What are the Holy Scriptures?

What we call "the Holy Scriptures" - or the Bible - is the whole of the sacred historical writings inspired by God's First and the New Covenants with mankind. Among the holy books of humanity, the Bible is characterized by the various levels of signification of the historical events it reports. One discovers, through these events that have punctuated the history of Israel, (the Old Covenant, or for Christians the "Old Testament") that it is not only man who seeks God, but God Himself who seeks man and establishes a covenant with him.

How was the Christian Bible compiled?

In the first centuries A.D., the Church gathered certain writings that it considered holy and divinely inspired, distinguishing them from other writings that have been classified as apocryphal books. At the end of the 3rd century, several councils added another twenty-seven books to the Holy Scriptures of Israel, thus defining the Christian Bible such as it is know today. The Church, which has gathered and canonized, preserved and diffused the Word of God throughout the entire world over the centuries, is an essential intermediary between God and man for a full understanding of the beauty, the force and the deep signification of the Holy Scriptures.

Do you understand what you read?

In the Acts of the Apostles, the exchange between Philip and the Ethiopian is an invitation to seek this assistance:

So Philip set out and was on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian. [...] He had been to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage and was now on his way home, sitting in his carriage and reading aloud the prophet Isaiah. [...] When Philip ran up he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" He said, "How can I, unless someone will give me a clue?"

(Acts 8: 27-31)

If there is no one to guide us, how can we understand the Scriptures? In order to open our eyes onto the mystery of Christ, He who is the center of the Holy Scriptures - we are like the disciples of Emmaus - we need the teachings of the Church, of the liturgy, of the Church Fathers, Doctors and of all the saints who have studied the Word of God with the help of the Holy Spirit to find the beauty, power and true sense of the Bible.

The historical events of the Old Testament give us many figures (1) announcing the Evangelical realities of the New Testament 

When Christ was on the Cross, St. John reports that: "one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came" (Jn 19: 34), the Fathers of the Church say to us that the blood and the water represent the rites of the Church, the spouse of Christ, who was born from the side of the New Adam immersed in the sleep of death, as in the beginning Eve was born from the side of Adam who was in a deep mysterious sleep.

The expectation of the Messiah was at its strongest during the first century; historians of that era counted more than 100 Messiah candidates! The fact that Jesus accomplished practically all of the symbolic prophecies, which were given over a period of several centuries of the First Covenant, throughout the history of Israel, constitutes a truly astonishing reality unique in the world. In order to discover the Holy Scriptures, we recommend that you learn to read the Bible like it was written - with the Church - in the light of the Holy Spirit!


(1) This type of reading, underlining how much the events of the First Covenant prefigure those of the New, does not take away from the event or the historical reality of the happening which actually took place during the times of the Old Testament. Quite simply, with the revelation of Christ in the Gospel, we can discover that the Old Testament is accomplished in the New: "Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have some not to abolish but to complete them." (Mt 5: 17) ...

MdN Team