Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dei Verbum (Part 2)

Today, I'll continue my discussion of Dei Verbum.

Last time, I mentioned the unity of Scripture.  The Old Testament and the New Testament are different in style (and in language), but not in meaning.  "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."  True, the Old Testament contains "some things which are incomplete and temporary", but it is still useful and necessary for understanding God's plan of salvation.

In the New Testament, the Gospels have a special preeminence.  The Gospels show what Jesus Christ did and taught for the salvation of souls.  They are not written in what modern people would call "a historical fashion"; for example, St. John synthesizes some things, and St. Luke explains some things in view of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (which happened after Christ's death).  Nonetheless, the church "unhesistatingly asserts" the historical nature of the Gospels, in that they accurately portray the life of Jesus.

The final section of Dei Verbum is mostly a series of instructions to the church of the 1950's, on what to do concerning the Bible.  They want everyone to have easy access to suitable, correct translations of the Bible.  The church wants its theologians to be intimately familiar with the Bible, as it is "the soul of sacred theology", and again, "ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ" (St. Jerome)

Priests, deacons and catechists are legitimately active in the ministry of the word, and so they must hold fast to the Bible in reading and study.  This will enable them to more fully "share the abundant wealth of the divine word with the faithful committed to them".  All the Christian faithful are urged to gain a greater knowledge of Christ through the Scriptures and especially through the mass.  And, of course, prayer should always accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture.

By reading and studying the Bible, the Catholic Church hopes that the treasure of revelation may more and more fill the hearts of humans.

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