CATHOLIC APPROACH TO SCRIPTURE
To learn the Catholic approach to interpreting the Bible.
people have misconceptions about Catholics and the Bible. For
example, older Catholics may have heard that Catholics are not
allowed to read the Bible or to interpret it for themselves. People
interested in coming into the Catholic Church, especially from
a more fundamentalist background, may be familiar with a much
different way of reading and interpreting the Bible. A mini-course
introducing the Catholic approach to Scripture, based on Church
teaching and the work of contemporary Scripture scholars, will
help such people understand how the Catholic Church reads and
A four-week core course would include:
The Bible from Square One By Elizabeth McNamer.
This issue tackles some basic questions about the Bible. The formation
of the Canon, the invention of the printing press, the impact
of the Reformation and the Council of Trent, and modern biblical
scholarship are all here.
Did We Get Our Bible? By Elizabeth McNamer. N0796
article outlines the creation and codification of the Hebrew Scriptures
from the time of King David to the first century C.E., the various
writings of first- and second-Century Christianity and the process
by which the 27 books that we now have in the New Testament canon
Scripture Says...and Doesn't Say: Reading the Bible in Context
By Margaret Nutting Ralph. N0396
This Scripture from Scratch explores the impact of culture
and literary forms on the words of the Bible. Ralph reminds us that
the Scriptures do not necessarily hold the same meaning we may want
to attach to the words. The biblical authors intended to say and
teach certain truths, and we need to root our understanding of Scripture
first and foremost in the intent of the authors.
Interpreting the Bible: The Right and the Responsibility
By Sandra Schneiders, I.H.M. N0997
the wake of the Second Vatican Council, many Catholics began to
discover the Bible. This clear and concise issue gives a brief
history of biblical interpretations, counsels Catholics to avoid
the extremes in interpreting the Bible, and offers simple and
practical guidelines to help the reader understand the word of
For a six-week course, add:
Inspiration: God's Word in Human Words By George Martin.
What do we mean when we say that the Bible is the inspired word
of God? What makes the inspiration of Isaiah, Luke and Paul something
quite different from the inspiration of Beethoven, Michelangelo
and Shakespeare? Martin looks for the answers to these questions
in the Scriptures themselves, the documents of Vatican II and recent
Seeking the Language of God By Virginia Smith. N0695
This issue explains some of the difficulties involved in translating
God's word, offers a brief history of translations of the Bible
into English and offers suggestions for picking a translation
for personal reading and prayer and for public proclamation.
For an eight-week course, add:
Use and Abuse of the Bible By Ronald D. Witherup, S.S.
An unlikely assortment of groups and individuals make use of the
Bible, often to underscore the validity of their claims. Sadly,
the biblical meanings are often distorted, even to the point of
completely distorting their intended sense. Witherup leads his readers
through this minefield, providing a clear sense of direction in
determining what a given scriptural passage really means.
The Need for Biblical Criticism By Alan C. Mitchell.
criticism, as pointed out in this issue, should not be defined as
an exercise in picking the Bible to pieces, but rather as a close
examination of the biblical texts much as one would critique secular
literature. Literary forms, sources, editing, historicity and other
vital areas come under scrutiny. Lacking any original biblical manuscripts,
the importance of comparing such early copies as we do have also
comes into play.