"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God...
and the Word became flesh"
(John 1:1, 14)
Scripture is the very soul of sacred theology. On the sidebar on the immediate right are three documents which will help Catholics and other Christians truly understand what the Catholic Church teaches with respect to the study and interpretation of sacred Scripture.
Excerpt Reflections from the theme Verbum Domini
"The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church."
New evangelization and a new hearing
Our own time… must be increasingly marked by a new hearing of God's word and a new evangelization. Recovering the centrality of the divine word in the Christian life leads us to appreciate anew the deepest meaning of the forceful appeal of Pope John Paul II: to pursue the missio ad gentes [mission as church] and vigorously to embark upon the new evangelization, especially in those nations where the Gospel has been forgotten or meets with indifference as a result of widespread secularism. May the Holy Spirit awaken a hunger and thirst for the word of God, and raise up zealous heralds and witnesses of the Gospel.
Following the example of the great Apostle of the Nations, who changed the course of his life after hearing the voice of the Lord (cf. Acts 9:1-30), let us too hear God's word as it speaks to us, ever personally, here and now. The Holy Spirit, we are told in the Acts of the Apostles, set Paul and Barnabas apart to proclaim and spread the Good News (cf. 13:2). In our day too, the Holy Spirit constantly calls convinced and persuasive hearers and preachers of the word of the Lord.
Encountering the word of God in sacred Scripture
Throughout the history of the Church, numerous saints have spoken of the need for knowledge of Scripture in order to grow in love for Christ. This is evident particularly in the Fathers of the Church. Saint Jerome, in his great love for the word of God, often wondered: "How could one live without the knowledge of Scripture, by which we come to know Christ himself, who is the life of believers?". He knew well that the Bible is the means "by which God speaks daily to believers". His advice to the Roman matron Leta about raising her daughter was this: "Be sure that she studies a passage of Scripture each day... Prayer should follow reading, and reading follow prayer... so that in the place of jewelry and silk, she may love the divine books". Jerome's counsel to the priest Nepotian can also be applied to us: "Read the divine Scriptures frequently; indeed, the sacred book should never be out of your hands. Learn there what you must teach". Let us follow the example of this great saint who devoted his life to the study of the Bible and who gave the Church its Latin translation, the Vulgate, as well as the example of all those saints who made an encounter with Christ the centre of their spiritual lives. Let us renew our efforts to understand deeply the word which God has given to his Church: thus we can aim for that "high standard of ordinary Christian living" proposed by Pope John Paul II at the beginning of the third Christian millennium, which finds constant nourishment in attentively hearing the word of God.
All the baptized are responsible for this proclamation
Since the entire People of God is a people which has been "sent"…. "the mission of proclaiming the word of God is the task of all of the disciples of Jesus Christ based on their Baptism". No believer in Christ can feel dispensed from this responsibility which comes from the fact of our sacramentally belonging to the Body of Christ. A consciousness of this must be revived in every family, parish, community, association and ecclesial movement. The Church, as a mystery of communion, is thus entirely missionary, and everyone, according to his or her proper state in life, is called to give an incisive contribution to the proclamation of Christ.