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Chapter 3. Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature • 27

human authors, acting in and through them. Thus, God ensured that the

authors taught, without error, those truths necessary for our salvation.


is the word used for the divine assistance given to the human

authors of the books of Sacred Scripture. This means that guided by the

Holy Spirit, the human authors made full use of their talents and abili-

ties while, at the same time, writing what God intended. There are many

in modern society who find incredible the belief that Scripture contains

the inspired word of God and so reject the Bible as a collection of stories

and myths. There are others who profess belief in the Triune God and

are even identified as “Scripture scholars”who work to “demythologize”

the Scriptures, that is, they remove or explain away the miraculous as

well as references to God’s revealing words and actions. It is important

to understand in the face of such challenges to Scripture that it is not

simply the work of human authors as some critics allege, but truly the

Word and work of God.


When interpreting Scripture, we should be attentive to what God wanted

to reveal through the authors for our salvation. We need to see Scripture

as a unified whole with Jesus Christ at the center. We must also read

Scripture within the living Tradition of the whole Church, so that we may

come to grasp a true interpretation of the Scriptures. The task of giving

an authoritative interpretation of the Word of God has been entrusted to

the Magisterium. Last, we need to remember and recognize that there is a

coherence of the truths of faith within Scripture (cf. CCC, nos. 112-114).

The Church recognizes two senses of Scripture, the literal and the

spiritual. In probing the literal meaning of the texts, it is necessary to

determine their literary form, such as history, hymns, wisdom sayings,

poetry, parable, or other forms of figurative language. “The

literal sense

is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by

exegesis [the process scholars use to determine the meaning of the text],

following the rules of sound interpretation: ‘All other senses of Sacred

Scripture are based on the literal’” (CCC, no. 116, citing St. Thomas


Summa Theologiae

I, 1, 10).