The whole point of reading and understanding the Bible is to encounter God, understand the revelation he has given us and grow in faith.
We read the Bible within the tradition of the Church to benefit from the holiness and wisdom of those who have gone before us. As long ago as the 5th century, St. Jerome, a Father and Doctor of the Catholic Church insisted that “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ!”
We read the Bible to benefit from the holiness and wisdom of those who have gone before us. The Bible is an ancient text, but is still relevant to our lives today. As long ago as the 5th century, St. Jerome, a Father and Doctor of the Catholic Church insisted that “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ!”
The Bible is not one long book! In fact it’s a collection of 73 books, written by many different people, and at many different times. In fact, the word “Bible” comes from a Greek plural noun, ta biblia, meaning the books.
Catholics believe that there are different ways to read and understand the Bible, these different methods of interpreting the Bible can deepen our relationship with God:
The Catholic Church gives three important points for interpreting and understanding the Bible. She says we should:
1. Be attentive to the content and unity of the whole Scripture (Catechism, 112). It all fits together as a coherent vision, so we shouldn’t just look at selected parts in isolation.
2. Read the Bible within the living tradition of the whole Church (Catechism, 113). The Holy Spirit guides the Church in interpreting Scripture; and we find many examples of how the Saints, Popes, Early Church Fathers and Mothers, and Church Councils have commented on Scripture and its meaning throughout history.
3. Pay attention to the coherence of the truths of faith among themselves and within the whole plan of Revelation” (Catechism, 114). The entire deposit of faith forms a wonderful unity – doctrine sheds light on Scripture, and Scripture on doctrine
You can download our free guide which will give you a timeline of the Bible, and tell you how the Old and New Testaments fit together.
Download the full introduction to the Bible for free here.