The unique word of Sacred Scripture

Cathal Barry takes a look at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about the Scriptures

God speaks to humanity in human words in order to reveal himself to them, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

It cites the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum, as its source, which notes: ìFor the words of God, expressed in human language, have been made like human discourse, just as the word of the eternal Father, when He took to Himself the flesh of human weakness, was in every way made like men.î

Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word in which he expresses himself completely:

ìThe Son is the radiance of Godís glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.î (Hebrews 1:3)

For this reason, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lordís Body, the Catechism notes. ìShe never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of Godís Word and Christís Body,î it says.

In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, but as the word of God.

The Church teaches that God is the author of Sacred Scripture. As Dei Verbum notes, ìdivinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spiritî.

ìFor holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.î

God inspired the human authors of the sacred books, the Catechism says. As Dei Verbum puts it: ìIn composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him, they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted.î

The Catechism also states that the inspired books ìteach the truthî. However, it warns the Christian faith is not a ìreligion of the bookî. It is, rather, a religion of the Word of God.

ìIf the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, ëopen (our) minds to understand the Scripturesí (Luke 24:25),î the Catechism says.