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DEI VERBUM SUMMARY BY

DEACON HEANEY

Through out, Dei Verbum states it very clearly that the Bible is the word of God and is intended for the people, all of the people, in all times and in all places. It only makes sense, that if God is speaking to people; he needs to speak in a human fashion. Other wise, the intended reader could never read the word of God.

In order, to accomplish that objective, God worked through human authors. The human authors did not know in most cases, that their writings would become part of something called the Bible and be so widely distributed and used. Instead, they wrote with much more modest objective. They were writing to a particular group, in particular time, in a particular place, in a particular setting, in a particular language for a particular objective.with their particular background and with a particular style to meet all objectives. In some cases, their message was a verbal message and only written down many years later.

As a result, they wrote in various literary forms, languages, they use the historical settings that they found themselves in and using the references, and social conventions of their particular day for only that way would they be able to deliver the Lord’s message and to have it understood and accepted by the group that they were writing for. The texts took on various forms such as historical, prophetic, poetic or other forms of discourse. The writer was using the then contemporary literary forms.

But all these variations of literary forms and historical and cultural settings present a problem to us in our historical and cultural settings. Dei Verbum is making it clear that the interpreter must investigate what meaning the sacred writer intended to express and then express in terms of his contemporary literary culture of his own time.

Dei Verbum makes it very clear, that in order to obtain a correct understanding of what the sacred author wanted to assert, due attention must be paid to the customary and characteristic styles of feeling, speaking and narrating which prevailed at the time of the sacred writer, and to the patterns normally employed at that period in their everyday dealings with one another.

In other words, one must put themselves in the shoes of writer, and try to understand that given particular time, place, historical and cultural setting, what was the writer saying. The message did not change just the setting. And It is the message that is important. So Dei Verbum is making very clear that to obtain that understanding, one must take the effort to understand the background and objective of the author. For only in that way, can the reader understand the message being converged. But one must do it with the guidance of the teaching authority of the church and with prayers for that it is the only possible way of really under the message of the sacred writer.

Since Holy Scripture must be read and interpreted in the same spirit in which it was written, attention must be given to content and unity of the whole of Scripture. The living tradition of the whole Church must also be taken into account. Any one reading of the Bible is part of a continuous flow with a part to play to bring the total picture into focus. The real meaning can be learned only in content of the whole. That whole consists of all the books of the Bible along with Tradition as pass on as part of the teaching authority of the Church.

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