The Profession of Faith
the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (“according to the
spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church”
Be attentive to the analogy of faith.
By “analogy of faith”
we mean the coherence of the truths of faith among themselves and
within the whole plan of Revelation.
The senses of Scripture
According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between
of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdi-
vided into the allegorical, moral, and anagogical senses. The profound
concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living
reading of Scripture in the Church.
is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scrip-
ture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpreta-
tion: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.”
Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only
the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks
can be signs.
We can acquire a more profound under-
standing of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the
crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of
The events reported in Scripture ought to lead
us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction.”
“leading”). We can view
realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us to-
ward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heav-
Amedieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses:
The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith;
The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.
“It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules,
toward a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of
Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church
Hom. in Lev.
5, 5: PG 12, 454D.
83 St. Thomas Aquinas,
I, 1, 10,
87 Littera gesta docet, quid credas allegoria, moralis quid agas, quo tendas
anagogia. Augustine of Dacia,
I: ed. A. Walz:
Angelicum 6 (1929) 256.