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28 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed

The spiritual senses of Sacred Scripture derive from the unity of

God’s plan of salvation. The text of Scripture discloses God’s plan. The

realities and events of which it speaks can also be signs of the divine

plan. There are three spiritual senses of Scripture:

1. The

allegorical sense

. We can acquire a more profound

understanding of events by recognizing their significance in

Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of

Christ’s victory over sin and also of Christian Baptism.

2. The

moral sense

. The events reported in Scripture ought to

lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for

our instruction” (1 Cor 10:11).

3. The

anagogical sense

. . . . We can view realities and events

in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our

true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the

heavenly Jerusalem. (CCC, no. 117)

The Church’s Scripture scholars are expected to work according to

these principles to develop a better understanding of Scripture for God’s

people. Interpretation of Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment

of the Magisterium, which exercises the divine commission to hold fast

to and to interpret authoritatively God’s Word.


Our response to God’s call to holiness involves regular, prayerful study

of Scripture. “Such is the force and power of the Word of God that it

can serve . . . the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food

for the soul, and a pure and lasting font of spiritual life” (CCC, no. 131,

citing DV, no. 21).

Catholic biblical scholars have made distinguished contributions to

scriptural studies. Their outstanding service to the Church has assisted

believers to grow in their faith by an authentic understanding of

Scripture. Two of the various challenges they face come from interpreta-

tions posed, on the one hand, by those who interpret the Bible only in a

literal fashion, and, on the other hand, by those who deny the supernatu-

ral aspects of the Gospels.