The Second Vatican Council document, Dei Verbum , guides how the Bible should be read. “God, in Sacred Scripture, spoke through men and in a human way: ‘the interpreter of Sacred Scripture must, in order to fully understand what God wanted to convey to us, to investigate carefully what it was that hagiographers, in fact, wanted to give to understand and, in his words, it pleased God to manifest ‘. ”
In order to discover the intention of hagiographers, one must take into account, among other things, also the “literary genres”, because the truth is presented and expressed in very different ways in the texts, in one way or another historical, prophetic or poetic, as well as in other forms of expression. Now, it is necessary that the interpreter researches the meaning that, in certain circumstances, the hagiographer, according to the situation of his time and culture, wanted to express and expressed through literary genres in use. For, in order to correctly understand what the sacred author has intended to affirm in writing, it is necessary to take due account of both our common and spontaneous ways of thinking, speaking and telling, which were already current in the hagiographer’s time, as they used to to be employed in the human interchange of those ages.
Illustrative photo: Daniel Mafra / cancaonova.com
Read Sacred Scripture as the Church teaches us
The Sacred Scripture should also be read and interpreted in that same spirit in which it was written, and well capture the sense of the sacred texts, you should meet with no less diligence to the content and unity of all Scripture, take into account the Tradition of the whole Church and the analogy of faith. It is up to exegetes to work hard within these guidelines to further understand and expound the meaning of Sacred Scripture, so that, by their work, in a certain way, the judgment of the Church may mature. For everything that concerns the way of interpreting Scripture, is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church, which exercises the divine mandate and ministry to keep and interpret the Word of God ”(n.12).
We must understand that the Bible is the Word of God written for men and men; therefore, it has two faces: the divine and the human. Therefore, in order to be able to interpret it well, it is necessary to recognize its human face, to later understand its divine message.
The importance of a good translation
Sacred Scripture cannot be interpreted only in the name of “mystique”, as we can often be led by pre-conceived religious ideas, or we can even fall into subjectivism. On the other hand, one may not want to use only scientific criteria (linguistics, archeology, history); it is necessary, after a scientific examination of the text, to seek the theological meaning.
The Bible is not a book fallen from heaven, it was not mechanically dictated by God and written by the biblical author (= hagiographer), but it is a book that passed through the minds of Jews and Greeks, in a time span that goes from the century. 14th century BC to 1st century AD Because of this, it is necessary to use a translation made from originals and with safe scientific criteria.
Biblical writings were inspired by certain men, that is, the Holy Spirit enlightened the hagiographer’s mind so that he, with his religious and profane culture, could transmit a message faithful to the will of God. The Bible is, therefore, a human-divine book, all of God and all of man, it transmits the Lord’s thought, but in a human way. It is like the Incarnate Word, God and true man. It is important to say that biblical inspiration is strictly religious, that is, we should not want to seek scientific truths in the Bible, but religious truths, which go beyond human reason: the plan for the salvation of the world, its creation, the meaning of man, of work, life, death etc.