At first, it seems an obvious thing to say that the Bible is a book, or rather a collection of books, and that, as such, they are to be read; more than obvious, it is to be understood as literature. However, when it comes to the Holy Scriptures, it is not always simple, because the Bible is, for us, the Word of God.
Illustrative photo: Wesley Almeida / cancaonova.com
In the Bible, we have the sacred that unites human act and divine action
As the Word of the Lord, the Church deeply venerates the Bible. What often happens is that people misunderstand the fact that we have it as the Word of God and that we worship it as such. They end up, then, out of normal respect, afraid to read the Bible.
Highlight for the Word of God
I think it’s cool when I arrive at a house and the Word of God is open, usually in a prominent place. The person has that big, illustrated Bible and places it in the room, open. This is very beautiful! It is very important to highlight the Word of God, and the Church encourages us to do so. However, most of these people are afraid or overly respectful and do not read it. So I want to comment on the Bible as literature.
To make it easier, let’s separate the words: Bible and Holy. “Bible” means a set of books, and as we have already said, a book is to be read. Human act. And the other word “Sacred”, according to the dictionary, is something related to divine things, something holy, separate. Divine act. There we realize what God wants: the union of the divine with the human.
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Human act and divine action
In the composition of the Holy Bible, we have, at the time of writing the books, the human hand, but also, and mainly, divine inspiration, which is what makes the Bible something sacred to us. There we have this combination of human act and divine action.
We do what is up to us in the human act of reading texts; and God does His part, sending us His Holy Spirit, who enlightens and guides us in this reading.
The Church teaches us that the grace of God is offered to every human being, but that in order to produce its effect, there must be human cooperation. It is what the Church calls man’s free adherence to divine grace. So it is with the Bible. For the Word of God, in all its sacredness, and for the divine act to happen in us, we need to perform the human act of reading the texts.