Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 134

Faith and Revelation

Knowing God Through Sacred Scripture

Chapter 3

The Church Transmits the Revelation of Jesus Christ Through Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture

Chapter Objectives
The student will be able to understand:
Christ established a Church The Magisterium Ecumenical Councils Apostolic succession Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture Sacred human traditions Sources of Sacred Tradition The authorship of Sacred Scripture Sacred Scripture is free from error The holiness of Sacred Scripture The literary forms in the Bible The four senses of Scripture Global factors in interpreting the Bible How to read the Bible

Keys to Chapter 3
Christ entrusted Revelation to his Church, which has a Magisterium, or teaching authority, guarded by the Holy Spirit.
The living Sacred Tradition of the Church has produced Sacred Scripture, written by God and human authors. Sacred Scripture should be interpreted according to its literary forms and the literal and spiritual sense its human and divine authors put into it.

In This Chapter We Will Discuss:


How Jesus intended his message of salvation to be transmitted until he comes again.
The role of an Ecumenical Council The role of the Magisterium in the transmission and interpretation of Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. The Deposit of Faith The different literary forms in Scripture. How to read the Bible, and the role of Sacred Scripture in the Christian life.

The Church Transmits the Revelation of Jesus Christ

Lesson Objectives
Christ established a Church The Magisterium Ecumenical Councils Apostolic Succession

The Church Transmits the Revelation of Jesus Christ

Basic Questions
Why did Christ establish a Church? By the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ established a Church under St. Peter and the Apostles so his Revelation could be preserved in its entirety and reach all nations without corruption.

The Church Transmits the Revelation of Jesus Christ

Basic Questions
What is the Magisterium? The Magisterium is the name given to the universal teaching authority of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him, which guides the members of the Church without error in matters of Faith and morals through the interpretation of Sacred Scripture and Tradition.

The Church Transmits the Revelation of Jesus Christ

Basic Questions
What is an Ecumenical Council? One way the Church has exercised her Magisterium is through Ecumenical Councils.

What is Apostolic Succession? The Magisterium is preserved through Apostolic Succession, the lineage of Catholic bishops through the ages, in which each holds his office in direct link to one of the Twelve Apostles.

Anticipatory Set
Create a bullet-point summary of salvation history from the first five paragraphs of this chapter (p. 56, God is not an aloof)

Focus Question
What key instrument has God used to transmit salvation history?
He has used Sacred Scripture.

Focus Question
What should be each persons response to what God reveals?
The proper response is faith.

Focus Question
How is the Church a motive of credibility for the truth of Divine Revelation?
It has been faithful to Christ for two millennia despite severe trials.

Focus Question
How is the faithfulness of the Church promised by Christ?
When Christ made St. Peter the head of the Church, he said, You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it (Mt 16:18).

Guided Exercise
Review the objectives (p. 57, In This Chapter)

What objective do you understand the best?

Guided Exercise
Why are the following questions of utmost importance?
How has the Good News revealed by Jesus Christ been transmitted through the generations? How can we be sure his message has been handed on faithfully?

Focus Question
Why is it logical to think God would provide a means by which his Revelation should be fully preserved and transmitted in the future?

Since the Good News is for all people and all times, it makes sense he would provide a way for all people to have access to this Revelation.

Focus Question
How did Christ guarantee his Revelation would reach all nations unadulterated?
He established his Church and granted his teaching authority to the Apostles.

Focus Question
What guarantees the Church can infallibly transmit the Faith?
The Holy Spirit guarantees it.

Focus Question
With respect to his message, when was Christs guarantee fulfilled?
It was fulfilled on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles.

Focus Question
When was the infallibility guaranteed to the teaching of the Apostles first seen?
In the Council of Jerusalem, the Apostles decided the Gentiles did not have to follow the Mosaic Law: It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us (Acts 15:28).

Focus Question
What is a model for Ecumenical Councils?
The Council of Jerusalem is a model.

Focus Question
What is an Ecumenical Council?
An Ecumenical Council is a meeting at which bishops from around the world convene to discuss and debate matters of concern to the whole Church.

Focus Question
Why are these Councils called ecumenical?
The Greek oikoumene means the inhabited world.

Focus Question
What kind of issues have Ecumenical Councils addressed?
They have addressed theological issues and matters of worship and Church discipline.

Focus Question
What is the role of the Ecumenical Council in the history of the Church?
These councils served as the primary means by which bishops discussed and made definitive decisions about issues facing the entire Church.

Focus Question
Who presides over an Ecumenical Council?
The Pope or his delegate presides.

Focus Question
What is the effect of decrees of the Magisterium emanating from an Ecumenical Council?
If ratified by the Pope, they are binding on all Christians.

Focus Question
How many Ecumenical Councils have there been? There have been twenty-one (Nicaea I through Vatican II).

Focus Question
What is the Magisterium?
It is the teaching office of the Church; safeguarded from error by the Holy Spirit, it transmits Christs Gospel faithfully and correctly.

Focus Question
Who constitutes Magisterium?
The Apostles and their successors comprise it.

Focus Question
What is the sensus fidelium?
The sense of the faithful is the whole body of the faithful who have an anointing that comes from the holy one cannot err in matters of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of the faith (sensus fidei) of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals.

Focus Question
Who guides the People of God in knowing the Faith? The sacred teaching authority, or Magisterium, guides them.

Graphic Organizer
Complete the following table about the two ways the Magisterium exercises the charism of infallibility.
Exercise of Infallibility
The Pope alone The bishops with the Pope

Explanation

Focus Question
What is the infallibility of the Magisterium?
The Church cannot teach error in matters of Faith and morals.

Focus Question
What ensures the infallibility of the Magisterium?
The Holy Spirit ensures it.

Focus Question
What should be the response of the faithful to a teaching of the Magisterium when it proposes a doctrine for belief as divinely revealed?
The definitions must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.

Focus Question
Where can examples of the teaching of the Magisterium be found?
It can be found, among other places, in creeds and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Focus Question
What is the Deposit of Faith?
It describes the whole content of Divine Revelation.

Focus Question
What are the twin sources of the Deposit of Faith?
Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are its sources.

Focus Question
How does St. Paul witness to the twin sources of the Faith? He wrote, Brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thes 2:15).
Extension: The phrase word of mouth refers to Sacred Tradition; by letter refers to Sacred Scripture.

Focus Question
How are Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church connected?
They work together and none can stand without the other two.

Guided Exercise
Discuss the following question:

What does St. Matthew teach about St. Peters authority (16:18-29)?

Focus Question
How do the contemporary terms priest, bishop, and Pope apply to the Apostles?
The Apostles were what we would call the first priests and bishops for the Church, and St. Peter is regarded as the first Pope.

Focus Question
What is Apostolic Succession?
The office of bishop has been passed along in an unbroken continuity from the Apostles to the present day.

Focus Question
How can a person know the present Pope traces his authority directly to the Pope?
There is a record of the 266 Popes from St. Peter through Pope Benedict XVI.

Focus Question
How did most of the early Popes show their fidelity to the Gospel?
They were martyrs for the Faith.

Tradition and Scripture

Lesson Objectives
Sacred Tradition and Scripture Sacred and human traditions Sources of Sacred Tradition The authorship of Sacred Scripture Sacred Scripture is free from error

The holiness of Sacred Scripture

Tradition and Scripture


Basic Questions
What is the relationship between Sacred Scripture and Tradition? Sacred Scripture is the part of Tradition that was written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. What is the relationship between Sacred Tradition and human traditions in the Catholic Faith? The Catholic Faith includes both Sacred, unchangeable Tradition and human, changeable traditions. The Churchs human traditions grow out of her Sacred Tradition.

Tradition and Scripture


Basic Questions
Where can Sacred Tradition be found? Witnesses of Sacred Tradition include the Churchs liturgies, the writings of the Church Fathers, and archaeology. Who is the author of Sacred Scripture? Sacred Scripture has two authors : God, its primary author, and inspired human writers, who faithfully wrote what God desired.

Tradition and Scripture


Basic Questions
Is Sacred Scripture free from error? The Scriptures are both veracious and inerrant.

Why is Scripture sacred? The Scriptures are holy because of their sacred origin, purpose, and precepts.

Anticipatory Set
Read Chapter 67 of St. Justin Martyrs First Apology www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm and discuss what this passage reveals about how the early Church worshiped God.

Focus Question
What is Sacred Tradition? It is the Word of God received from Christ through the Apostles that has been handed on without alteration by the Church under the protection of the Holy Spirit.

Focus Question
Why is Tradition sacred? The Church receives supernatural assistance from God to transmit the Gospel.

Focus Question
What Scriptural evidence indicates God gives the Church supernatural assistance?
Before his Ascension, Christ promised his Apostles, I am with you always, to the close of the age (Mt 28:20), and he told St. Peter, The powers of death shall not prevail against [the Church] (Mt 16:18).

Focus Question
How does St. Paul witness Tradition in 2 Timothy? He exhorts his disciple St. Timothy to hold fast to the truth he has been given by the Holy Spirit. St. Timothy should then entrust this truth to other faithful men who will be able to pass it on to others.

Focus Question
Why is it erroneous to argue Revelation should be based on Sacred Scripture alone?
Tradition is both logically and chronologically prior to Scripture. The teachings of Christ were first passed on orally and later written down.

Focus Question
What is the difference between Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture?
Sacred Tradition encompasses the entire Deposit of Faith, while Sacred Scripture refers to the part of Tradition written down.

Focus Question
Did St. Paul commend the Corinthians for keeping Tradition?
Yes; he praised them because they maintained the traditions he delivered to them.

Focus Question
What are some examples of Sacred Tradition?
The Divinity of Christ and the Blessed Trinity belong to Sacred Tradition.

Graphic Organizer
Complete the following table about some of the Fathers of the Church and why they are famous.
Father of the Church
St. Gregory the Great St. Athanasius St. Justin Martyr St. Augustine St. John Chrysostom St. Clement of Rome St. Jerome St. John Damascene

Famous

A. Being the fourth Pope. B. Defending the icons. C. Being a great Christian teacher (died in the fifth century) D. Preaching eloquently E. Being a medieval Pope. F. Translating the Bible G. Defeating Arianism H. Converting from his life as a pagan philosopher.

Focus Question
How was Christ critical of human traditions? He accused the Pharisees of being too concerned about traditions of men and neglecting the Sacred Traditions of Gods Law; You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the traditions of men (Mk 7:8).

Focus Question
Are there legitimate human traditions in the Church?
Yes.

Focus Question
What is the value and permanence of human traditions in the Church? They have a temporary value and can be developed or modified.
Extension: For example, the Church developed the tradition of plainchant in her liturgy. This did not mean that polyphonic or other forms of song could not be introduced in later times.

Focus Question
What are some examples of human traditions in the Church?
Architectural forms and artistic treasures are human traditions.

Focus Question
How do human traditions relate to Sacred Tradition?
The Churchs theological disciplinary, liturgical, and devotional traditions were born in the local churches over time and express Sacred Tradition in particular circumstances. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified, or abandoned under the guidance of the Magisterium.

Guided Exercise
Complete a focused reading on the paragraphs As Pope Leo XIII taught and The divine action of inspiration (p. 68) and then discuss:

What is meant by the word inspired in these paragraphs?

Focus Question
What are three sources of Sacred Tradition from the early Church?
Sources include the Churchs liturgies, the writings of Church Fathers, and archaeological remains. Extension: Here source refers to a witness to Sacred Tradition found in these places; Tradition was not created there.

Focus Question
What are the criteria used to recognize someone as a Father of the Church?

He must be of antiquity, exemplify holiness of life, and be orthodox in his belief.

Focus Question
Who are the Apostolic Fathers?

They are the earliest Fathers of the Church; they wrote during the first and at the beginning of the second century and were disciples of the Apostles.

Focus Question
Who are some of the Apostolic Fathers?

The text names Sts. Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp of Smyrna.

Focus Question
Why do the Fathers of the Church have exceptional doctrinal authority?

The handed on the Faith received from the apostolic Church.

Focus Question
How does Sacred Scripture relate to Sacred Tradition?

Sacred Scripture is the part of Sacred Tradition written down because of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Focus Question
Who is the principal author of Sacred Scripture?

God the Holy Spirit is its principal author.

Focus Question
To whom is Sacred Scripture entrusted?

It is entrusted to the Church.

Focus Question
Who are the two authors of Scripture.

God and the human writers are both true authors of the Scriptures.

Guided Exercise

Complete a bullet-point summary of the section The Truth of Sacred Scripture (p.68).

Focus Question
What does it mean to say God is the author of Scripture?

The Holy Spirit did not simply assist the human writers but actually authored what they wrote. Inspiration is nothing less than divine authorship.

Focus Question
What effect did Gods inspiration (or divine authorship of Scripture) have on the Sacred Authority?

It did not in any way diminish the role of the human writers; rather, it enabled them to write the truths revealed by God, who preserved them from error.

Focus Question
Which Person of the Blessed Trinity is the author of Sacred Scripture?

Although it is attributed to the Holy Spirit, like all the words of God, the inspiration given to the writers was an action of all three divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity.

Focus Question
What does it mean to say a Gospel is according to St. Mark?

God used St. Mark as an instrument to write a Gospel.

Focus Question
Why is the Bible supernatural?

It has a supernatural origin, God, and it has supernatural content, the wisdom of God.

Focus Question
What are the two types of truth revealed in the Bible. God has revealed supernatural truths about his intimate life and the eternal decrees concerning human salvation. He has also revealed natural truths people could reach through reason but which he wished to make known easily, with absolute certainty, and without error.

Focus Question
To what does the sanctity of the Bible refer?
It refers to the moral perfection of the doctrine contained it it.

Focus Question
What are the three aspects of the sanctity of the Bible?
They are its divine origin, its purpose, and its precepts.

Focus Question
How is the Bible holy in its divine origin?
In Scripture, evil is rejected and good is upheld.

Focus Question
How is the Bible holy in its purpose?
Its purpose is the salvation of all. The New Testament explicitly reveals the channels of grace Christ instituted by which man can become holy.

Focus Question
How is the Bible holy in its precepts? The Old Testament reveals precepts of the natural and moral law. In the New Testament, Christ perfects the moral precepts of the Old Testament by declaring their true meaning, establishing the best way of fulfilling them, and teaching his disciples how to achieve greater sanctity.

Fundamentals of Interpreting the Scriptures


Lesson Objectives
The literary forms in the Bible The four senses of Scripture Factors in interpreting the Bible

Fundamentals of Interpreting the Scriptures

Basic Questions
What literary forms are found in the Scriptures? One factor to understanding the Bible is the literary form in which a passage is written, for example, history, law, prophecy, apocalyptic, wisdom literature, poetry, or an epistle.

Fundamentals of Interpreting the Scriptures

Basic Questions
In what four senses may a scriptural passage be interpreted? Every passage of Scripture has a literal meaning. Many passages can also be read in a spiritual sense: allegorical, moral, and anagogical.

Fundamentals of Interpreting the Scriptures

Basic Questions
What global factors must be considered in interpreting the Bible? In interpreting Scripture, one must keep in mind the intention of the human divine authors, the content and unity of the whole Scripture, the Tradition of the Church, and the analogy of faith.

Anticipatory Set
Read aloud the following passage from the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:28-30) and discuss the following question:

On what principles should a literalist (as opposed to literal) interpretation be rejected?

Focus Question
Why can there be no contradiction among the passages of Sacred Scripture?
God is the author of the whole Bible.

Focus Question
What is the nature of an apparent contradiction between two passages of Scripture?
It is improperly interpreted or understood; otherwise, there is no contradiction.

Focus Question
What aspects of history does Scripture reveal? The Bible narrates historical events as well as the divine meaning and theological purposes of those events.

Focus Question
The Bible is free from error. What does this not guarantee? It does not guarantee individuals can interpret it correctly.

Focus Question
What are some factors to be considered to understand the intent of the human author of a book of the Bible?
The conditions of the time and culture; the literary forms used at the time; and the customary and characteristic patterns of perception, speech, and narrative must be considered.

Focus Question
What is a literary form?
It is a style of writing that communicates a message through particular creative means.

Focus Question
What are some literary forms found in Sacred Scripture?
They include historical, juridical, prophetic, apocalyptic, wisdom, poetic, and epistles.

Guided Exercise
Complete a focused reading of the paragraph Since Sacred Scripture.. (p. 69) and keep in mind the following question:

Why is it necessary to know the Catholic Faith in order to interpret Scripture properly?

Focus Question
Is Genesis a collection of fictional stories?
No. These event occurred; however, they are told to us in a way that makes the importance of the meaning of what happened most apparent.

Guided Exercise
Using the vocabulary at the end of the chapter, answer the following question:

What is the difference between a literal and a literalistic reading of a text?

Focus Question
What is a good method to begin to understand a book of the Bible?
It is best to try to understand the literal sense first. The literal sense is the meaning intended by the Sacred Author.

Focus Question
What are some literal questions to ask of a story?
Who is in the story? What happens in the story? Why does the action happen? What is the result of the action?

Focus Question
How does a literal approach to the Book of Revelation help the reader understand the use of lampstands and bowls?
We do not know if these objects exist in Heaven, but their use in the context of the book shows they figuratively draw connections in the minds of the readers to the most sacred elements of religious worship.

Focus Question
How does a literal approach to the creation stories in the Book of Genesis help the reader to understand the authors intentions?
The unfolding of creation indicates creation itself is to be seen as a temple for the worship of God.

Focus Question
What are the two literary senses of Sacred Scripture?
They are the literal and the spiritual.

Focus Question
Which literary sense is primary?
The literal is primary because every passage has a literal sense.

Focus Question
What is the literal sense?
It is everything the Holy Spirit intended to express through the words themselves.

Focus Question
Give an example of the literal sense of a biblical passage.
God created the heavens and the earth: (Gn 1:1) means God made everything out of nothing.

Focus Question
What is the literal sense proper?
It is the direct or ordinary meaning of the words.

Focus Question
What is the literal sense improper?
This sense understands words when taken in their figurative (or metaphorical) meaning.

Focus Question
What is the spiritual sense?
This interpretation of Scripture sees people and events as signs of something beyond themselves.

Focus Question
Why is it possible for the Old Testament to have a spiritual sense even though it was written over thousands of years by different Sacred Authors?
Because God is the author of both the Old and New Testaments and he is infinetly wise, he could have disposed the events and words of the Old Testament so things of the past typified (or prefigured) those to come in the New Testament.

Focus Question
Are all senses present in every passage in the Bible?
The literal sense proper is always present. The literal sense improper and the spiritual senses may or may not be depending on the passage.

Focus Question
How can a reader discover a Sacred Authors intention?
The reader must take into account the conditions of the Sacred Authors time and culture, the literary genres in use at his time, and his modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating.

Focus Question
What three criteria did the Council of Fathers of Vatican II indicate to help interpret Scripture correctly?
One should pay attention to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture, the living Tradition of the Church, and the analogy of faith.

Focus Question
What is the analogy of faith?
It refers to the coherence of the truths of the Faith among themselves and within the whole plan of Gods Revelation.

How to Read the Bible


Lesson Objectives
How to read the Bible

How to Read the Bible


Basic Questions
How should one read the Bible? One should read the Bible under the Churchs guidance beginning with the more accessible booksin a spirit of prayer and with faith.

Anticipatory Set
Read the prologue to St. Lukes Gospel (1:1-4) and discuss the following question:

Why might the Gospel of St. Luke be a good place to begin to read and study the Bible?

Focus Question
How does the Bible reveal how it should be interpreted?
Christ granted his teaching authority, or Magisterium, to the Apostles; they passed on this authority to their successors, the bishops. Therefore, the Scriptures indicate people should look to the Magisterium to help interpret the Bible.

Focus Question
What twofold apostolic authority do bishops possess to understand the Bible?
This authority consists of: 1. The Churchs long study of the truths of the Faith; and 2. The supernatural assistance of the Holy Spirit as the teachers of the Church.

Focus Question
Can each bishop interpret the Scriptures without error?
No; this authority belongs to the Church as a whole, not an individual bishop.

Guided Exercise

Complete a paragraph shrink on the paragraph Genesis and Exodus (p. 75).

Focus Question
What is one of the best resources available to understand how the Church interprets Scripture?
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the doctrines of the Church are explained; it is replete with quotations from Sacred Scripture and the Fathers, council, and saints of the Church.

Focus Question
Why is it true to say the more familiar a reader is with the many parts of the Bible, the richer his or her reading of it becomes?
Every part of the Bible exists in reference to other parts of the Bible.

Focus Question
Where is a good place to start to study the Bible?
St. Lukes Gospel is a good place to start because he is a great storyteller and his Gospel was written especially for people who knew little about Jewish customs and traditions.

Focus Question
Why is it important to pray before reading the Bible?
God is the perfect guide when one comes into contact with his Word.

Focus Question
In what context is Scripture best understood?
It is best understood within the context of a life of prayer.

Focus Question
Why is faith the essential condition to read the Bible?
Faith provides the right dispositions to read the Bible because of the Fall and the resultant pride and darkened intellect, a person may not want to understand what the Bible really teaches.

Guided Exercise
Complete a focused reading of the paragraph The Church allows (p. 77) and discuss the following question:

How does attending Mass regularly help a person understand the Scriptures?

Conclusion

Compose a bullet-point summary of the Conclusion (p. 77-78) proving no more than one point per paragraph.