What does the Catholic Church teach about Truth in the Bible?

The question of Biblical truth historically is associated with the topic of inerrancy. With the advent of critical scholarship the notion of inerrancy require serious qualifications.

Discovering what appear to be errors in the Bible is not difficult. Apparent errors can guide us to qualifying statements about discovering truth in the Bible.

Place the Bible in historical context. The Bible is not a science book; look for truth about relationship about God rather than an accurate description of the physical universe. The book of Genesis, for example, speaks of “windows of the heavens” (Gn. 7:11). The biblical authors did not have telescopes, and “windows” was a picturesque term to account for how the “waters above the heavens” reached earth.

Identify the literary form of the biblical passage under consideration. Establish whether the passage is poetry, prophecy, parable, narrative, saga, prayer or whatever.

If the passage is a parable, for example, one would not ask historical questions of non-historical material.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a woman who took leaven and hit it in three measures of meal.” (Mt. 13)  To ask the name of this woman or where she lived would be an absurd disregard for what type of literature a parable is. A parable is a metaphor or simile; it is not historical.

Much of the Bible is not historical. This does not mean that a parable does not convey truth; parables convey truth by non-historical means.

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