VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Interpreting the Bible as a collection of mere human words causes the treasure contained in Scripture to be lost, Benedict XVI says.
The Pope affirmed this in a message dated Monday and sent to the president of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, Cardinal William Levada. The message was for the commission’s plenary assembly, which for a third time was focused on the theme “Inspiration and Truth of the Bible.”
The Holy Father noted that this theme was one of the main points in his postsynodal apostolic exhortation “Verbum Domini.”
Citing that document, he added that “an interpretation of the sacred writings that neglects or forgets their inspiration does not take into account their most important and valuable characteristic, their provenance from God.”
“Such an interpretation does not allow one to access the Word of God, and loses, therefore, the inestimable treasure that sacred Scripture contains for us,” he said.
Though the words might have “extraordinary depth and beauty,” the Holy Father noted, it is the discussion on inspiration that speaks to the “profound nature and decisive and distinctive meaning of sacred Scripture, namely, its quality as Word of God.”
The theme of inspiration is related to that of truth, the Pontiff clarified, since a “deeper study of the process of inspiration will doubtless lead to a greater understanding of the truth contained in the sacred books.”
He said that a commitment to “discover ever more the truth of the Sacred Books is equivalent therefore to seeking to know God more and more, and the mystery of his salvific will.”
Finally, the Pope cautioned against taking words or phrases of Scripture out of context.
“The context in which it is possible to perceive holy Scripture as the Word of God,” he said, “is that of the unity of the history of God, in a totality in which individual elements are mutually illumined and opened to understanding.”
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