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Church authenticates interpretation of Scripture, Pope reminds Biblical Commission

April 12, 2013

The Word of God is “the soul of theology as well as the inspiration of all Christian existence,” Pope Francis told the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission in an April 12 private audience.

In his address the Pope said that a proper approach to the interpretation of Sacred Scripture requires the faithful “to place ourselves within the great Tradition that has, with the Holy Spirit's assistance and the Magisterium's guidance.” Citing the Vatican II document Verbum Dei, he said that the Bible is a treasury of divine revelation, but not the entirety of that revelation.

The Pope explained that “the Word of God precedes the Bible and surpasses it. That is why the center of our faith isn't just a book, but a salvation history and above all a person, Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh.” The Church’s tradition hands down the truth that Jesus disclosed to his disciples, and authenticates the texts of the Bible.

Therefore, the Pope said: “The interpretation of Sacred Scriptures cannot be just an individual academic effort, but must always be compared to, inserted within, and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church.”


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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Apr. 13, 2013 4:39 PM ET USA

    "The interpretation of Sacred Scriptures cannot be just an individual academic effort..." It is wise to consider that the Catholic clergy did not always allow or practically recognize this (individual Bible study). it was something protestants fought & died for.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Apr. 12, 2013 7:41 PM ET USA

    Very good explanation from Pope Francis!