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BEGINNING BIBLE WORKSHOP Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path. Psalms 119: 105 PART III Reading, Interpreting, Understanding the Bible
Hermeneutics: Understanding the Bible In all human communication, the receiver must create meaning from the symbols (the message) used by the communicator. Meaning 1 SENDER affected by gender, language, context, age, experience, culture, etc. RECEIVER MESSAGE spoken/written words to reflect meaning 2 affected by gender, language, context, age, experience, culture, etc. hears/reads words reflecting meaning All Christians must discover the meaning intended by the author(s) of the books of the Bible to understand what God is revealing. The process of discovering meaning from the Bible is called hermeneutics. All Christians recognize that how we approach the Bible determines often what we take from it. How do we approach the Bible?
Hermeneutics (from the Greek word hermeneia which means speech or interpretation) is used to cover a broad scope in the process of understanding. It refers to interpretation by speech itself, as language interprets the mind; the process of translation from an unintelligible language to an intelligible one (cf. 1 Corinthians 12: 10); interpretation by commentary and explanation. One begins understanding the Bible by first reading the Bible. Catholic Christians have often been accused of not being allowed to read the Bible on their own. This could not be further from the truth. When, in history, Catholics were forbidden to read the Bible it was a particular translation which usually was unauthorized and highly illiterate in its fidelity to original sources. In other words, unauthorized versions were often just simply bad translations.
ISSUES IN HERMENEUTICS Contradictions in the Bible Define terms: A contradiction is a statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous. 1. the act of contradicting; gainsaying or opposition. 2. assertion of the contrary or opposite; denial. 3. a statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous. 4. direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency. 5. a contradictory act, fact, etc. Biblical authorship: The Bible has many different human authors. Some books of the Bible do not indicate in any way who wrote them. Other books bear the names of persons to whom authorship is ascribed. In some cases it is perfectly clear that the indicated author is in fact the person who actually wrote the book with his own hands.
In other cases it is as clear that the author of the book had another person do the actual writing of his work in the manner of a secretary. In still other cases it is the Church, and not seldom the opinion of biblical scholars, that the indicated author of a given book of the Bible is not the person (or persons) who wrote it, but the person who originally inspired its writing, whose name is then attached to it as its author. In a number of instances the Church is not clear about the authorship of certain books of the Bible. Because the entire Bible is inspired by God Who is its one original author, the Church considers the identity of the human authors as incidental to the correct interpretation and proper significance of the books of the Bible for the believing community. In no case would the Church admit that the identity of the author determines the authenticity or validity of a book which is viewed as part of the Bible, and under no circumstances would it be admitted that the value or the proper understanding and use of any book of the Bible in the Church depends on the human writer alone.
Handling Apparent Contradictions There is a list of 143 purported Bible contradictions: http: //www. bringyou. to/apologetics/bible. htm Out of Context Error: Context 1 - The whole book, the letter, the Gospel Context 2 - The Bible as a whole The One Genre Error Taking everything literally; words mean Wrong genre; e. g. , literal for poetry, etc. The Function of Interpretation The context of belief of one’s own, e. g. , denominational teachings Intricacies of Biblical Translation Ancient languages to modern languages; Dead language to a living language Words Meaning vs People Meaning Literalist vs literal sense
Twenty-first Century Mentality/Expectation of Authorship/Writing God Revealing Not all at once, e. g. , resurrection of the dead, monogamous marriage, divorce, etc. Before the Ten Commandments vs. after the Ten Commandments Old Testament vs. New Testament not to destroy but to fulfill
Some Examples of Apparent Contradictions in the Bible Freedom of divorce permitted Deuteronomy 24: 1 When a man, after marrying a woman and having relations with her, is later displeased with her because he finds in her something indecent, and therefore he writes out a bill of divorce and hands it to her, thus dismissing her from his house: Deuteronomy 21: 10, 11 When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. Divorce restricted Yes, Jesus issues a new commandment and even explains the permission 1500 years earlier. He now issues a higher calling. Matthew 5: 32 But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
God's attributes are revealed in his works Romans 1: 20 Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. God's attributes cannot be discovered Job 11: 7 Can you penetrate the designs of God? Dare you vie with the perfection of the Almighty? Isaiah 40: 28 Do you not know or have you not heard? The LORD is the eternal God, creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint nor grow weary, and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny Romans 1: 20 simply notes that Creation points to the Creator - a divine being of great power. Job 11: 7 points out that we can never fully grasp the divine, it does NOT say that God cannot be inferred from nature. Is 40: 28 notes that we can never hope to fully scrutinize the understanding of God. None of this is contradictory.
EA LS GOD ORAL TRADITION RE V REVELATION WR ITES WRITTEN TRADITION BELIEVERS MAGISTERIUM Teaching Authority MT 16/18 Florence 1414; Trent 1545 -1563
It is often said Catholics cannot interpret the Bible on their own. The Papal Encyclical, Divino Afflante Spiritus, of Pope Pius XII in 1943 attempted to counteract this error by stating that there are but few texts whose understanding has been determined by the teaching authority of the Church; and Catholics do indeed have freedom to interpret the Scriptures. The Catholic Church has been solicitous over the way in which the Bible is interpreted. Experience teaches us that it is easy to find even contradictory meanings from the same Scripture with an unbridled approach to reading and interpreting the Bible.
The Catholic Church teaches that the first principle of hermeneutics is the literal meaning of the text. Spiritus Paraclitus (Benedict XV, September 15, 1920) “As Jerome insisted, all biblical interpretation rests upon the literal sense. . . “ Divino Afflante Spiritus (Pius XII, September 30, 1943) “. . . discern and define that sense of the biblical words which is called literal. . . so that the mind of the author may be made clear. . the exegete must be principally concerned with the literal sense of the Scriptures. ” 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
SENSES USED FOR INTERPRETING SCRIPTURE Literal Sense CCC 116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal. ” St. Thomas 1, q 1, a 10. Therefore that first signification whereby words signify things belongs to the first sense, the historical or literal. The first sense then for understanding the Bible is the literal sense. The literal sense of Scripture is the meaning which the human author directly intended and the author's words convey.
Criteria to understand the literal sense: The literary form/genre that the author used is the first aid in determining what the author meant. If the author wrote poetry instead of history, then the literary form of poetry assists in determining the meaning intended by the author. Some other literary forms of the Bible include history, law, songs, love stories, stories (parables), etc. The literary history of the biblical book or of the section of the Bible that contains the book also aids in determining the meaning intended by the author. Literary history of a book includes what is known about the author, his background, historical period of Israel's history, etc. In brief: who is the author, what is his background, what was the date of writing, what was the historical period of Israel’s history, what was the cultural and social environment of the period, what language was it written and its limitations, what was the author’s intent, who was the audience to whom the author wrote, etc.
An example of the Church using the literal sense of a scripture passage in order to understand what meaning we should get from it is the 6 th chapter of the Gospel according to John. Literary Form/Genre of John 6: 25 -69: Most scripture scholars today affirm that John's gospel, written at the end of the first century, is historical narrative in nature. Hence we believe that John strove to preserve both the words and actions of Jesus. Unlike the Synoptics, John wrote through the eyes of the faith of the late Apostolic Church in light of the way that faith translated into practice and worship. Where John is clearly biographical, the literal meaning is emphasized by linguistic psychology--multiple repetition of the message in different words. Where literalness is intended, intended meaning is reinforced by recording the reaction to literal meaning by the hearers without the speaker's correction.
Literary History of John 6: 25 -69: The evangelist John was an eyewitness to the life and teachings of Jesus. He was an apostle, one of the Twelve. He was also the last of the Apostles to write and to die. He refers to himself as the "disciple whom Jesus loved. “ Passage background: Following the details of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes-biographical, Jesus walking on the sea--biographical, Jesus reacts to the crowds' need for signs. Jesus takes them from manna, bread from heaven, to "true bread from heaven (v. 32)". . . "I am the bread (v. 35). " "I am the bread that came down from heaven (v. 41). " This is God saying this: "I am the bread that came down from heaven. " If He was not really the bread that came down from heaven, His omnipotent and creative Word would then have made it so.
Five times in different verbal expressions, Jesus confirmed the reality of the meaning he intended. What more could Jesus say? John 6: 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. John 6: 53 Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. “ John 6: 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. John 6: 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. John 6: 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
The best way a person can make a clear literal point is repetition of the same message in different ways. Jesus did this. Those around him clearly understood what he was saying--cannibalism and the drinking of blood-both forbidden by Mosaic Law. John 6: 60, 66 Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it? ". . . As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Had these disciples mistaken the meaning of Jesus' words, Jesus, knowing their thoughts and their error, would surely have known and corrected them. He didn't. They had clearly understood his meaning-Jesus' flesh was to be really eaten; his blood to be really drunk.
The Jerusalem Catecheses (Cat. 22, Mystagogica, 4, 1) written by St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Bishop of Jerusalem and Doctor of the Church, born about 315; died c. 18 March, 386) “Once, when speaking to the Jews, Christ said: ‘Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you shall have no life in you. ’ This horrified them and they left him. Not understanding his words in a spiritual way, they thought the Savior wished them to practice cannibalism. ”
What if you mistook the literary form or genre in trying to understand interpret a passage of scripture? Obviously, you have violated the first criterion on understanding scripture. . . Secondly, you will know it. In your Bibles find the Song of Songs. It is a Wisdom book, placed between the book of Ecclesiastes and the book of Wisdom. Look at chapters 4: 1 -5, 11 and 7: 3, 5 b It is a love song; It falls in the category of Hebrew poetry; It is very passionate, erotic even; It’s authorship is ascribed to King Solomon; The dates of King Solomon are c. 970 to 931 BC or for 39 years; he writes of his love for Israel; It might be a Hallmark greeting card today;
The Song of Solomon Illustrated Chapters 4 and 7 How beautiful you are, my darling. How beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves behind your veil; Your hair is like a flock of goats; Your teeth are like a flock of newly shorn ewes; Your lips are like scarlet thread; Your temples are like a slice of pomegranate; Your neck is like the Tower of David…built with rows of stones on which are hung a thousand shields. . . Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle which feeds among the lilies; Your lips, my bride, drip honey and mild under your tongue; And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. . . Your navel is a round goblet … Your belly is like a heap of wheat … Your nose is like the Tower of Lebanon faces toward Damascus. . .
Fuller Sense But the Bible has God, a divine author, besides the human author. The Church teaches that there exists a more-than-literal meaning for understanding the Bible: a fuller sense. The fuller sense is the deeper meaning intended by God as divine author. The fuller sense of Scripture, since it is the meaning intended by God, may not have been clearly known and intended by the human author. Criteria to establish the fuller sense: Because the Catholic Church holds that there are two revealing authorities of Divine Revelation, the Bible and the Holy Spirit, the fuller sense of the Bible can be found in the authoritative interpretation of those revealing authorities. Some of these authorities are the New Testament itself, the Fathers of the Church, the Church in Council (cf. Acts 15 model), the "faithful people" faithful to what was handed down to them, etc. The Spirit of Truth is entrusted to faithful people as an authority in the Church.
The fuller sense of any Scripture text has to be in agreement with the literal sense of the words. This fuller sense must be a consequential development of what the human author of the text intended to say. An example of the fuller sense in the interpretation of Scripture is found by looking at the New Testament. In the Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 1, verse 23, Matthew says that the conception of Jesus by Mary was a virginal conception and took place so that the words of the prophet Isaiah (7: 14) might be fulfilled. Isaiah gives no evidence that the prophet had Jesus' conception in the womb of Mary in mind. Isaiah does not speak of a virgin in the strict sense--merely an unmarried woman. Isaiah is not clear that he is even speaking to a distant future conception. The whole meaning of Isaiah's chapter appears to imply that the birth he prophesies will take place about 735 B. C. during the reign of King Ahaz the father of the future King Hezekiah.
The words of Isaiah may have literally meant the conception of the future King Hezekiah. At the time of Isaiah's words in chapter 7, the mother of the future King Hezekiah would have been unmarried. Matthew, on the other hand, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, creates an interpretation of Isaiah which is definitely not literal. Matthew clearly interprets Isaiah in a fuller sense: the unmarried woman is the virgin Mary, and God-with-us is Jesus.
Typical Sense Following the lead of Paul himself (Romans 5: 14) there is another way for creating meaning in the Bible: the typical sense. The typical sense of Bible texts is the deeper meaning that some elements (persons, places, things and events) of the Bible have because God, the divine author of the Bible, intended that these elements foreshadow/shadow further things. Criteria to understanding the typical sense: The typical sense of the Bible is created by continuing revelation or growth in the understanding the Word of God. Extra-biblical growth in understanding the Word of God is evidenced in the growth and development of the understanding of the Trinity, the Incarnation, etc.
Types--the typical sense--are discovered in the New Testament, or in the agreement among "faithful people“ faithful to what was handed down to them--the Fathers of the Church, in worship-- the liturgy--and its development through the ages, in the documents of the Church, etc. The Catholic Church believes that the Holy Spirit is a revealing authority in the Church and reveals Himself to "faithful people“ in all ages. The other criterion for discovering the typical meaning of Scripture is understanding that any type found in the text of the Bible has to be related to the anti-type (e. g. , Christ to Adam). This confirms that God planned the relationship of the type to the anti-type.
An example of the typical meaning in the Bible is in Paul's writings. Paul appears to delight in establishing types between the New Testament and the Old Testament. In 1 Corinthians 10: 6 Paul typifies those events which occurred to the Israelites in the desert of Sinai throughout the Exodus to those things that happen to Christians. Another example of a type--the typical meaning in the Bible--is the bronze serpent raised by Moses in the desert. The evangelist John presents raising the bronze serpent as a type of Christ crucified (3: 14).
Interpreting Genesis Literary Form/Genre of Genesis Pope Pius XII in his encyclical letter Humani Generis addressed the first 11 chapters of Genesis: “The. . . simple and metaphorical language adapted to the mentality of a people, but little cultured, both state the principal truths which are fundamental for our salvation, and also give a popular description of the origin of the human race and the chosen people. If, however, the ancient sacred writers have taken anything from popular narrations (and this may be conceded), it must never be forgotten that they did so with the help of divine inspiration, through which they were rendered immune from any error in selecting and evaluating those documents. "
Genesis (especially chs. 1 - 11) utilizes a special literary form. The term popular narrations suggests that we are dealing with a tradition among the Hebraic people or with a primitive history. A preferred a term is primitive history. These chapters record history as the nature of historical recording was understood by early Hebraic authors. Actually, it contains pre-history, pre-history as it was understood by early Hebraic authors. Pope Pius’ use of the expression "simple and metaphorical language adapted to the mentality of a people but little cultured" tells us that we should not demand from this primitive pre-history the results that can only be achieved through the employment of modern scientific methods and should not fault our writer for failing to provide us with a text worthy of publication in contemporary journals of archaeology and paleontology. In short, we must not bring foreign assumptions to the text, and the most foreign assumption we could bring would be that in these chapters God was writing a laboratory or scientific report. God is not telling us HOW He created, but revealing the fact THAT He created.
What was God doing? He was stating the "principal truths fundamental for our salvation". In short, although there is simple and metaphorical language employed in these chapters, these chapters still contain truths. Consequently, it is absolutely contrary to the Catholic faith to hold that these chapters propose nothing but myth, where the term myth is taken to be synonymous with "false", "imaginary tale", or any other expression which implies that these Hebraic narrations have no foundation in reality. These chapters contain a popular narration, a primitive pre-history, stories about the origin of man and the world, but the stories are adequate to those historical facts fundamental to our salvation.
Literary History of Genesis Who is the author? Both the Old and New Testaments call Moses the author of the Pentateuch (Joshua 8: 31; 1 Kings 2: 3; Daniel 9: 11; Mark 12: 26; Luke 20: 28; John 5: 46 -47; 7: 19; Acts 3: 22; Romans 10: 5). Even the Pentateuch itself declares Moses to be its author (Exodus 17: 14; 24: 4; 34: 27; Numbers 33: 1 -2; Deuteronomy 31: 9). Moses c. 1355 - 1235 BC Ramses II 1303 -1237 BC
On the Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch June 27, 1906 (ASS 39 [1906 -07] 377 f; EB 174 ff; Dz 1997 ff) Pontifical Biblical Commission Denied that these books are not of Mosaic authorship but were put together from sources mostly of post-Mosaic date; Denied that each and every word was written by Moses' own hand or was by him dictated to secretaries; Affirmed that Moses conceived the work himself under the guidance of divine inspiration and then entrusted the writing of it to one or more persons, with the understanding that they reproduced his thoughts with fidelity and neither wrote nor omitted anything contrary to his will, and that finally the work composed after this fashion was approved by Moses, its principal and inspired author, and was published under his name.
The Creation of Adam and Eve The story of Adam and Eve and the fall (Genesis 2– 3) may not be dismissed as fiction. The question: whether the human race descended from an original pair of two human beings (a teaching known as monogenism) or a pool of early human couples (a teaching known as polygenism). Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis 37 "For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. ” The Catholic Catechism "The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents" (CCC 390).
Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (TAN Books, 1952, 1974) affirms these points (all are infallible dogmas of Catholic faith). God was moved by His Goodness to create the world. The world was created for the Glorification of God. (De Fide) The Three Divine Persons are one single, common Principle of the Creation. God created the world free from exterior compulsion and inner necessity. God has created a good world. The world had a beginning in time. God alone created the world. God keeps all created things in existence. God, through His Providence, protects and guides all that He has created. The first man was created by God. Man consists of two essential parts -- a material body and a spiritual soul. Every human being possesses an individual soul. Our first parents, before the Fall, were endowed with sanctifying grace. The divine gift of bodily immortality of our first parents. Our first parents in paradise sinned grievously through transgression of the Divine probationary commandment. Through the original sin our first parents lost sanctifying grace and provoked the anger and the indignation of God. Our first parents became subject to death and to the dominion of the Devil.
Interpreting Revelation Literary Form/Genre of the Book of Revelation Threefold: Epistolary Apocryphal Prophetic Epistolary genre: is a letter writing form of the ancient world. Prescribed form Name of the writer Name of the recipient Greeting Prayer wish or thanksgiving Body of the epistle Final greeting and farewell For example: Letters to the Seven Churches (1: 4 -3: 22) Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sargis, Philadelphia, Laodicea
Apocryphal Genre A genre of revelatory literature with a narrative framework, in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient, disclosing a transcendent reality which is both temporal, insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation, and spatial insofar as it involves another, supernatural world. It is noted for its semi-prose form, visions, symbolism and figurative language. It is also a literature commonly found during times of persecution. It is a genre found in other Old Testament works, notably, Joel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah. The Church teaches that apocryphal writing is not to be interpreted literally.
Intermediary GOD ANGEL “messenger” DIRECT JUDGMENT/ APOCALYPTIST VISION “one who reveals” LUXURIANT SYMBOLS ALWAYS CAPTIVITY/OPPRESSION NUMBERS PRESENT AS EMBODIMENT OF EVIL PRESENT RESTORATION INTERVENTION ENDTIME • JESUS WILL COME • GOOD WILL BE REWARDED • EVIL WILL BE PUNISHED • GOD IS VICTORIOUS FUTURE
Prophetic Genre This is the most misunderstood part of Scripture. Prophecy literally means "speaking forth", that is, declaring God's word; a prophet is simply a spokesperson for God. It is not at all necessarily predicting the future; It is a future-telling. Prophetic declaration consists of proclaiming God's judgment, encouragement, love, call to repentance, etc. , whatever the listeners needed to hear from God. And when they did prophesy about the future, it was not to arouse or satisfy people's curiosity, but was given with the purpose of calling them to repentance or giving encouragement in times of persecution. The Church teaches that we will know prophjetic genre in its fulfillment.
GOD Speaks PROPHET “one who speaks for another” Fulfills Speaks/Writes Either PROSPEROUS CONDEMNS Or DESTITUTE GIVES HOPE PRESENT As SPIRITUALLY/MORALLY BARREN For RETURN and RESTORATION FUTURE
NUMBERS / NUMEROLOGY The number SEVEN is used 54 times in the Book of Revelation, and signifies fullness and perfection; The number TWELVE is used 23 times and signifies the twelve tribes of Israel; indicates that the people of God has reached its eschatological perfection; The number FOUR appears 16 times and indicates the universality of the visible world; The number THREE is used 11 times, TEN is used 10 times, and a THOUSAND is used 6 times in Chapter 20 alone and often in multiples. The very nature of symbolic numbers defies a literalist interpretation.
There are three intriguing cases of the use of symbolic numbers in Revelation. (I) The duration of the persecution is given either as 1260 days; Revelation 11: 3 I will commission my two witnesses to prophesy for those twelve hundred and sixty days, dressed in sackcloth. Revelation 12: 6 The woman herself fled into the desert where a special place had been prepared for her by God; there she was taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days.
. . . or 42 months; Revelation 11: 2 Exclude the outer court of the temple, however; do not measure it, for it has been handed over to the Gentiles, who will crush the holy city forty-two months. Revelation 13: 5 The beast was given a mouth for uttering proud boasts and blasphemies, but the authority it received was to last only fortytwo months. . or three years and a half. Revelation 12: 14 But the woman was given the wings of a gigantic eagle so that she could fly off to her place in the desert, where, far from the serpent, she could be taken care of for a year and for two and a half years more.
(II) 144, 000 are said to follow the Lamb wherever he goes. Revelation 7: 4 -8 I heard the number of those who were so marked - one hundred and forty-four thousand from every tribe of Israel; twelve thousand from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand from the tribe of Reuben, . . . tribe of Benjamin. Revelation 14: 1 -5 Then the Lamb appeared in my vision. He was standing on Mount Zion, and with him were the hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name written on their foreheads. . (III) The Beast is referred to by the number 666. (Some texts have 616 as the number of the Beast. ) Revelation 13: 18 The man's number is six hundred sixty-six.
Gematria The number of a person. The "number of a person" was the number equivalent to the sum of the letters in a person's name. Neron Caesar was NRWN QSR in Hebrew: N = 50, R = 200, W = 6, Q = 100, S = 60. Hence N R W N Q S R 50 + 200 + 6 + 50 + 100 + 60 + 200 = 666 Neron Caesar was NRW QSR in Latin: N R W Q S R 50 + 200 + 6 + 100 + 60 + 200 = 616
Greek Letter Number Equivalent Name Symbol Value Name Symbol ι Ι Alpha Beta Gamma α Α β Β γ Γ 1 2 3 Iota Kappa Lambda κ Κ Delta δ Δ 4 Epsilon ε Ε Stigma Value Name Symbol Value λ Λ 10 20 30 Rho Sigma Tau ρ Ρ σ Σ τ Τ 100 200 300 Mu μ Μ 40 Upsilon υ Υ 400 5 Nu ν Ν 50 Phi φ Φ 500 ς 6 Xi ξ Ξ 60 Chi χ Χ 600 Zeta ζ Ζ 7 Omicron ο Ο 70 Psi ψ Ψ 700* Eta η Η 8 Pi π Π 80 Omega ω Ω 800* Theta θ Θ 9 Qoppa ϟ Ϟ 90 Sampsi ϡ Ϡ 900*
SYMBOLS Symbols abound in the Book of Revelation. A WOMAN represents a people: Revelation 12: 1 f A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. . a WOMAN also represents a city. Revelation 17: 1 f Then one of the seven angels who were holding the seven bowls came to me and said: "Come, I will show you the judgment in store for the great harlot who sits by the waters of the deep. .
CROWNS represent dominion and kingship. Revelation 2: 10 Remain faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 3: 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast to what you have lest someone rob you of your crown. The SEA is an evil element, source of insecurity and death. Revelation 13: 1 Then I saw a wild beast come out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads; Revelation 21: 1 Then I saw new heavens and a new earth. The former heavens and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer.
A HORN speaks of power; Revelation 5: 6. . . I saw a Lamb that had been slain. He had seven horns and seven eyes; . . . Revelation 12: 3 Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge dragon, flaming red, with seven heads and ten horns; . . . a HORN represents dynastic power. Revelation 13: 1 The I saw a wild beast come out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads; on its horns were ten diadems and on its heads blasphemous names.
EYES represent knowledge. Revelation 1: 14 The hair of his head was as white as snow-white wool and his eyes blazed like fire. Revelation 2: 18 To the presiding spirit of the church in Thyatira, write this: "The Son of God, whose eyes blaze like fire. . . WINGS represent mobility. Revelation 4: 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and eyes all over, inside and out. Revelation 12: 14 But the woman was given the wings of a gigantic eagle so that she could fly off to her place in the desert. . .
In TRUMPETS is heard a superhuman, divine voice. Revelation 1: 10 On the Lord's day I was caught up in ecstasy, and I heard behind me a piercing voice like the sound of a trumpet. Revelation 8: 2 f Then, as I watched, the seven angels who minister in God's presence were given seven trumpets. PALMS are a sign of triumph. Revelation 7: 9 (The huge crowd) stood before throne and the Lamb, dressed in long white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
A SHARP SWORD indicates the word of God which judges and punishes. Revelation 1: 16 In his right hand he held seven stars. A sharp, two-edged sword came out of his mouth, and his face shone like the sun at its brightest. Revelation 2: 12, 16 To the presiding spirit of the church of Pergamum, write this: "The One with the sharp, two-edged sword has this to say: I know you live in the very place where Satan's throne is erected; . . . Therefore, repent! If you do not, I will come to you soon and fight against them with the sword of my mouth. ”
WHITE indicates the joy of victory. Revelation 2: 17 To the victor I will give the hidden manna; I will also give him a white stone upon which is inscribed a new name. . . Revelation 4: 4 Surrounding this throne were twenty-four other thrones upon which were seated twenty-four elders; they were clothed in white garments. . . PURPLE signifies luxury and kingship. Revelation 17: 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet and adorned with gold and pearls and other jewels. Revelation 18: 12 - their cargoes of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen and purple garments, silk and scarlet cloth;
BLACK indicates death. Revelation 6: 5, 12 This time I saw a black horse, the rider of which held a pair of scales in his hand. In some instances, the meaning is explained. Revelation 1: 20 This is the secret meaning of the seven stars you saw in my right hand. . . Revelation 13: 18 A certain wisdom is needed here: with a little ingenuity anyone can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a certain man. The man's number is six hundred sixty-six.
The Visions (4: 1 -22: 5) A. The Heavenly Court: The Glory of God and the Lamb, 4: 1 -5: 14 B. The Seven Seals: Judgment on Sin, 6: 1 -8: 1 C. The Seven Trumpets: God Calls to Repentance, 8: 2 -11: 14 D. The Seven Visions of Conflict: The Establishment of God’s Kingdom, 11: 15 -13: 8 1. The woman with child: the birth of Jesus, 12: 1 -2 2. The great red dragon: the enemy of Peace, 12: 3 -6 3. The war in heaven: the Cross, 12: 7 -12 4. The dragon, the woman, and her children: the struggle of God’s people, 12: 13 -17 5. The seven-headed beast from the sea: the power of Rome, 13: 1 -4 6. The war against the saints: persecutions, 13: 5 -10 7. The beast and his mark: corruption of the emperor and the dragon’s agents, 13: 11 -18 E. The Seven Visions of Mt. Zion: Assurance to God’s people, 14: 1 -20 F. The Seven Bowls of the Wrath of God: Security Amid Turmoil, 15: 1 -16: 21 G. The Seven Visions of the Fall of Babylon: End of the Evil Empire, 17: 1 -19: 10 H. The Seven Visions of Recompense: Celebration of Victory, 19: 11 -21: 5 a I. The Holy City: Kingdom of God in a New Heaven and New Earth, 21: 5 b-22: 5
Isaiah 20: 2 -4 The Lord gave a warning through Isaiah, the son of Amoz: Go and take off the sackcloth from your waist, and remove the sandals from your feet. This he did, walking naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said: Just as my servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and portent against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away captives from Egypt, and exiles from Ethiopia, young old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered [the shame of Egypt]. Jeremiah 13: 1 -11 The Lord said to me: Go buy yourself a linen loincloth; wear it on your loins, but do not put it in water. . For so close as the loincloth clings to a man's loins, so had I made the house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the Lord. .
Greek Letter Number Equivalent Name Symbol Value Alpha Beta Gamma αΑ βΒ γΓ 1 2 3 Iota Kappa Lambda ιΙ κΚ λΛ 10 20 30 Rho Sigma Tau ρΡ σΣ τΤ 100 200 300 Delta δΔ 4 Mu μΜ 40 Upsilon υΥ 400 Epsilon εΕ 5 Nu νΝ 50 Phi φΦ 500 Stigma ς 6 Xi ξΞ 60 Chi χΧ 600 Zeta ζΖ 7 Omicron οΟ 70 Psi ψΨ 700* Eta ηΗ 8 Pi πΠ 80 Omega ωΩ 800* Theta θΘ 9 Qoppa ϟϞ 90 Sampsi ϡϠ 900*
Major Church Pronouncements on the Bible Pentecost (30/33 AD) The beginning of the Church; the Church exists before a determination of a canon or a definitive list of books of what was later called the Bible. The New Testament was not even written yet. The Bible is the book of the Church, the church is not a church of the Bible. Melito, Bishop of Sardis (c. 170) Produced the first known Christian attempt at an Old Testament canon. His list maintains the Septuagint order of books but contains only the Old Testament protocanonicals minus the Book of Esther. 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Council of Laodicea (c. 360) A local council of the church in union with Rome produced a list of books of the Bible similar to the Council of Trent's canon. This was one of the Church's earliest decisions on a canon. Council of Rome (382) Local church council under the authority of Pope Damasus, (366 -384) gave a complete list of canonical books of the Old Testament and New Testament which is identical with the list later approved by the Council of Trent. Council of Hippo (393) Local North African Church council in union with and under the authority of the Bishop of Rome approved a list of Old Testament and New Testament canon same as later approved by the Council of Trent. 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Council of Carthage (397) Local North African Church council in union with and under the authority of the Bishop of Rome approved a list of Old Testament and New Testament canon (same as later approved by the Council of Trent) Pope Innocent I, Bishop of Rome (401 - 417) Responded to a request by Exuperius, Bishop of Toulouse, with a list of canonical books of Scripture; this list was the same as later approved by the Council of Trent. Council of Carthage (419) Local North African Church council in union with and under the authority of the Bishop of Rome approved a list of Old Testament and New Testament canon (same as later approved by the Council of Trent) 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Council of Florence (1441), an ecumenical council. Complete list of Old Testament and New Testament canon was drawn up; this list later adopted by the Fathers of the Council of Trent. 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Council of Trent (1545 -1563) Trent was an ecumenical council called to respond to the heresy of the Reformers. The canon of Old T and New Testament received final definitions: 45 books in the Old Testament; 27 in the New Testament; "Henceforth the books of the Old Testament and the New Testament, protocanonical and deuterocanonical alike, in their entirety and with all their parts, comprise the canon and are held to be of equal authority. " The ancient Vulgate edition of the Bible was called the authoritative edition of the Bible. 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Vatican I Council (1869 -1870) Reaffirmed the decree of Trent. The Church holds the books of Holy Scripture as sacred and canonical, not because she subsequently approved them, nor because they contain revelation without error, but precisely because "having been written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and, as such, they have been handed down to the Church itself. " 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Providentissimus Deus (1893), Pope Leo XIII, Bishop of Rome, 18781903 Inaugurated a new era in Roman Catholic biblical studies. Presented a plan for biblical study; Defined inspiration: "By supernatural power God so moved and impelled the human authors to write - he so assisted them in writing - that the things he ordered and those only they first rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth. “ 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Pascendi Dominica Gregis (1907), Pope Pius X, Bishop of Rome, 1903 -1914 Refuted the errors of the Modernists; Scored erroneous teaching on the origin and nature of the Sacred Books, on inspiration; on the distinction between the purely human Christ of history and the divine Christ of faith; on the origin and growth of the Scriptures. 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Spiritus Paraclitus (1920), Pope Benedict XV, Bishop of Rome, 19141922 Commends modern critical methods in biblical studies. All biblical interpretation rests upon the literal sense. Goal of biblical studies is to learn spiritual perfection, to arm oneself to defend the faith, to preach the word of God fruitfully. 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Divino Afflante Spiritus (1943), Pope Pius XII, Bishop of Rome, 1939 -1958 Permitted scholars to use original text of Scriptures. No claim was made that the Vulgate is always an accurate translation, but that it is free from any errors in faith or morals. The scholar must be principally concerned with the literal sense of the Scriptures; search out and expound the spiritual sense; avoid other figurative senses. Literary criticism should be employed. Stated that there are but few texts whose sense was determined by the authority of the Church (only seven biblical passages have been definitively interpreted in defending traditional doctrine and morals--John 3: 5, Luke 22: 19, 1 Corintjoans 11: 24, John 20: 22, John 20: 23, Romans 5: 12, James 5: 14); this counteracts the frequent misunderstanding that Catholics have no freedom interpreting the Scriptures. 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Pope Pius XII, Bishop of Rome, 1939 - 1958 Instructs scholars on evolution, polygenism and Old Testament historical narratives 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Vatican II Council (1962 -1965) On Divine Revelation The decree declares that there is one source of Divine Revelation, Jesus Christ; that there are two modes of handing on revelation: Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition: “In a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end, " and "it is not from Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything that has been revealed. " 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900
Concerning Inerrancy of Scripture: "The books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching firmly, faithfully, and without error that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation. ” Emphasized that "in order to see what God wanted to communicate in Scripture, we must investigate the intention of the sacred author, and one way to do this is by paying attention to the literary form employed by the sacred writer. "
Contradictions in the Bible Define terms: A contradiction is a statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous. 1. the act of contradicting; gainsaying or opposition. 2. assertion of the contrary or opposite; denial. 3. a statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous. 4. direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency. 5. a contradictory act, fact, etc.
Biblical authorship: The Bible has many different human authors. Some books of the Bible do not indicate in any way who wrote them. Other books bear the names of persons to whom authorship is ascribed. In some cases it is perfectly clear that the indicated author is in fact the person who actually wrote the book with his own hands. In other cases it is as clear that the author of the book had another person do the actual writing of his work in the manner of a secretary. In still other cases it is the Church, and not seldom the opinion of biblical scholars, that the indicated author of a given book of the Bible is not the person (or persons) who wrote it, but the person who originally inspired its writing, whose name is then attached to it as its author. In a number of instances the Church is not clear about the authorship of certain books of the Bible.
Because the entire Bible is inspired by God Who is its one original author, the Church considers the identity of the human authors as incidental to the correct interpretation and proper significance of the books of the Bible for the believing community. In no case would the Church admit that the identity of the author determines the authenticity or validity of a book which is viewed as part of the Bible, and under no circumstances would it be admitted that the value or the proper understanding and use of any book of the Bible in the Church depends on the human writer alone. The canon of the Bible was established, not on who an author was, but by the inspired content of a book.
Handling Apparent Contradictions Out of Context Error: Context 1 - The whole book, the letter, the Gospel Context 2 - The Bible as a whole The One Genre Error Taking everything literally; words mean Wrong genre; e. g. , literal for poetry, etc. The Function of Interpretation The context of belief of one’s own, e. g. , denominational teachings Intricacies of Biblical Translation Ancient languages to modern languages; Dead language to a living language Words Meaning vs People Meaning Literalist vs literal sense
Twenty-first Century Mentality/Expectation of Authorship/Writing God Revealing Not all at once, e. g. , resurrection of the dead, monogamous marriage, divorce, etc. Before the Ten Commandments vs. after the Ten Commandments Old Testament vs. New Testament not to destroy but to fulfil
VISIONS THE VISION 1. Three and a half time period (a time, 2 times and ½ a time) DANIEL Chapter 12: 7 REVELATION Chapter 11: 9, 11 2. The 10 horns Chapter 7: 8 Chapters 12: 3, 13: 1; 17: 3, 8 3. The Leopard, the Bear, and the Lion Chapter 7: 4 -6 Chapter 13: 2 4. The Beast mouthing boasting and blasphemies Chapter 7: 8, 11 Chapter 13: 5 Chapter 7: 21 Chapter 13: 7 Chapter 3: 5 -7, 15 Chapter 13: 15 Chapter 7: 13 Chapter 1: 7 & 14: 14 5. The war against the Saints 6. The worship of the Beast’s statue 7. The Son of Man coming on the Glory. Cloud
Revelation 20: 4 -6 Then I saw thrones; those who sat on them were entrusted with judgment. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image nor had accepted its mark on their foreheads or hands. They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over these; they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for (the) thousand years
End Part III