To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pope Francis’ papacy on 13th March 2023, we’ve chosen our favourite quotations about the power of Scripture from his many writings and speeches.
“The word of God is alive and active” (Hebrews 4 :12); it does not die, nor does it age, but it remains for ever (cf. 1 Peter 1:25). It stays young in the presence of all that passes away (cf. Matthew 25:35) and preserves those who put it into practice from inner ageing.
From the beginning of Pope Francis’ papacy, he has championed the Bible. He has also written two Letters specifically on Scripture to institute the Sunday of the Word of God Special Feast in January each year, and to celebrate St Jerome’s role in translating the Bible into Latin in the 4th century.
You can find a comprehensive list of links to all the Vatican’s key documents on Scripture at the end of this article.
We are servants of the word of salvation
We are servants of the word of eternal life
We are servants of the word of reconciliation
We are servants of the word that ‘went out’ from God and ‘was made flesh’
We are servants of the word of truth
We are servants of the powerful word of God.
From Pope Francis’ – ‘Address to the Delegation of the Church Relations Committee of the United Bible Societies’ in October 2017.
Take a look at our selection of quotations and choose your favourites.
“[A] good way to grow in friendship with Christ is by listening to his word. The Lord speaks to us in the depths of our conscience, he speaks to us through Sacred Scripture, he speaks to us in prayer. Learn to stay before him in silence, to read and meditate on the Bible, especially the Gospels, to converse with him every day in order to feel his presence of friendship and love.”
“Everyone should carry a small Bible or pocket edition of the Gospels and should find at least a few minutes every day to read the word of God.”
“A Bible for every family! …Not to place it on a shelf, but to keep it at hand, to read it often, every day, both individually and together, husband and wife, parents and children, maybe in the evening, especially on Sundays. This way the family grows, walks, with the light and power of the Word of God!”
“The Bible is not a beautiful collection of sacred books to study – it is the Word of Life to be sown.”
“A Church that lives in listening to the Word is never satisfied with her own security. She is obedient to the unpredictable novelties of the Spirit.”
“The Bible is the best vaccine against closure and self-preservation. It is the Word of God, not ours, and it takes us away from being at the centre, preserving us from self-sufficiency and triumphalism, constantly calling us to come out of ourselves.”
“Let us pray, and let us ensure that the Bible does not remain in the library among the many books that speak of it, but rather that it runs through the streets of the world and waits where people live.”
“Through prayer, a new incarnation of the Word takes place. And we are the “tabernacles” where the words of God want to be welcomed and preserved, so that they may visit the world. This is why we must approach the Bible without ulterior motives, without exploiting it. The believer does not turn to the Holy Scriptures to support his or her own philosophical and moral view, but because he or she hopes for an encounter…”
“The Word inspires good intentions and sustains action; it gives us strength and serenity, and even when it challenges us, it gives us peace. On “weird” and confusing days, it guarantees to the heart a core of confidence and of love that protects it from the attacks of the evil one.”
“The Bible is the great story of the marvels of God’s mercy. Every one of its pages is steeped in the love of the Father who, from the moment of creation, wished to impress the signs of his love on the universe. Through the words of the prophets and the wisdom writings, the Holy Spirit shaped the history of Israel as a recognition of God’s tenderness and closeness, despite the people’s infidelity. Jesus’ life and preaching decisively marked the history of the Christian community, which has viewed its mission in terms of Christ’s command to be a permanent instrument of his mercy and forgiveness.”
If you would like to read about the Catholic Church’s two most important documents on the Bible then take a look here:
Verbum Domini – On the Word of God (2010)
The most recent Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Bible.
Dei Verbum: Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (1965)
Vatican II’s most significant teachings on the Bible and Divine Revelation.
Most recent Letters and Addresses:
Scripturae Sacrae Affectus (2020)
Apostolic Letter on the 1,600 anniversary of the death of St Jerome.
Aperuit Illis – Apostolic Letter (Motu Proprio) instituting the ‘Sunday of the Word of God’ (2019)
Address to the Church Relations’ Committee of the United Bible Societies (2017)
Most recent Encyclicals and Apostolic Exhortations:
Laudato Si – On Care for our Common Home (2015)
Evangelii Gaudium – On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World (2013)
Lumen Fidei – On the Light of Faith in the Lay Faithful (2013)
Short resource on the Scriptures by the Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland.
The Gift of Scripture – On the Beauty of the Bible (2005)