Sr. Christina shares about a recent book which can enhance one’s understanding and ability to read Scripture fruitfully.
In recent decades, so much skepticism has arisen about the authorship and historicity of the Scriptures, especially the Gospels. Although I realize that not every word of the Bible is meant to be taken literally, and that the authorship of some books may legitimately be up for discussion, I am disheartened by the readiness of some to disregard the long-standing traditions within our Church.
When I saw the title: Reading Scripture Like the Early Church: Seven Insights from the Church Fathers to Help You Understand the Bible, my interest was piqued. What thoughts and insights did these individuals, who lived so close to the time of the apostles, have? What nuggets of truth and did their reflection give? Was there some beautiful teaching or inspiration they’d left behind but which I had not yet heard or read?
The book’s author, James Papandrea, shares much about reading Scripture like the Church Fathers. Some key points include: the divine and human aspects of the Scriptures, differences between interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, the importance of Tradition in scriptural interpretation, how we should read the Old and New Testament differently, multiple levels of meaning in scriptures, the importance of charity in interpretation, and the importance of the Church Fathers.
The author provided various examples from Scripture to further illustrate his message. He shed light on different meanings of certain words used when studying Scripture.
I found Papandrea’s adherence to Tradition refreshing. Though, through the centuries, we are always learning and growing, I was edified by his respect for those who went before us in the early centuries of Christianity and the insights they had.
If you’re new to reading the Scriptures in a more serious manner or with the mind off the Church, or you’d just like a little refresher on different aspects of faithful biblical scholarship, you may find this book helpful.
Copyright 2023 Sister Christina Marie Neumann, OSF
About the Author
After serving at St. Anne's, a home for the elderly and disabled, for fourteen years, where she helped in a variety of roles, Sister Christina is now at her community’s provincial house and retreat center in Hankinson, North Dakota. Along with other work there, she also keeps up a blog, Our Franciscan Fiat, on behalf of her Community.