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How Can we Understand the Bible?

WE MUST, THEN, LOOK TO THE CHURCH if we are to have any correct understanding of Scripture. St. Peter insists: "No prophesy of the Scripture is of private interpretation" (2 Pet 1:29). But we must not expect to find this understanding by acquiring some compendium of the "true meaning" of the Bible. It is of wisdom, divine wisdom, that we speak... and this is not to be reduced to a series of sentences and paragraphs and books of merely human writing, inspired or otherwise. No... it is to the life of the Church that we must turn if we are to understand the Bible.

This life cannot be ours except by participation. We must be saturated in it through the prayers of the Church, through reading in the wisdom of the nearly two thousand years' writings of the Fathers of the Church, through the daily life of the Christian community. Apart from this life, there can be no real understanding, but only misunderstanding and perversion. The annals of the Church's history are filled with such... as are the shelves of any large library. Wherever man tries to rely upon his own "reason," rather than upon God's Wisdom as imparted in the holy Church, heresy is the certain outcome... separation from the Truth.

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