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July 26, 2005

Ch.III. Q.17. Inspiration and Revelation

INSPIRATION should be distinguished from revelation. All parts of the Sacred Scriptures are inspired, but some portions are not revelations. For example, the greater portion of the Apocalypse consists of a revelation concerning the consummation of things; but the book of Ezra is not a revelation so much as a narrative of events connected with the return of the Jews from Babylon. Yet both books are equally inspired and are given to us for our religious instruction.1

2. It is important to notice, in this connection, that the revealer of all things is the Eternal Word, whether those things are recorded in the Old or the New Testament.2 But the source of inspiration is the Holy Ghost. By His aid the sacred writers were able to give us a true account of the revelations which proceeded from the Son, and to write whatever Scriptures were intended to be preserved by the Church for our profit—whether in the form of narrative, drama, prophecy, parable, exposition, or exhortation.3

3. An examination of Holy Scripture shows that the revelations which it records were progressive; being adapted to the ability of men to receive them, and becoming more explicit with the lapse of ages and the advance of the religious education of God's people. Thus it happens that, while the New Testament is latent in the Old and the Old implies the New, some doctrines of the New Testament cannot be proved by the Old Testament alone.4

4. The record of earlier revelations should be read in the light of later and more explicit ones. And, since the contents of all revelations recorded in Holy Scripture are embodied in "the Faith once delivered to the saints," of which the Catholic Church is the teacher and guardian, we should use her teaching as the only true key to the doctrinal interpretation of the Bible.5 In like manner the imperfections of moral ideals exhibited in the Old Testament should be interpreted as due to the stage of moral tutelage and growth to which they belong, and as intended to be remedied by later growth and fuller teaching.6

1 Lee, Inspiration, pp. 39-44, 144-146; Stanton, Place of Authority, pp. 71, 72; Westcott, Introd., pp. 34, 35.

2 Lee, pp. 22-24.

3 Lee, pp. 24-26, 42, 118-135.

4 Temple, Bamp. Lecs., v., pp. 136-158; Mozley, Ruling Ideas of Early Ages, Lec. x.; Gore, in Lux Mundi, pp. 328-333; Liddon, Divinity of Christ, pp. 46-49. Cf.Isa. xxviii. 9-13.

5 Cf. Q. xiv. 7.

6 Mozley, Lec. x.; Romanes, Thoughts on Religion, pp. 180-184.

Posted by Debra Bullock at July 26, 2005 05:38 PM

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