The Catholic Church has many avenues for teaching the word of God. This is a difficult task due to language barriers and variations in interpretations of various church documents. The complications of these interpretations are exampled in such terms as inspiration, inerrancy and canon. This essay will briefly describe these terms and attempt to shed some light on how the Catholic Church uses them in the interpretation of biblical documents.
The theology of inspiration is a difficult concept to define in the form of human language, in part, due to the nuances of the concept. The catholic faith teaches inspiration of the Bible as coming from God and as man has no common language with God, the translation of his word can never be as perfect as was intended. The Bible was not merely inspired or inspiring in the same sense that is imagined with the inspiration of an idea or a great work of art, it inspires people in that it is the word and representation of God; a revelation of God. Inspiration is therefor based on the word of God and passed on to man in the form of the ecclesiastical writings. Biblical inspiration cannot be described by an earthly language; it is best described as an opportunity presented to man that can be acted upon by mans gift of free will. Additionally, the bible inspires the reader in another fundamental way. Man is inspired by biblical curiosity to seek further understanding of God’s word (Durand).
This is not to say that the leaders of the Church cannot make new revelations or that the laws of the church cannot be clarified or modified for use in today’s society. New revelations can be made known by God whenever then need arises. These revelations are not new ideas or truths from God; they are merely previously unknown realities of Gods original word (Toner).
Scripture can be put on paper because God allowed the writer to communicate his word through their writings. They were, in a sense, inspired by God to pen his word for mankind. The translation of these communiqués can present discrepancies and imperfections in the translation and documentation. The original intent and pure meaning of God’s word is perfection and described by inerrancy. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the term inerrancy delineates that the bible, in its original assembled form, is free of any errors from recording or translation (Durand). In the same logic, the teachings of the Twelve Apostles are considered by catholic to be inerrant. The message and gospel preaching of these original apostles come directly from the Son Jesus and therefore directly from God himself and thus cannot be imperfect. Any attempt in the future to recite, regurgitate or recount the original gospels can only be something short of the perfect message that was originally communicated; this again becomes a subject of God’s gift to humans of free will. ...