God’s Revelation in Sacred Scripture

Summary of Catechism paragraphs 50-73 and 100-141:

  • God reveals himself in order to communicate His own divine life to us.
  • Revelation unfolded gradually according to God’s plan of salvation history, involving both deeds and words, until the fullness of revelation in Christ.
  • God’s Word is expressed in written form in Sacred Scripture, the Bible.
  • Derived from the Greek term biblia (“books”), the Bible is the collection of writings that the early Church discerned as the inspired Word of God.
  • Sacred Scripture, therefore, was compiled in the heart of the Church, according to the authority of the apostles and their successors, the bishops.
  • The Church included the Hebrew Scriptures – what we call the Old Testament – because the revelation to Israel is a preparation for the coming of Christ.
  • The authentic writings about Christ, penned in apostolic circles, were also recognized by the Church – what we call the New Testament.
  • The definitive list of all the books in Sacred Scripture is known as the “canon,” from the Greek kanon, meaning a rule or standard.
  • God inspired Sacred Scripture, not in a mechanical sense through dictation, but through the action of the Holy Spirit, Who conveyed divine truths through the literary gifts of the human authors.
  • The Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church in the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, illuminating rich levels of meaning, from the literal to the allegorical (symbolic), moral, and anagogical (relating to eternal life).

Live Your Faith

God’s Word is not simply inert letters, or arcane history from a tiny corner of the world. Rather, the Word is incarnate in Christ and alive on the page, with a value for all time to teach truths, probe hearts, and reveal God’s love. How much time do we spend with the Lord by reading the Bible and reflecting on his Word to us? Let us appreciate ever more God’s great gift of Sacred Scripture.

For more, delve into the Vatican II document Dei Verbum.