The Nature of Holy Scripture in Roman Catholic Discussion from Vatican II to the New Catechism -- By: John D. Morrison

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 24:2 (Fall 2003)
Article: The Nature of Holy Scripture in Roman Catholic Discussion from Vatican II to the New Catechism
Author: John D. Morrison


The Nature of Holy Scripture in Roman Catholic Discussion from Vatican II to the New Catechism

John D. Morrison

John D. Morrison is Professor of Theological Studies at Liberty University and Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia.

I. Scripture in the Documents of Vatican II

Among the sixteen documents of Vatican II, Dei Verbum, “Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation,” makes a number of concise statements describing the nature of Holy Scripture. In an excellent statement in ch. 2, reflecting both Christocentricity and the multiplicity of the modes of divine disclosure, Dei Verbum states:

In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father.. .. Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God out of the abundance of his love speaks to men as friends.. .. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having an inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in this history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and fullness of all revelation.1

Herein the interrelation of the divine acts in history and the necessity of the divine words of interpretation of those acts, represented as aspects in, of, and under the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, are well presented.

But soon clarification is made. While emphasizing that, through revelation, God communicated himself and the decisions of his will for human salvation, the document asserts that “those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”2 Recalling earlier councils, the document adds that the

books of 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 itself.”3 Then, after acknowledging debates since Vatican I, it adds that, given the revelatory nature of Scripture, “everything actually asserted as true by the inspired authors must be held to be asserted by the Holy ...

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