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For example it was St. Matthew, inspired by the Holy Spirit, who claimed Isaiah's prophecy in was intended for Jesus of Nazareth in Matthew : Now all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: "Look! The virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Immanuel", a name which means God-is-with-us'.

Then too, in St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians he expanded our understanding of the Exodus miracle at the Red Sea as a promise of Christian baptism and expanded our understanding of the life giving power of the Eucharist when he identified Jesus as the miraculous Rock in the wilderness who gave life giving water to the children of Israel on their journey when he wrote: I want you to be quite certain, brothers, that our ancestors all had the cloud over them and all passes through the sea.

In the cloud and in the sea they were all baptized into Moses; all ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink, since they drank from the spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock was Christ [ 1 Corinthians ]. Paul taught that the events that occurred in Sacred Scripture were meant to be an example for us in our walk of faith and to expand our understanding of the revelation of Jesus Christ when he added, Now all these things happened to them by way of example, and they were described in writing to be a lesson for us, to whom it has fallen to live in the Last Days of the ages [ 1 Corinthians ].

Through the expanded and unfolding meaning of the plenary sense of Scripture, God the divine author of Sacred Scripture can introduce a certain part of the truth of divine revelation at a point in salvation history only to reveal that truth more fully at a date perhaps centuries later and through another inspired writer, thereby illuminating the earlier truth in greater depth and detail. According to the interpretation of Sacred Scripture given by the Catholic Church to certain passages of the Old Testament, the plenary sense of Scripture must be a teaching consistent with and grounded in the revelation of God's plan as revealed in Sacred Scripture itself and must be consistent with the unaltered doctrine of the Church as given to her by her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, citation s 53 ; 69 ; ; Symbols are frequently used in Scripture: These symbols are far richer in meaning than any combination of words could describe them and are not necessarily meant to be interpreted as literal events, or actions, or even numbers.

CCC : Typology indicates the dynamic movement toward the fulfillment of the divine plan when "God [will] be everything to everyone. The writers of Sacred Scripture sometimes use hyperbole to make a point. In such cases the passage is not to be understood literally but figuratively: Isaiah "As the days of a tree shall be the days of my people"; this use of hyperbole expresses great age.

Amos "Yet destroyed I the Amorite whose height was like the height of the cedars"; expresses very tall. The Use of Irony in Scripture. Look for the use of irony in Scripture, which is meant to compare and contrast people and events. For example in John , the Roman governor Pontius Pilate pronounced his judgment on Jesus of Nazareth, the man the Jews have brought to him for execution: I find no case against him. In Jesus' public trial, this pagan Roman has judged Jesus to be without fault. Pilate judged Jesus and three times, using the same words, found Him innocent of the charges leveled against Him John ; , 7.

The irony is that any animal offered to Yahweh in sacrifice had to be judged as perfect and without flaw. Caiaphas, the High Priest, had chosen Jesus as the sacrificial victim John , proclaiming that Jesus must die three times John , 52 ; , but ironically Pilate, a heathen Gentile, has three times judged the intended sacrifice as without fault! Numbers are sometimes literal representations of items, days, or events, but more often a number has greater symbolic meaning beyond its literal numerical value.

The number 7, for example, is used repeatedly in the Book of Revelation. Please refer to the " List of Sevens in Revelation " in the Chart section.

Is there any connection between the tree mentioned in Jeremiah 10 and the Christmas tree?

This document will help you understand the important role numerical symbolism plays in the Bible. It is also useful to know that in Biblical times people did not count sequences as we count today. They did not have the concept of 0 as a place value; therefore, any sequence of numbers started count from the first number in the sequence and ended with the last. For example: We know that Jesus was in the tomb for 3 days. However, that is not 3 days as we count.

He was crucified on a Friday, remained in the tomb on Saturday, and was resurrected Sunday morning. We would count from Friday to Saturday as the first day and Saturday to Sunday as the second. The way we count, Jesus only spent 2 days in the tomb. Ancient peoples would begin the count with Friday and end with Sunday, which would yield, for them, 3 days. This time frame for the length of time in the tomb is also an example of the symbolic significance of the number 3.

In the Old Testament, 3 represented completion, that which is solid or substantial and entire. It was one of the four so-called "perfect" numbers 3, 7, 10, and 12 , but in the New Testament we also understand that 3 represents the Mystery of the Trinity. Taking into account the significance of numbers in Scripture one can see that the way the ancients looked at numbers and their greater significance is important in the expanded understanding of the event of the 3 days Jesus was in the tomb before His Resurrection.

In that first post-resurrection visitation the Apostle St. Thomas was not present John In John the literal Greek text reads: Eight okto days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in the house again and stood among them. It has always been the teaching of the Church that this second appearance occurred exactly one week later on the next Sunday.

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It is eight days later as the ancients count, not as we count the sequence of days today. This understanding of how the ancients counted is important in understanding such passages St.

John's statement in John that it was Six days before the Passover Counting up the days as the ancients counted the next day was Palm Sunday gives Thursday as the day of the Passover sacrifice, which is completely in agreement with the time of the Passover sacrifice as stated in Synoptic Gospels. Remain faithful to the system of doctrine taught in the sacred texts of the Bible which must be studied in the living Tradition of the Catholic Church CCC It is necessary that the study of Sacred Scripture be done in union with a study of the Sacred Tradition within the context of the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

The special place that the Church holds for Sacred Scripture in Christian theology is not compatible with the false doctrine of sola Scriptura , "Scripture alone. Instructing the Christians of Thessalonica St. Paul wrote: Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. And in the same letter he wrote: In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we urge you brothers, to keep away from any of the brothers who lives an undisciplined life, not in accordance with the tradition you received from us 2 Thessalonians ; ; also see 1 Corinthians God's written word is supported by and grew out of Catholic Oral Tradition.

The interpretation of Biblical passages must compliment and conform to Catholic doctrine as passed on to us orally from Jesus to the Apostles, to their disciples the first Bishops of the Church and down through the past 2, years to the Magisterium of the Universal Church Acts ; John He cites the writings of Church Fathers as the specific aspect of Tradition in Scripture study. If an interpretation contradicts the sacred Tradition of doctrine passed down through the ages as taught by the Church, then that interpretation is in error.

This union between Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the teaching authority of the Church is called "the three-legged stool principle" in that one cannot stand without the other two: It is clear, therefore, that Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God's most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls Vatican II, Dei Verbum The Bible is one whole and complete book which contains the word of God written down by His Holy Spirit inspired writers in order to reveal God's comprehensive plan for the salvation of humanity.

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Be aware that symbols in the Bible are not isolated but are part of a system of symbolism that fit together; for example, the Book of Revelation cannot be interpreted without an understanding of the symbolism and visions in the books of the Prophets Ezekiel and Daniel. Therefore, in order to be correctly interpreted, the Old Testament must be read in the light of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ our crucified and resurrected Lord CCC ; Be mindful that the interpretation of Sacred Scripture is not the prerogative of every individual Christian.

The universal Catechism states: The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him CCC This is a teaching affirmed by St. Peter in 2 Peter : At the same time, we must recognize that the interpretation of Scriptural prophecy is never a matter for the individual.

For no prophecy ever came from human initiative. When people spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit that moved them. By "prophecy" Peter does not mean foretelling future events; he is referring to those people who were divinely inspired to write down the words of God "all the words of God are prophecy.

The Holy Bible - Obadiah Chapter 1 (King James Version)

Jesus gave sole authority to the Church which He established as the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, and this authority includes the interpretation of the words of God written down for our instruction Matthew ; ; John Finally, try to read your Bible daily. It is a good practice to begin each day with the Biblical passages of the daily readings of the Mass.

When you attend Mass pay close attention to the Biblical passages and try to follow the advice of the great 4 th century Archbishop of Constantinople. John Chrysostom's advice to Christians: "I want to ask one favor of all of you before I turn to the words of the Gospel. Do not refuse my request, for I ask nothing difficult or burdensome of you; nor do I ask that which, if granted, will be advantageous to me alone who receive. Rather, it will be advantageous to you also, who grant it, and perhaps even more so to you than to me. What then do I ask of you?

That each of you take in hand that part of the Gospels which is to be read in your presence on the first day of the week or even on the Sabbath; and before that day comes, sit down at home and read it through; consider often and carefully its content, and examine all its parts well, noting what is clear, what is confusing, what seems to assist the position of the adversaries but really does not.

And, in a word, when you have sounded every point, then go to hear it read. From such zeal as this there will be no small benefit both to you and to me. John Chrysostom [c. Permissions All Rights Reserved. The Literal versus the Literalist Interpretation of Scripture The "literal" interpretation of any text is the meaning the writer intends to convey to the reader and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words Dei Verbum, The Literal and Spiritual Sense of Scripture In Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's famous Erasmus lecture of January 27, he shared his conclusions concerning the interpretation, the careful exegesis, of Sacred Scripture.

The literal sense of Scripture: Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that the literal sense has primacy over the other senses of Scripture: All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal Summa Theologiae I, 1, 10, ad 1. One always starts with the literal sense of Scripture by looking at the words of the text and discerning the meaning the inspired writer meant to convey in the teaching or story. The Catechism defines the literal sense as: the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation CCC Exegesis is one of the technical terms applied to the study of Sacred Scripture.

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