John Paul II on How to do Exegesis

As the Council well reminded us: “In the sacred books the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them. And such is the force and power of the word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigour, and th children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting source of spiritual life.” (Dei Verbum, no. 21)…Without this support [a vigorous spiritual life], exegetical research remains incomplete; it loses sight of its main purpose and is confined to secondary tasks. It can even become a sort of escape. Scientific study of the merely human aspects of the texts can make him forget that the word of God invites each person to come out of himself to live in faith and love….

While engaged in the very work of interpretation, one must remain in the presence of God as much as possible…they will avoid becoming lost in the complexities of abstract scientific research which distances them from the true meaning of the Scriptures. Indeed, this meaning is inseparable from their goal, which is to put believers into a personal relationship with God.

-Pope John Paul II, “Bible Experts Must Be Guided by the Spirit,” L’Osservatore Romano (English ed.), 28 April 1993, pp.3-4, quoted in Ralph Martin, The Catholic Church at the End of an Age: What is the Spirit Saying?, (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1994), pp.151-152.

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