Pope Benedict on the Bible: ‘Human words express the word of God.’

“It is possible to perceive the sacred Scriptures as the word of God” only by looking at the Bible as a whole, “a totality in which the individual elements enlighten each other and open the way to understanding,” the Pope wrote in a message to the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

“It is not possible to apply the criterion of inspiration or of absolute truth in a mechanical way, extrapolating a single phrase or expression,” the Pope wrote in the message released May 5 at the Vatican.

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Editor’s note: This does not mean that certain Bible passages cannot correctly transmit specific portions of God’s truth, in themselves. But in fact, such practice is often subject to substantial misinterpretation, especially by non-Catholics.

An example of a comparatively safe passage:

John 3:12-17  If I have spoken to you earthly things, and you believe not: how will you believe, if I shall speak to you heavenly things? And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world: but that the world may be saved by him.

The constant Tradition of the Catholic Church provides the only proper context for “looking at the Bible as a whole.”

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