal servants; no one is condemned whose refuge is God.

NAB 1 Kings 8:23 he said, "LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below; you keep your covenant of kindness with your servants who are faithful to you with their whole heart.

NAB Psalm 90:13 Relent, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!

NAB Psalm 136:22 A heritage for Israel, God's servant, God's love endures forever.

  • The Prophets:

NAB 2 Kings 9:7 You shall destroy the house of Ahab your master; thus will I avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the other servants of the LORD shed by Jezebel,

NAB 2 Kings 17:13 And though the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and seer, "Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes, in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers and which I sent you by my servants the prophets,"

NAB Jeremiah 7:25 From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day, I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.

NAB Jeremiah 26:5 and not listening to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I send you constantly though you do not obey them

NAB Jeremiah 29:19 For they did not listen to my words, says the LORD, though I kept sending them my servants the prophets, only to have them go unheeded, says the LORD.

NAB Jeremiah 35:15 I kept sending you all my servants the prophets, telling you to turn back, all of you, from your evil way; to reform your conduct, and not follow strange gods or serve them, if you would remain on the land which I gave you and your fathers; but you did not heed me or obey me.

NAB Ezekiel 38:17 Thus says the Lord GOD: It is of you that I spoke in ancient times through my servants, the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days that I would bring you against them.

NAB Zechariah 1:6 But my words and my decrees, which I entrusted to my servants the prophets, did not these overtake your fathers? Then they repented and admitted: "The LORD of hosts has treated us according to our ways and deeds, just as he had determined he would."

NAB Amos 3:7 Indeed, the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants, the prophets.

NAB Daniel 9:10 and paid no heed to your command, O LORD, our God, to live by the law you gave us through your servants the prophets.

  • Specific People:

NAB Exodus 32:13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'"

NAB Deuteronomy 9:27 Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Look not upon the stubbornness of this people nor upon their wickedness and sin,

NAB Genesis 26:24 The same night the LORD appeared to him and said: "I am the God of your father Abraham. You have no need to fear, since I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham."

NAB Psalm 105:6 You descendants of Abraham his servant, offspring of Jacob the chosen one!

NAB Genesis 24:14 if I say to a girl, 'Please lower your jug, that I may drink,' and she answers, 'Take a drink, and let me give water to your camels, too,' let her be the one whom you have decided upon for your servant Isaac. In this way I shall know that you have dealt graciously with my master."

NAB Ezekiel 28:25 Thus says the Lord GOD: When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, then I will manifest my holiness through them in the sight of the nations. Then they shall live on their land which I gave to my servant Jacob;

NAB Exodus 14:31 and beheld the great power that the LORD had shown against the Egyptians, they feared the LORD and believed in him and in his servant Moses.

NAB Joshua 18:7 For the Levites have no share among you, because the priesthood of the LORD is their heritage; while Gad, Reuben, and the half-tribe of Manasseh have already received the heritage east of the Jordan which Moses, the servant of the LORD, gave them."

NAB Joshua 24:29 After these events, Joshua, son of Nun, servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten.

NAB Numbers 14:24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me unreservedly, I will bring him into the land where he has just been, and his descendants shall possess it.

NAB Job 1:8 And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job, and that there is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil?"

NAB 2 Samuel 3:18 Now take action, for the LORD has said of David, 'By my servant David I will save my people Israel from the grasp of the Philistines and from the grasp of all their enemies.'"

NAB 2 Samuel 7:5 "Go, tell my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD: Should you build me a house to dwell in?

NAB 2 Chronicles 32:16 His officials said still more against the LORD God and against his servant Hezekiah,

NAB Isaiah 20:3 Then the LORD said: Just as my servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and portent against Egypt and Ethiopia,

  • Use in Isaiah:

Isa 20:3; 22:20; 24:2; 37:35; 41:8f; 42:1, 19; 44:1f, 21; 45:4; 48:20; 49:3, 5f; 52:13; 53:11; 63:11

NAB Isaiah 20:3 Then the LORD said: Just as my servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and portent against Egypt and Ethiopia,

NAB Isaiah 22:20 On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah;

NAB Isaiah 37:35 I will shield and save this city for my own sake, and for the sake of my servant David.

NAB Isaiah 41:8 But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, offspring of Abraham my friend--

9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth and summoned from its far-off places, You whom I have called my servant, whom I have chosen and will not cast off--

NAB Isaiah 44:1 Hear then, O Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen.

2 Thus says the LORD who made you, your help, who formed you from the womb: Fear not, O Jacob, my servant, the darling whom I have chosen.

21 Remember this, O Jacob, you, O Israel, who are my servant! I formed you to be a servant to me; O Israel, by me you shall never be forgotten:

NAB Isaiah 45:4 For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel my chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not.

NAB Isaiah 48:20 Go forth from Babylon, flee from Chaldea! With shouts of joy proclaim this, make it known; Publish it to the ends of the earth, and say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob.

NAB Isaiah 63:11 Then they remembered the days of old and Moses, his servant; Where is he who brought up out of the sea the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who put his holy spirit in their midst;

  • Servant passages:

NAB Isaiah 42:1-4 Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, Upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, 2 Not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, 4 Until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

NAB Isaiah 49:1-6 Hear me, O coastlands, listen, O distant peoples. The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name. 2 He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me. 3 You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory. 4 Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God. 5 For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, That Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! 6 It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Isaiah 50:4-9
4 The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, That I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; 5 And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. 6 I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. 7 The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. 8 He is near who upholds my right; if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let him confront me. 9 See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong? Lo, they will all wear out like cloth, the moth will eat them up.

Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12
13 See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. 14 Even as many were amazed at him-- so marred was his look beyond that of man, and his appearance beyond that of mortals-- 15 So shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless; For those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it. NAB Isaiah 53:1 Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him. 3 He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. 4 Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. 6 We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; But the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all. 7 Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. 8 Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people, 9 A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood. 10 (But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity.) If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him. 11 Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. 12 Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, Because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; And he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.




Thursday, December 17, 2009

Isaiah 3

This past week we discussed a few passages from Isaiah, namely chapter 1,2 and 7. Also, I handed out some outlines for the structure of Isaiah. If anyone is interested in one of these outlines, let me know and I can make you a copy.

As always, here is the audio from last week's class. God bless.
Next week we will discuss the suffering servant.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Here is an excellent Bible timeline:

Bible history timeline

By George Konig and Ray Konig

Below is a list of some historical events that are important to the study of the Bible and its prophecies. The research for this Biblical history timeline was done by George Konig and Ray Konig, authors of the book, 100 Prophecies. Scholars vary in the dates that they assign to ancient events. The dates shown below are approximations.

2100 BC (about 4100 years ago)
God promises Abraham many descendants
Abraham lived around 2100 BC in what is now Iraq. God told him to move to Canaan, which later became Israel. Unlike many people, Abraham believed in the one true God. God rewarded Abraham's faith, making him the father of a great nation (Israel), and an ancestor to the Messiah (Jesus Christ).

2000 BC (about 4000 years ago)
Jacob (Israel) is born
Jacob, the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham, is born in Canaan. Jacob's name is changed to Israel. (Canaan is later renamed Israel, after Jacob). He has 12 sons, for whom the 12 Tribes of Israel are named.

1900 BC (about 3900 years ago)
Joseph sold into slavery
Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel), is sold into slavery by his brothers, who are jealous of him. Joseph ends up in Egypt, where he rises to power as a trusted assistant of a pharaoh. His father and his brothers later leave Canaan, because of a famine, and move to Egypt. They are later saved from harm by Joseph.

1446 BC (about 3400 years ago)
Exodus begins
The Hebrews, or Israelites (descendants of Jacob), are enslaved for 400 years in Egypt until Moses leads them out of Egypt. They wander the desert for 40 years. Moses then brings them to the border of Canaan, the land that God had previously promised to their forefather Abraham.

1406 BC (about 3400 years ago)
Israel begins establishing itself as a sovereign country
After Moses dies, Joshua leads the Israelites into Canaan and begins conquering the land, establishing a sovereign country of Israel for the first time in history.

1400 BC (about 3400 years ago)
Israel is ruled by judges, not kings
From about 1400 BC to about 1050 BC, Israel was not ruled by kings. The people think of God as their King. Instead of an earthly king, Israel is led by judges who settled disputes.

1050 BC (about 3000 years ago)
Saul becomes Israel's first king
After about 350 years of being ruled by judges, the people of Israel demand to have a king, like the neighboring countries. By demanding a king, the people are turning away from their faith in God as their king. Saul become king and reigns about 40 years.

1010 BC (about 3000 years ago)
David becomes King of Israel
David becomes king of Israel in about 1010 BC and reigns for 40 years. David, unlike Saul, follows the commands of God. He makes mistakes, but he repents for them. He seeks to please God. He expands the size of Israel and rules over surrounding territories.

970 BC (about 3000 years ago)
Solomon becomes king, builds Temple
Solomon, son of David, becomes king in about 970 BC. He too reigns for about 40 years. Solomon builds the Temple in honor of God. The work is completed in about 960 BC. But, Solomon eventually turns away from God and worships false gods.

926 BC (about 2900 years ago)
Israel becomes a divided kingdom
Shortly after the reign of Solomon, Israel becomes a divided kingdom. The southern kingdom, called Judah, includes the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. The northern kingdom continued to be called Israel. The two often war with each other.

721 BC (about 2700 years ago)
Assyrians conquer northern kingdom of Israel
The Assyrian Empire conquers the northern kingdom of Israel in about 721 BC. The Assyrians torture and decapitate many. They force many Israelites (10 of the 12 Tribes of Israel) out of Israel and bring in foreigners.

612 BC (about 2600 years ago)
Babylon conquers Nineveh (Assyrian Empire)
The Assyrian Empire's capital city - Nineveh - is attacked by coalition of Babylonians and others. As explained by the prophet Nahum in the Bible, Nineveh was to be destroyed because of the Assyrian Empire's treatment of Israelites and other people.

605 BC (about 2600 years ago)
Babylon exerts influence over Judah
The neo-Babylonian Empire, under the reign of king Nebuchadnezzar, begins forcing Judah into submission. Nebuchadnezzar takes many Jews as captives to Babylon to ensure Judah's obedience.

597 BC (about 2600 years ago)
Babylon attacks Judah
Babylonian army attacks Judah and takes more Jews as captives to Babylon. Ezekiel, one of the captives, becomes a prophet of God. Ezekiel explains that God is allowing Babylon to punish Judah because the people have been unfaithful to God.

586 BC (about 2600 years ago)
Babylon destroys Jerusalem and the Temple
Babylon attacks Judah again. This time, the Babylonians destroy Jerusalem and the Temple that Solomon had built. More Jews are taken as captives to Babylon.

586 BC to 573 BC (about 2600 years ago)
King Nebuchadnezzar attacks Tyre mainland
Babylon begins a 13-year siege of the mainland of the Phoenician city of Tyre.

539 BC (about 2500 years ago)
Cyrus the Great conquers Babylon
After the death of Nebuchadnezzar, the neo-Babylonian Empire begins to lose power. Cyrus the Great conquers Babylon in 539 BC, establishing the Medo-Persian Empire.

538 BC (about 2500 years ago)
Cyrus releases Jews from Babylonian Captivity
After conquering Babylon, Cyrus offers the Jews their freedom to leave Babylon and to return to Judah. Cyrus' kingdom rules over Judah and many other parts of the Middle East, but Cyrus allows people more cultural and religious freedom than did the neo-Babylonian Empire.

536 BC (about 2500 years ago)
Work begins to rebuild Temple
Some of the Jews in Babylon return to Judah and begin work in about 536 BC to rebuild the Temple, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.

516 BC (about 2500 years ago)
Second Temple is dedicated
The Temple is consecrated for worship, 70 years after the Babylonians had destroyed it in 586 BC.

333 BC (about 2300 years ago)
Greeks begin rule over land of Israel
The Greeks, under the leadership of Alexander the Great, defeat Persian armies in Macedonia in 333 BC. This marks the fall of the Medo-Persian Empire and the rise of the Grecian Empire.

332 BC (about 2300 years ago)
Alexander conquers Tyre (Phoenician Empire)
Alexander wars against the island fortress of the Phoenician city of Tyre. He takes rubble from the mainland of Tyre and builds a walkway to the island. Alexander's forces then conquer the island fortress, bringing an end to the Phoenician Empire.

250 BC (about 2300 years ago)
The Old Testament is translated into Greek
A Greek ruler asks the Jews to translate all or part of the Old Testament into the Greek language. The translation is called the Septuagint.

175 BC (about 2200 years ago)
Greek ruler Antiochus Epiphanes torments the Jews
Greek ruler Antiochus Epiphanes rules Syria from about 175 BC to about 164 BC. He reigns over Judah and tries to destroy the Jewish religion. He also defiles the Temple.

164 BC to 63 BC (about 2200 years ago)
Jews have independence
The Maccabees, a group that fought for Jewish independence, stage a revolt against the Greeks and establish the Hasmonean royal dynasty, as well as sovereignty over all or part of the land of Israel for about 100 years, from about 164 BC to 63 BC.

63 BC (about 2100 years ago)
The Romans take over land of Israel
After the death of Alexander the Great, the empire of the Greeks is divided up and becomes weaker. During this time, the Roman Empire becomes increasingly powerful. The Roman general named Pompey seizes control over the land of Israel.

About 5 BC (about 2000 years ago)
Jesus is born in Bethlehem
Jesus is born in the town of Bethlehem. The Apostle Matthew later points out that Jesus' birth in Bethlehem fulfilled a prophecy delivered by the prophet Micah, about 700 years beforehand. (See Micah 5:2).

About 25 AD (about 2000 years ago)
Jesus begins His ministry
Jesus is about 30 years old when he begins his ministry. He preaches salvation, delivers prophecies and performs miracles. He announces that he is the Messiah (the Christ) who was promised by the prophets of the Old Testament. Jesus promises salvation and eternal life to those who believe in him (See John 3:16, as an example).

About 28 AD (about 2000 years ago)
Jesus is crucified and resurrected
Jesus is falsely accused and is sent to Pontius Pilate, the Roman ruler of the land of the Jews, to be crucified. Jesus is later resurrected, meaning he is brought back to life, and his followers began evangelizing him to others, allowing Christianity to spread very quickly throughout the Roman world and to eventually become the first religion to spread throughout the world.

70 AD (about 1900 years ago)
Romans destroy Jerusalem and Temple
In 70 AD, the Roman Army, under Titus, destroys Jerusalem and the Temple, to suppress an uprising of the Jews. According to the historian Josephus, about 1.1 million Jews were killed. Others were taken as slaves.

First century AD (about 1900 years ago)
The Bible is completed
During the first century of this era, the New Testament, which describes the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, is completed. The writing of the Bible (the Old Testament and the New Testament) comes to an end. It began during the time of Moses, about 3400 years ago. Jesus becomes, and remains, the final subject of the Bible.

Copyright © George Konig and Ray Konig and


Taken from

Isaiah Timeline:

History during the time of Isaiah

  • Uzziah and Jotham (791-732 BC)
    • Isaiah was called to be a prophet in the year when King Uzziah died (see Isaiah 6:1) 742 BC
    • Uzziah was second only to Solomon in wealth and power. But, he grew proud (2Chron 26:18)
    • He was king of Judah
    • He developed leprosy and was succeeded by his son Jotham (Jotham began to reign while Uzziah was still alive)
    • During this period Isaiah was busy afflicting the comfortable. On the outside, things were great, but Isaiah was worried about their laxity, their mistreatment of the poor, and especially their worship of foreign gods.
  • Tiglath-pileser III 744-727 BC
    • This was the Assyrian King
    • During his reign everyone in the north began to get quite worried.
    • Pekah of Israel sided with Rezin of Damascus
    • These two went to the new king of Judah, Ahaz, asking him to join their coalition.
    • Isaiah recommends against this and Ahaz listens to Isaiah.
    • However, Israel and Damascus attack Judah.
    • In this weakened condition, the Philistines and Edom attack Judah.
    • With pressure from all sides, Ahaz goes against Isaiah's recommendation and sides with Assyria.
    • Assyria attacks the north, freeing Judah from pressure. Israel becomes an Assyrian Vassal state.
    • Ahaz, impressed by these victories, decides to join in with Assyrian worship.
    • So, Ahaz is paying tribute to the Assyrian king and joining in Assyrian worship. He is putting his trust in human rulers, this is where Immanuel is promised.
  • Shalmaneser 726-722 BC
    • After the death of Tiglath-pilesar Hoshea from Israel decides to stop payment of the tribute. This pretty much ends the kingdom of Israel.
  • Hezekiah 715 BC
    • A good king of Judah
    • His first act was to clear out the abominations of Ahaz and rededicate the temple.
    • He is not as friendly with Assyria, and he attacks the Philistines, probably as a way to ally himself with Egypt against the Assyrians.
  • Sennacharib 704-681
    • With Hezekiah distancing himself from Assyria, Sennacharib leads an attack against Judah.
    • He wreaks havoc throughout the land, coming all the way up to the gates of Jerusalem.
    • Miraculously, Jerusalem is able to wait out the siege. Apparently a pestilence broke out in the Assyrian camp. There after Judah is dependent upon Assyria but somewhat independent.


Here is the audio from December 8.

Also, here is a map that shows many of the places mentioned by Isaiah:


I have been a bit behind in my posting. But, I will upload all that I have for the first class on Isaiah.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Penance Service Talk

Here is the audio from the Penance service.

Fr Bob Van Kempen is the pastor of St. Mary's in Bristol Indiana. You may recognize him, he was an associate pastor here in years past. His talk was excellent, I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hope: Msgr Bill Schooler

Here is the link to Msgr.'s talk on the virtue of Hope.
Monsignor Schooler needs little introduction. He is the pastor of St. Pius X parish in Granger. And, he is a former associate here at St. Matthew's Cathedral.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Parish Mission

Last night we began our parish mission. Click here for the audio from last night's talk on Faith. The recording is actually pretty good. I hope you enjoy it. Fr. Jim Shafer is the pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish of Fort Wayne. I think you will find the talk very helpful, as a way to increase your faith and faithfulness to the Lord this Advent.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Prophecy: Class 1

Here is the handout on the literary themes of Isaiah. There was also a handout given from The Prophets by Abraham Joshua Heschel. Anyone who did not receive one of these handouts but would like a copy should just e-mail me and I will be sure you get one. Also, here is the audio from the last class.

The Literary Message of Isaiah (from class notes of Fr. Ervins Mengelle):
• The world divides into two opposite entities
• The Lord tests his people’s loyalty to his covenant.
• The wicked align themselves with the Arch-Babylon and choose death.
• The King of Assyria/Babylon ravages the earth and is destroyed.
• Those who repent become Zion and are delivered from affliction.
• Zion is redeemed in fulfillment of the Sinai and Davidic covenants.
• Zion participates in a new exodus out of Arch Babylon.
• Zion ascends the spiritual ladder by passing tests of loyalty.
• Zion’s new covenant is a composite of former covenants.
• The Lord’s servant fulfills a mission to the nations.
• The Lord’s servant acts as a model of righteousness.
• The Lord, the King of Zion, fulfills the central redemptive mission.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Class 5 Audio

Here is the link to the class 5 audio

Class 5, Exegesis of John 4

Class 5

Here is the handout from class 5.  For those who missed it, we discussed John Chapter 4, the story of the woman at the well.  The handout shows 5 homily ideas that could be based upon the Historical Critical research concerning the text.  This is part of my longer MA paper where I spent more time on the passage.  If anyone wants to have a look at that longer work, let me know.
God Bless,
Fr. Jake

John 4, homily ideas

An Excerpt of my MA Thesis. In the section just prior to this one I did an exegesis of John chapter 4 looking at 5 different aspects of the text: text and translation, historicity, place, the five husbands, and symbolism. Here are 5 homily ideas based on the fruits of the research.

In the previous section I have explored five aspects of John 4 using neither a fundamentalist nor historicist approach. Rather, I have tried to show that using the historical critical method with a sacramental approach to the Bible can lead to spiritual discovery. Further, I think this way of reading the Bible is rich in pastoral import. In this section, I will briefly discuss five homilies that could be written as a result of this investigation.

    First, examining the text and translation, I discovered that John uses vivid language to make the scene come alive in its proclamation. One could deliver a homily that builds upon this feature. For example, the inceptive aorist was used to show that the people began to believe from that hour. One could deliver a homily that asks the people: when was the moment your faith began? If we cannot pinpoint any particular moment, perhaps this moment, today, would be the appropriate one. Our faith is not a faith of ethereal formalism; rather, our faith is based upon a real, tangible interaction with Christ which has lasting consequences. If we do not have an historical beginning, the consequences may not follow.

    Second, we discussed the historicity of the narrative. While I think it is often dangerous to discuss historicity from the pulpit (some in the congregation may embrace fundamentalism or scientism), I can apply the discoveries of this section in a homily. First, we noted that the text mentions that Christ had to go through Samaria. One could deliver a homily that exploits that ambiguity. One could say that Jesus did not have to go through Samaria because that was the only way to get to Galilee; rather, Christ had to go through Samaria because the woman was waiting for him at the well. Jesus does not miss an opportunity to come to us, but we need to be ready to meet him when he comes.

    Third, we explored the historicity of the scene, namely Sychar. One could deliver a homily that begins by stating that Sychar has been lost to us. Yet, the encounter with Jesus has not been lost, it is just as real and concrete today as it was when Jesus walked among us. Yesterday's Sychar has become today's Fort Wayne.

    Fourth, we examined the woman's five husbands. While I cannot rule out the possibility that this passage does simply refer to a woman who had five husbands, I am convinced that the allegorical reading is the best one. One might say as much in the homily. As soon as the congregation hears that the woman had five husbands, they often think of her as immoral. One could remind the congregation that God often referred to Israel as an unfaithful spouse (Hosea for example), and it seems as though John is relying on that sort of imagery. And, if it was the case that Samaria fell victim to false gods, might we have fallen likewise? This homily could help us peer into our hearts, discovering many false gods: consumerism, individualism, immorality, etc.

    Lastly, we discussed the symbolic nature of the characters found in John's gospel. And, it seems that the symbolic nature of this encounter between Jesus and Samaria was intended to quell tensions among the early Johannine community. One could craft a homily that explores the tension found in Catholic parishes between the immigrant Hispanic community and the Anglo communities, for example. One might encourage the Anglos to reach out to the Hispanics the same way Christ reached out to the Samaritans.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Class 4 Audio

Class 4 Audio

Class 4 Handouts

The Sacramental Approach:

My use of the "sacramental approach" to the Bible comes from a book titled The Revelatory Text, written by Sandra M. Schneiders, I.H.M. Schneiders complained that the historical critical method is insufficient for biblical interpretation because it can only deal with the text as an historical document. She argued that we have to make it applicable to our lives and times. Instead of seeing it as simply an historical document, she claimed that the New Testament can function as something like a sacrament, as the "locus and mediation of [a] revelatory encounter with God." She noted that Dei Verbum referred to the Bible in sacramental terms when it proclaimed that the Church has always venerated the Holy Scriptures as she has venerated the "Body of the Lord."

Schneiders noted that sacraments are "symbols that are peculiarly effective in mediating the divine-human encounter (i.e., in theological terms, grace)… they articulate the mystery with extraordinary clarity and power." She went on to explain this clarity and power results from material suitability (the Eucharist is like the bread of life because it is bread) and community recognition (the community imparts meaning onto the bread, so it is meaningful).

We can apply these principles to the Bible as well. Schneiders argued that as the Eucharist is the sacrament of the Body of Christ, so the Bible is the sacrament of the Word of God. The Bible is materially suitable because it comes to us in the normal form of human self-revelation, i.e. words. Also, the Bible is uniquely privileged in the Christian community, for many texts are inspirational, only the Bible is the rule (kanw,n) to judge other texts (the original meaning of the world canonical). As a result, Schneiders asserted, "To say that the biblical text (as read and understood) is the sacrament of the word of God is to say that this mystery here comes to articulation with a clarity and transparency that focuses our attention on the mystery of divine revelation." The Bible is both materially suitable and communally recognized as the sacrament of the Word of God and is a privileged place to encounter this revelation.

Yet, Schneiders' idea is not entirely new. Long before her St. Augustine read the Bible in sacramental terms. At this point it is necessary to define the term sacramentum. Augustine, when reading the Bible, relied upon Latin texts. In these translations of the original Greek, the word sacramentum was often used to translate the Greek mysterion (musth,rion). Sacramentum was not for Augustine simply reserved for the seven Sacraments of the Church. In fact, "In many of his works he uses the term… to identify manifestations of divine presence." Augustine thought of sacraments as sacred signs.

The literature on Augustine's theory of signs is extensive, and a full discussion of this theory is beyond our needs here. But, in order that we might understand a sacramental approach to the Bible, it will help to sketch Augustine's theory briefly. Augustine taught that a sign points beyond itself; in fact, there is a two part process: "first the sign itself, the signum, and that thing toward which the sign points, the res." A stop sign is a created sign, for instance, which is an object in its own right, even though it points beyond itself to the law that requires vehicles to come to a stop wherever that sign is placed. On its own, a red octagonal piece of metal with "STOP" written on it could not force a traveler to halt; but, when used as a sign to point to a further reality, it has its appropriate effect. In addition to objects, words are also conventional signs, that is, signs selected by human beings to point to specific realities beyond themselves. For example, the word ox is a sign for the real animal. Words are signs, for Augustine, which point beyond themselves. The Bible, itself a collection of words, is likewise a sign that points beyond itself.

For Augustine, "these sacred signs are revelatory and formative of the divine mystery." Emmanuel Cutrone summarizes Augustine's teaching on sacraments: "A sacrament… is a sacred sign whereby what is seen and experienced corresponds to a deeper spiritual reality which is made manifest by the very sign itself." If signs point beyond themselves to the thing they signify, and sacred signs reveal the divine mystery, then the Scriptures are a sacred sign, which point to the divine reality. In other words, the Bible functions as a revelatory mystery, a sacrament of divine revelation. Augustine thought of the Bible as a "sacrament of Christ." Reading the Bible was encountering the one to whom the sign pointed: Christ. It is interesting that this sign must be engaged in a unique way, for the Bible is a written phenomenon. The sign that is the Bible can only be engaged through reading the text (or hearing it proclaimed by another). The act of reading is, so to speak, a sacramental action and a reverential approach to the Bible. Brian Stock summarizes Augustine's thought on reading the Bible when he writes, "scripture offers the reader – either the private reader or the audience at a reading – a privileged medium, through which God's will, framed in narrative, can be internalized and directed outwards as ethically formed action." Augustine teaches, and Schneiders does also, that through the reading of the Bible, one comes into contact with God. Yet, that contact is always mediated through the humanly composed words of the Bible.

Since the Bible is a literary sign, it must be appropriated by means of reading and understanding the text. As Augustine taught, it is only through the reading, or hearing, of the text that one is able to engage the sign. Yet, this particular text presents us with many problems, as we have seen. The Bible is an ancient text and the presence it contains is conferred when the text is understood in its own language and context, which is why the human historical-critical and literary sciences prove necessary if we are to understand and appropriate it authentically, because these sciences relocate the ancient languages and contexts into our own language and context. The writers of IBC said that the historical critical method is necessary for this reason. I support this "sacramental approach" to the Bible because it furthers the harmony of its human composition and divine inspiration. Treating the Bible like a revelatory sign of Christ, given to us in ancient human words, requires a prayerful and faith-filled use of the historical critical method. Only when this method is combined with an approach open to the transcendent reality behind the scriptures is an exegete, in my view, able to use the historical critical method in a way that builds up the faith.

Part II:

The Process of Exegesis

Exegesis is the careful, systematic study of a text to try to appreciate what the author actually intended to communicate with a view to actualizing the text as passed on in a faith community, in a present day situation.

    It is good to think of the whole process as involving three things:

The Text Itself

The World behind the Text – the background and original circumstances in which it was written, and

The World in front of the Text – You as a Catholic Christian, the Church and the group of people you will address. This will thus take into account, the theology and spirituality of the Church, the tradition of interpretation, and the present situation.

These are the three basic areas involved, but the process itself involves five steps which are distributed into these three areas. These five steps give you an idea of what generally needs to be done in the process of exegesis. They do not need to be applied in precisely this order, nor should an exegetical essay necessarily be arranged according to them. They are simply the bases that you have to be sure you have covered.

The Text Itself

Text, Translation, and Key Terms

Text: Since there are literally thousands of biblical manuscripts and no two are exactly alike, you must establish the most accurate wording of the text you are considering. This is best done by examining a critical edition in the original language. But you can find significant variations in the original manuscripts by recourse to advanced commentaries or different editions of the Bible. You have to work these out. Most passages do not have major "text-critical problems," but all passages have been translated from the Greek or Hebrew.

Translation: Translation presents a problem. It is not a 100% precise science. Most Greek or Hebrew words do not have a single, English meaning. They have what you call a "range of meaning." The particular meaning has to be chosen from among the possible meanings by an intelligent translator or commentator. It is good to check a few different translations. We recommend John R. Kohlberger, The Comparative Catholic New Testament, New York: Oxford, 2005 – in which eight different translations are presented on two open pages).You may use your commentaries to help you make decisions about what is the best translation of a particular word or phrase. These are most helpful when they present the author's own translation.

Key Terms: When you are confident you have the right words, identify the most significant terms, and then try to find out what they mean here and elsewhere. How does the author use these terms? Does the author always mean the same thing when he uses them? You can find out quickly by using a

Concordance. By consulting a Theological Dictionary you can find out the range

of meaning and uses of particularly important words.

2) Literary Criticism

The following procedures must be done systematically.

    a) Work out the context of the passage, that is, how it fits into the structure of the work in which it appears. What is the larger structural piece to which this passage contributes? That will help you a great deal in understanding what the author is trying to do in the passage.

    b) Work out the grammar and syntax of the passage. Be sure you understand how the passage makes sense grammatically and logically. Sometimes an author implies something that you then have to add. Sometimes an author purposefully disrupts the sensible order the reader expects.    

c) Work out the structure of the passage. This is most easily done by breaking the passage into sense lines: full clauses or long phrases. When you have laid out the passage in sense lines, look for parallelisms, contrasts, or chiasms. Does a particular term or phrase occur repeatedly? Does this serve to divide the passage into parts? You may wish to mark your text with connecting lines or brackets or you may label verses or phrases 1, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, or whatever is appropriate in terms of how the passage is ordered. Try to discern why the author choose the order he did. Does it place the emphasis in a certain way?

You cannot be sure that there is not a structure unless you have actually looked for one. Ancient readers were far more attentive to structures than we are. We mark structures with numbers, letters, or bullets. The ancients did this more subtly by the way they used words in the text itself. Structures were used to disclose meaning.

    d) Identify any parallels, quotations, or allusions to other texts (whether biblical or non-biblical) that help us understand the source or meaning of the author's ideas in your passage or put it into a context that lets us see how differently the author sees things than the author of the parallel text did. If your author seems to be calling upon particular passages or traditions, you must decide why he chose to use them. Has he done anything new with them? When working with the Gospels it is always important to do a Synoptic Analysis to get clues on the particular emphasis of the author of the passage you are examining.

    e) Form Criticism: Identify any literary forms which are present in the passage and find out how that helps us understand the meaning of the passage. Is the passage a Parable, a Miracle, a Controversy Story, a fragment of a Hymn, or a Pronouncement Story? If so, how does that help you understand the meaning?

The World behind the Text

3) Historical Criticism

It is your job as interpreter to reconstruct, as accurately as possible, just

what was the actual life situation that provided the context for this passage:

at the time the things described in the passage were happening, and

at the time in which the passage was written.

This is especially important if people, places, and things referred to in the passage are not familiar to you. The principal behind this part of exegesis is the fact that people do not write, and events do not take place, in a vacuum, but in a particular context. You cannot fully understand a passage without understanding something about the events, issues, problems, and values that provide the context for what is described. It is equally important to understand the particular situation of the author, and, if possible, his community. For a Gospel passage, the history of Israel up to the time of Jesus is not, by itself, sufficient. It is sufficient for "Stage One" of the Gospel tradition. But you must also understand whatever we can know about the situation in which the Christian writer is writing this particular depiction of those events. That is part of understanding what is referred to as "Stage Three" of the Gospel tradition in Sancta Mater Ecclesia. Stage 1 is not exactly the same as Stage 3.

    In this facet of exegesis, you do not go through certain steps as with literary criticism. But you do whatever is necessary to be sufficiently informed on the ancient situation prior to and at the time of the text. In your essay, you only mention the background facts as they are actually important for understanding the passage. Much of your best work in this area will not be written up in the exegetical essay. But if you have not done this right, that will be very clear from statements that you make that show you do not understand the original situation in its historical context.

The World in front of the Text

4) Taking into Account Theology, Canon, and Tradition

Determine the main theological issues in the passage according to your best understanding of Catholic theology. Often the great theological issues involved can be found in the key words you identified in step 1. The theological issues may come up in Bible Dictionaries, but the theology of the Bible Dictionary will generally be that of its authors.

    Ask yourself: How does this passage fit into the full revelation of scripture and tradition? Is there a biblical figure in this passage that appears in another passage? If so, the use of that figure in the other passage may shed light on the fuller meaning of this passage in the context of the entire Bible. Also ask, are there other passages that express a very different view? If there are, those passages must be examined and the differences taken into account. This is in keeping with Thomas Aquinas' basic rule of never taking a single verse of scripture without also considering all the rest of scripture relevant to the issue. What Aquinas was suggesting is now called "Canonical Criticism." Canonical Criticism involves asking, "How does the rest of the canon and the canon-process itself, affect how I will apply or actualize the passage in keeping with the canon and the tradition of the Church?"

It is helpful to have insight into how earlier interpreters have viewed this passage. The best way to do this is to have a good knowledge of the major writings of the Fathers and what works might have addressed this passage. Patristic Commentaries, which are actually carefully chosen selections of what some of the Church Fathers said about the passages in a particular book of the Bible are helpful for this. The Church Fathers read passages with a view toward the content of the entire Bible and seeking to read everything in terms of the essence of Christian faith, which are skills for which many modern interpreters are not well equipped. But it is important to be aware that no ancient commentary frees you of the hard work of interpretation by the best current standards, and with a view to application to the present day Church. In Benedict XVI's words, "each age must in its own way newly seek to understand the sacred books." (Preface to 1993 PBC document: "The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church," end of first paragraph).

5) Application
and Actualization

What is the text calling the Church or the reader to understand or to do now—in the 21st Century? Application cannot be arbitrary. It must be based on the systematic spadework of the other four parts of exegesis. But it also calls for an accurate awareness on your part about the present situation of the church in the world. Good application must involve an accurate understanding of the implications of what the text means for other things that are also true. Here is where philosophy comes in. Faulty philosophy will always contribute to faulty application.

Application involves hermeneutics. Fr. John Craghan (a Spiritual Director and biblical scholar) defines hermeneutics as "the science of determining how the thought or event in one cultural context may be understood in another and different cultural context." (Love and Thunder, [Collegeville: Liturgical, 1983] p. 4). Doing this well requires a broad ranging understanding of theology, history, and culture. Matters are not as simple as "God said it; I believe it; that settles it." Hermeneutics can seem complicated or down right threatening. On one hand, it can seem like an effort to conform scripture to what one already knows to be true from Church teaching one receives elsewhere. Or, it can seem like a way of ignoring biblical teachings that seem "out of fashion" with modern thinking. Both of these errors must be avoided. Hermeneutics must be done with integrity. It involves nothing less than an honest facing of the questions:

What is the same (about our times and the times of the text)? and     

What is different (about our times and the times of the text)?

For instance, we cannot think about the nearness of the return of Jesus in exactly the same way as the first generation of Christians did. For us, nearly 2,000 years of history have passed, and this is something that the first readers did not have to take into account. This does not mean that we can ignore the importance of the return of Jesus, or the reality of its imminence. But we cannot do it in precisely the same way as the first generation of Christians did.

Putting It All Together

    If you are writing an exegesis paper or presenting a homily, you then have to put all of this together in a way that is clear and energizing to your readers or hearers, but faithful to the direction of the text itself. It is good to grab your audience's attention, but not if you suggest that the text says things that are not true to the text and the faith of the Church. Do not write or say everything that you have learned, but present the really important points in a form that is clear, accurate, and memorable.

Ordination II

What a great weekend, please keep praying for me!  God bless you,
Fr. Jake

Friday, October 30, 2009


Please keep praying for me.  It is hard to believe that I will be ordained a priest tomorrow.  I am feeling a great sense of peace and excitement.  People have asked me if I am nervous, and to be honest I am not.  Instead, I am filled with joy.  God bless you all.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

No Class this week.

Just a reminder that we will not be having class this week.  I will be at the Franciscan Sisters on retreat.  Please remember to keep me in your prayers!
Thanks and God bless,
Deacon Jake

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Class 3 Audio

Audio for class 3    Here is the audio from class 3:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Handout with Citation

The following is an excerpt from my Master's Thesis. It discusses the historical documents of the Church concerning the Bible. What we find is that there are significant tensions between the documents. Most of this can be explained by placing these documents in their original historical context. The tension found within these documents will be the point of discussion for our class.

Here is a book with all of these documents collected together:

Béchard, Dean P., S.J., ed. The Scripture Documents. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2002.

Providentissimus Deus by Leo XIII in 1893:

Providentissimus Deus (hereafter PD) "represents the magisterium's first treatment of the questions raised by modern Bible criticism." Leo XIII wanted to encourage the study of the Bible without sacrificing the tenets of the faith. Nonetheless, this document is quite restrictive in its approach to modern biblical criticism: "it is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the sacred writer has erred."
Leo wrote that the books of Scripture "are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration." In the face of rationalism, Leo emphasized the divine inspiration of the text against those who stressed only the human composition. But, while this document restricted the overly-scientific aspects of exegesis, it called biblical scholars to defend the Church's teachings by studying the original languages of the Bible and by employing the art of criticism. According to Leo, this art was to investigate the historical development and transmission of the text. Although, he took seriously the human aspect when he admitted the possibility of exploring the composition and transmission of the text, when reading the document, one notices a pronounced emphasis on divine inspiration.

Divino Afflante Spiritu by Pius XII in 1943:

In Divino Afflante Spiritu (hereafter DAS) Pius presented again Leo's notion that the truth of the Bible is safeguarded by its divine inspiration, affirming that the truth of Sacred Scripture extends to all parts of the text. But unlike Leo, Pius stressed the unique stamp the human writers place upon the Bible: "the inspired writer, in composing the sacred book, is the living and reasonable instrument of the Holy Spirit."
Pius paid attention to the human side of the tension, noting that the unique contribution of each human author should be explored in order to better understand the text. Pius encouraged the use of literary science but also encouraged biblical scholars to examine the questions posed by biblical criticism, to defend the inerrancy of the text by exploring the historical background of the material, and to admit the possibility that apparent errors can result from our not knowing how to understand an ancient text. Pius XII, like Leo XIII, emphasized the divine aspect of the text; however, he does pay attention to the unique contribution of the human authors.

Sancta Mater Ecclesia by the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1964:

Santa Mater Ecclesia (hereafter SME) addressed the historical truth of the gospels. It is best known as the document that distinguished the three levels of tradition found in the Gospels. First, there is the life of Jesus himself as he walked upon earth, suffered on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, i.e. both his actions and his words. Second, when the disciples received the promised Advocate, they began to preach Christ, and him crucified. Everything they said about Christ in this second stage was affected by the resurrection of Jesus. The Jesus they proclaimed was not limited to the historical Jesus; rather, the Risen Son of God was the subject of the Apostolic preaching. The third stage in the Jesus tradition was the committing of the apostolic witness to paper for the benefit of the future generations. In doing this, the sacred writers took all of the information available, a large sum of data, and set about "drawing up a narrative." Regarding the truth of this narrative, the Commission states, "The truth of the Gospel account is not compromised because the Evangelists report the Lord's words and deeds in different order. Nor is it hurt because they report His words, not literally but in a variety of ways, while retaining the same meaning." The truth of the text is maintained, even if the words of the Gospel go beyond the very letter of the matter. Both the divine and human aspects are maintained here, for the process of composition and transmission of the text is referred to as a human phenomenon. Still, the document shows that the original sense was maintained, bespeaking the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit. So, SME argues for both the divine inspiration and human composition of the Bible.

Dei Verbum by the Second Vatican Council in 1965:

Paragraph 11 of Dei Verbum (hereafter DV) begins: "The divinely revealed things, which are contained and put forward in the writings of Sacred Scripture, were consigned by the inspiration (afflante) of the Holy Spirit." It also addresses human composition: "in the composing of the sacred books, God chose men, whom he invited to make use of their own faculties and powers." The authors used their powers and faculties at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so that "everything which the inspired or Holy Writers assert must be retained as asserted by the Holy Spirit."
This outline of a carefully developed theology states that the Bible was written through human composition, which includes human freedom, at the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Due to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, everything asserted by those human authors is to be held as having been asserted by the Holy Spirit. DV does not hold that everything in the past tense is to be held as historically accurate. Rather, it says that everything asserted by the human author is to be held asserted by the divine author: if the human author did not assert historicity, neither, then, should it be held as asserted by God. Finding out what the inspired author asserted, then, is essential to biblical interpretation. If the assertions of the human author are to be held as asserted by the divine author, we want to be sure we do not attribute something to the divine author that was never asserted by the human author. In DV 12 it is argued that since God has spoken to us in a human way, we must, in order to understand what God wants to say, understand what the human authors wanted to say. So, DV taught that God worked in and through the human authors of the Bible; but, he did so in such a way as to maintain the authors' complete human capacities: this is the mystery of the Bible, namely that it is a divinely inspired text that was written through all of the complex processes of human composition.

Interpretation of the Bible in the Church by the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1993:

Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (hereafter IBC) begins by acknowledging that the Bible is an ancient text and that it was hard to understand even in ancient times. Today, the interpretation of the text is even more difficult given the passage of time. The methods for understanding ancient texts must be employed in order to read the Bible. The Pontifical Biblical Commission recognizes that many among the Catholic faithful have grown dissatisfied with historical exegesis, since they "judge the method deficient from the point of view of faith." The IBC goes on to say that the faithful "insist that the result of scientific exegesis is only to provoke perplexity and doubt upon numerous points which hitherto had been accepted without difficulty… scientific exegesis, they claim, is notable for its sterility in what concerns progress in the Christian life." The Commission wrote IBC to address these concerns.

The Commission discussed the historical critical method. Since the Bible is the Word of God put into human language, it "has been composed by human authors in all its various parts and in all the sources that lie behind them. Because of this, its proper understanding not only admits the use of this method but actually requires it." To sum up, "the goal of the historical-critical method is to determine, particularly in a diachronic manner, the meaning expressed by the biblical authors and editors," as a way to reach the literal meaning of the text. It is precisely in reaching the literal meaning of the text, and doing so by use of the historical critical method, that we arrive at the divine aspect of the Scripture. The divine aspect of the text never overpowers the human aspect; instead, the divine aspect becomes apparent only in, through, and with the human aspect. There can be a false dichotomy established between the human composition and divine inspiration of the Bible that must be avoided: the Bible is not either human or divine; rather, it is both humanly composed and divinely inspired.

Summary of the Documents:

Leo XIII noted that there were human authors to whom the Spirit dictated what he wanted written. Pius XII confirmed the divine inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, but demanded a better look at the manner in which the text was given to us, namely as the Word of God in human language. Dei Verbum describes best the interplay of human and divine authors when it argued that God, "making full use of the faculties and powers" of the human authors in such a way that they can be called true authors, "inspired them to write all and only what he wished." "Consigned to writing, the Scripture teaches the truth which God wished to reveal for our salvation, firmly, faithfully, and without error." The Pontifical Biblical Commission, in IBC, noted that the historical critical method is indispensable for interpreting the Bible, since it is an ancient text. Placing these documents in their historical contexts we see that each one was offered by the Church as a corrective to the prevailing emphasis of its time. Reading these documents out of their context seems to place them in tension with one another.

But, there is a tension found in the fact that the Bible is the humanly composed divinely inspired Word of God. There is a parallel tension found in the recent magisterial documents when it speaks about the Bible. In Leo XIII we find a complete rejection of the possibility of error in the text, and in the Instrumentum we find a teaching that says inerrancy is circumscribed. Pius XII emphasized the divine aspect, while he is aware of the human aspect. The Pontifical Biblical Commission emphasized the human aspect, while cognizant of the divine. Yet, standing in the middle of all these documents we find Dei Verbum, which captures the divine/human tension: God and the human authors are both authentic authors of the Sacred Scriptures. Since this is the definitive teaching of the Church, which holds the human and divine aspect in tension, it should come as no surprise that this same tension is expressed in all the documents, with a varying degree of emphasis placed on one or the other aspect. As long as the two aspects are held in tension, error can be avoided. It is only when one aspect is emphasized over the other that error can result.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Here is the audio from last night's talk.  I hope it works!

Class 2, Canon and Translation

Here are the handouts from last night's class.
Outline for Class 2: 10/13/2009: How did we get the Bible that we have?

Canon: kanon Greek word for rule. Its first meaning is the rule of faith. Only after the rule of faith was applied to the books of Scripture did the Bible itself become considered Canonical. See Harrington 17-31.

Edition: Alphabet soup: NAB, RSV, KJV, NIV, etc

Translation: We must remember that the Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek, so we are always at the mercy of a translator. Some examples of the original languages below.

Genesis 1:1

.`#r ~yIm:ßV'h; taeî ~yhi_l{a/ ar"äB' tyviÞarEB

Genesis 1:1 evn avrch/
evpoi,hsen o` qeo.j to.n ouvrano.n kai. th.n gh/n
(As you can tell the internet doesn't like Greek and Hebrew...)

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,

Transmission: Textual Criticism is the discipline for coming up with the best Greek and Hebrew versions of the Bible based upon the extant manuscript evidence. There are over 5400 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. We do not have the original letters of Paul or gospels. Rather, we have copies of copies of copies. This makes us rely upon the Church. Sola Scriptura folks have huge problems with this, but not Catholics.

Here is the second handout, these are pictures from ancient manuscripts.  I will talk about them next week.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Posts from first class below

Below you will find several posts.  These include the syllabus, lectio divina handout, Dei Verbum, and the quotations from the catechism.  At the bottom of each page you may have to click "older post" to see the next post. 
Again, thank you for the wonderful turnout.  We will be sure to have more chairs next time.  May God bless you and reveal himself to you in your study of the Sacred Scriptures.
Deacon Jake


Catholic Bible Study


Instructor Deacon Jake Runyon Phone 574-289-5539

Office St. Matthew’s Rectory E-mail


Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., How do Catholics Read the Bible?, New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc, 2005.


This Catholic Bible study will examine not only books and texts from the Bible, but will also discuss the Bible itself. Many people are interested in reading the Bible; however, the Bible is a unique book. It cannot be read like any other book we can buy at Borders. Rather, certain historical and introductory material needs be mastered before a person can understand the Bible at a more profound level. This course will help those interested read and understand the Bible.

The first semester will contain two units: introduction to the Bible, and the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. The second semester will also contain two units: the birth and death of Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus. Those who are only interested in one unit can feel free to attend one or all units.


Discuss the principles of Catholic exegesis.

Conduct a Study of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah

Using a synoptic analysis, we will examine the infancy, passion, and resurrection narratives.


There will be some reading between classes. However, class attendance is the most that is required.

Course Schedule:

Below you will find the course schedule for the first half of the course. It is hoped that the required reading will be read on the day listed. For example, please read Harrington 17-31 before class on October 13, as it will be discussed during that class.

Week Topic Required Reading

October 6 Spirituality of Bible Study None

October 13

The development of the Bible

Harrington p. 17-31

October 20 The documents of the Church

Harrington p. 1-16, 33-47

(Also, reading Dei Verbum from the Second Vatican Council would be quite helpful here.)

October 27 No Class No Class

November 3 The process of exegesis

Harrington 49-64, 95-111, and “Process of Exegesis” (handout).

November 10 No Class No Class

November 17 Exegesis of John 4 John chapter 4 and handout from The Revelatory Text.

November 24 Introduction to Isaiah Harrington 65-80, Isaiah chapters 1-20.

December 1 No meeting Parish Mission

December 8 First Isaiah Isaiah chapters 21-39

December 15 Second and Third Isaiah Isaiah chapters 40-66

December 22 Alternate Views on Isaiah Materials will be provided by Instructor.

Lectio Divina Handout

The 4 Moments of Lectio Divina,

From Michael Casey’s Sacred Reading, p 57.

Sense              Faculty       Function                                      Prayer

Literal             Intellect       Understanding the text              Lectio
Christological   Memory      Contextualizing the meaning.     Meditatio

Behavioral       Conscience Living the meaning                   Oratio

Mystical           Spirit           Meeting God in the text             Contemplatio

Dei Verbum


Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation

Second Vatican Council








ON NOVEMBER 18, 1965


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)



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 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)



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 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 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.



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)

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 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.



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.



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 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).



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 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 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).




Article 1:

1. cf. St. Augustine, "De Catechizandis Rudibus," C.IV 8: PL. 40, 316.

Chapter I

Article 2:

2. cf. Matt. 11:27; John 1:14 and 17; 14:6; 17:1-3; 2 Cor 3:16 and 4, 6; Eph. 1, 3-14.

Article 4:

3. Epistle to Diognetus, c. VII, 4: Funk, Apostolic Fathers, I, p. 403.

Article 5:

4. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chap. 3, "On Faith:" Denzinger 1789 (3008).

5. Second Council of Orange, Canon 7: Denzinger 180 (377); First Vatican Council, loc. cit.: Denzinger 1791 (3010).

Article 6:

6. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chap. 2, "On Revelation:" Denzinger 1786 (3005).

7. Ibid: Denzinger 1785 and 1786 (3004 and 3005).

Chapter II

Article 7:

1. cf. Matt. 28:19-20, and Mark 16:15; Council of Trent, session IV, Decree on Scriptural Canons: Denzinger 783 (1501).

2. cf. Council of Trent, loc. cit.; First Vatican Council, session III, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chap. 2, "On revelation:" Denzinger 1787 (3005).

3. St. Irenaeus, "Against Heretics" III, 3, 1: PG 7, 848; Harvey, 2, p. 9.

Article 8:

4. cf. Second Council of Nicea: Denzinger 303 (602); Fourth Council of Constance, session X, Canon 1: Denzinger 336 (650-652).

5. cf. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chap. 4, "On Faith and Reason:" Denzinger 1800 (3020).

Article 9:

6. cf. Council of Trent, session IV, loc. cit.: Denzinger 783 (1501).

Article 10:

7. cf. Pius XII, apostolic constitution, "Munificentissimus Deus," Nov. 1, 1950: A.A.S. 42 (1950) p. 756; Collected Writings of St. Cyprian, Letter 66, 8: Hartel, III, B, p. 733: "The Church [is] people united with the priest and the pastor together with his flock."

8. cf. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chap. 3 "On Faith:" Denzinger 1792 (3011).

9. cf. Pius XII, encyclical "Humani Generis," Aug. 12, 1950: A.A.S. 42 (1950) pp. 568-69: Denzinger 2314 (3886).

Chapter III

Article 11:

1. cf. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chap. 2 "On Revelation:" Denzinger 1787 (3006); Biblical Commission, Decree of June 18,1915: Denzinger 2180 (3629): EB 420; Holy Office, Epistle of Dec. 22, 1923: EB 499.

2. cf. Pius XII, encyclical "Divino Afflante Spiritu," Sept. 30, 1943: A.A.S. 35 (1943) p. 314; Enchiridion Bible. (EB) 556.

3. "In" and "for" man: cf. Heb. 1, and 4, 7; ("in"): 2 Sm. 23,2; Matt.1:22 and various places; ("for"): First Vatican Council, Schema on Catholic Doctrine, note 9: Coll. Lac. VII, 522.

4. Leo XIII, encyclical "Providentissimus Deus," Nov. 18, 1893: Denzinger 1952 (3293); EB 125.

5. cf. St. Augustine, "Gen. ad Litt." 2, 9, 20:PL 34, 270-271; Epistle 82, 3: PL 33, 277: CSEL 34, 2, p. 354. St. Thomas, "On Truth," Q. 12, A. 2, C.Council of Trent, session IV, Scriptural Canons: Denzinger 783 (1501). Leo XIII, encyclical "Providentissimus Deus:" EB 121, 124, 126-127. Pius XII, encyclical "Divino Afflante Spiritu:" EB 539.

Article 12:

6. St. Augustine, "City of God," XVII, 6, 2: PL 41, 537: CSEL. XL, 2, 228.

7. St. Augustine, "On Christian Doctrine" III, 18, 26; PL 34, 75-76.

8. Pius XII, loc. cit. Denziger 2294 (3829-3830); EB 557-562.

9. cf. Benedict XV, encyclical "Spiritus Paraclitus" Sept. 15, 1920:EB 469. St. Jerome, "In Galatians' 5, 19-20: PL 26, 417 A.

10. cf. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chapter 2, "On Revelation:" Denziger 1788 (3007).

Article 13:

11. St. John Chrysostom "In Genesis" 3, 8 (Homily l7, 1): PG 53, 134; "Attemperatio" [in English "Suitable adjustment"] in Greek "synkatabasis."

Chapter IV

Article 15:

1. Pius XI, encyclical 'Mit Brennender Sorge," March 14, 1937: A.A.S. 29 (1937) p. 51.

Article 16:

2. St. Augustine, "Quest. in Hept." 2,73: PL 34,623.

3. St. Irenaeus, "Against Heretics" III, 21,3: PG 7,950; (Same as 25,1: Harvey 2, p. 115). St. Cyril of Jerusalem, "Catech." 4,35; PG 33,497. Theodore of Mopsuestia, "In Soph." 1,4-6: PG 66, 452D-453A.

Chapter V

Article 18:

1. cf. St. Irenaeus, "Against Heretics" III, 11; 8: PG 7,885, Sagnard Edition, p. 194.

Article 19:

(Due to the necessities of translation, footnote 2 follows footnote 3 in text of Article 19.)

2. cf. John 14:26; 16:13.

3. John 2:22; 12:16; cf. 14:26; 16:12-13; 7:39.

4. cf. instruction "Holy Mother Church" edited by Pontifical Consilium for Promotion of Bible Studies; A.A.S. 56 (1964) p. 715.

Chapter VI

Article 23:

1. cf. Pius XII, encyclical "Divino Afflante Spiritu:" EB 551, 553, 567. Pontifical Biblical Commission, Instruction on Proper Teaching of Sacred Scripture in Seminaries and Religious Colleges, May 13, 1950: A.A.S. 42 (1950) pp. 495-505.

2. cf. Pius XII, ibid: EB 569.

Article 24:

3. cf. Leo XIII, encyclical "Providentissmus Deus:" EB 114; Benedict XV, encyclical "Spiritus Paraclitus:" EB 483.

Article 25:

4. St. Augustine Sermons, 179,1: PL 38,966.

5. St. Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah, Prol.: PL 24,17. cf. Benedict XV, encyclical "Spiritus Paraclitus:" EB 475-480; Pius XII, encyclical "Divino Afflante Spiritu:" EB 544.

6. St. Ambrose, On the Duties of Ministers I, 20,88: PL l6,50.

7. St. Irenaeus, "Against Heretics" IV, 32,1: PG 7, 1071; (Same as 49,2) Harvey, 2, p. 255.