Ch. 30 - How to Read the Bible
We wrap up the Understanding the Scriptures Bible course by learning how to read and interpret Scripture faithfully. We do this by examining paragraphs 109 through 119 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. First, we must determine the literal sense of the passage at hand by taking into account (1) the conditions of their time and culture, (2) the literary genres in use at that time, and (3) the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating then current. Inseparable from and built upon the literal sense of Scripture, there are three additional spiritual senses that we may draw from the sacred page: (1) the allegorical, (2) the moral, and (3) the anagogical.
Due to the fact that Sacred Scripture is not a purely natural creation of man and is inspired by the Holy Spirit, there are three criteria that the Church provide us with to interpret the Bible. First, we must be attentive to the content and unity of the whole Scripture. This is necessary because of God's plan borne out in Salvation History. This unifying plan unites the different passages and books of Scripture. Second, we must read the Scripture within the living Tradition of the whole Church... because Scripture was written in the heart of God's covenant family, the Church, which lives and moves through time, ever retaining the Apostolic Tradition in her memory. Finally, we must be attentive to the analogy of faith, which is the coherence of the truths of divine revelation. God does not reveal mutually contradictory truths. This final criterion is taken from a piece of advice relayed by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans 12:6.