In addition to seeing God as the author the books of the Bible we must also see that they had human authors.

Thursday, 3/14/13

Today’s Gospel gives us an account of Our Lord’s disputing with the professional Jewish Religious Lawyers, and like all such intricate legal disputes it has us turning the page to find something that is meant for ordinary people like us.

We might find something for ourselves in one phrase used by Jesus. He said, “Search the Scriptures.” For us that command could give rise to the question, “How are we to go about searching the Scriptures?”

Luckily, the Church has given us excellent instructions on how to go about searching the Scriptures. The Vatican Council gave the name “Dei Verbum” or “The Word of God” to it Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation.

Although, as its title insists, the Bible is the Word of God, each of its books also has a human author. The Constitution said the human authors, “made fill use of their powers and faculties . . . as true authors.”

The Constitution says that under the influence of the Holy Spirit those authors wrote what God wanted them to say. The Constitution went on to tell us that in searching out what God wanted said, the reader should, “carefully search out the meaning which the human author had in mind.”  To do this the reader must be aware of how the human author in writing followed various literary forms.” When the “literary form” employed by the human author was that of fable or poetry the one searching the Scriptures must not take the words literally, but must see how the author was using poetic licence..

In Genesis 32 Jacob struggled through the night with the other-worldly guardian of the ford at the Jabbok. The one who learned the name of the other would win. Those were standard elements of many similar fables.

In the Song of Songs the lover’s navel is described as a “round bowl that should never lack for mixed wine.” “her body as a “heap of wheat.”

People who believe they have a religious duty to take everything in the Bible as factual never break through to the beautiful message behind the fable or the poetry

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