From ZENIT: God Speaks Through Scripture, Says Pontiff. Notes Importance of Personal Contact With Bible


[size=]God Speaks Through Scripture, Says Pontiff

Notes Importance of Personal Contact With Bible

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 7, 2007 ( Sacred Scripture isn’t merely a text written in the past, but rather the word of God that has within it a personal message directed to each individual Christian, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today to 40,000 people who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square to participate in the general audience, which he dedicated to the biblical exegete St. Jerome (347-419/420).

The Holy Father said that the Bible was at the center of Jerome’s life. The biblical scholar translated what is considered the official text of the Bible in Latin, known as the Vulgate.

The Pontiff recounted that Jerome lived for a time as a hermit in the desert, where he dedicated himself to serious study of, among other things, Greek and Hebrew. “The meditation, the solitude, the contact with the word of God matured his Christian sensibility,” he said.

It was later in Rome, however, at the suggestion of Pope Damasus I, that the scholar undertook a new Latin translation of the Bible, basing himself on the original texts of the sacred texts in Greek and Hebrew.

Benedict XVI said of the biblical exegete: “His literary preparation and vast erudition allowed Jerome to revise and translate many Biblical texts: an invaluable service for the Latin Church and for Western culture.”

Reflecting on what the Church of today can learn from Jerome, the Pope said, "Above all I think it is this: to love the word of God in sacred Scripture. St. Jerome said, ‘To ignore Scripture is to ignore Christ.’

“That is why it is important that every Christian live in contact and in personal dialogue with the word of God, given to us in sacred Scripture.”

Benedict XVI said this dialogue should have a personal and a communal dimension: “It should be truly personal, because God speaks to each of us through sacred Scripture and has a message for each of us. We shouldn’t read sacred Scripture as a word from the past, but rather as the word of God addressed even to us, and we must try to understand what the Lord is telling us.”

He added: "We must also keep in mind that the word of God is given to us in order to build communion, to unite us in the truth along our way to God.

“Therefore, despite the fact that it is always a personal word, it is also a word that builds community, and that builds the Church itself. Therefore, we should read it in communion with the living Church.”

The Pope pointed out that “the privileged place for reading and listening to the word of God is in the liturgy. By celebrating the word and rendering the Body of Christ present in the sacrament, we bring the word into our life and make it alive and present among us.”

“We should never forget that the word of God transcends time,” said the Holy Father. “Human opinions come and go; what is very modern today will be old tomorrow. But the word of God is the word of eternal life, it carries within itself eternity, which is always valuable. Carrying within ourselves the word of God, we also carry eternal life.”

Quoting Jerome, the Pontiff concluded, "Let us seek to learn on earth those truths which will remain ever valid in heaven."I really like this. I think this points up what we say all the time about the Word of God. :thumbsup:


This is a great quote from the Holy Father about the Scriptures. I’m going to save this one. :thumbsup:


##** It’s very sad that almost no one has responded :frowning: - but kudos to CM for the link :slight_smile: :thumbsup: **


Well I read it and like it. Proving once again that Catholics read and are devoted to the Sacred Scriptures.


I really like B-16. Nice quote, thank you for posting it, CM.

Should we get into an amiable but spirited debate on how he nuances personal versus corporate interpretation of Scripture? This statement would seem “too Protestant” for some of CAF’s resident ecclesiologists.


An attack on Jerome? (somewhat unexplored territory)


Go after

rendering the Body of Christ present in the sacrament

which argument has been taken with mind-numbing frequency?

Or should this just be a warm and fuzzy apologetics thread?


As I understand it, the Church does leave plenty of leg room for personal interpretation about issues that are non-essential.


This is great! Thank you CM for posting it :thumbsup:

God bless


I don’t understand why some issues are deemed essential, in particular the immaculate conception, the assumption and papal infallibility. Whether these things are true or not is a separate issue from insisting that they believed in order to be saved. What makes an issue essential?

 I am only going to offer my best guess.  I believe that whatever the Church professes to be a doctrine is essential for belief and she defines a doctrine most often when a truth that is questioned or denied.  So whatever the Church teaches is essential and everything else is open to interpretation until a false claim is made.  Once an idea is espoused that is not in line with the deposit of faith that was handed down from the Apostles, then it is rejected and a doctrine is defined which is then binding.
 That is how all the doctrines that I can think came about.


If it’s revealed by God. Dogmatic definitions by the Church do not make something revealed by God, but rather confirm that fact. Refusing to believe something revealed by God is a sin against faith as it raises human wisdom above divine wisdom. Obviously, if one in good faith does not believe something they should, but they desire to believe all God has revealed, they are not culpable.


Well said Genesis. That is a far more positive way to put it.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit