The Interpretation of Scripture


I can analyze and explain the three spiritual senses.

Warm Up

Activity 1: Writing a response to "A Father’s Love Letter"

Read A Father’s Love Letter. Then write a response letter to God. Be sure to mention:

2. What emotions or feelings did the letter evoke in you?

3. How does the use of Scripture in this letter help you to reflect on God’s love for you? 

4. What is your answer to the his question at then end?

A Father’s Love Letter.pdf

The Interpretation of Scripture

Because Scripture is inspired by God and written by human authors, it has both a human meaning and a divine meaning. Explain that by spending time praying with certain verses, we have experienced the spiritual power of Scripture. Scripture is a living word, and it is one of the ways God continues to communicate with us today. It is one of the ways we can encounter the living God in our lives. Today we are going to talk about the best ways to read Scripture. We are going to look at what we call the senses of Scripture.


109 In Sacred Scripture, God speaks to man in a human way. To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm, and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words.

110 In order to discover the sacred authors' intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current. "For the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing, in prophetical and poetical texts, and in other forms of literary expression."

111 But since Sacred Scripture is inspired, there is another and no less important principle of correct interpretation, without which Scripture would remain a dead letter. "Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written."

The Second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it.

112 1. Be especially attentive "to the content and unity of the whole Scripture". Different as the books which compose it may be, Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God's plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart, open since his Passover.

The phrase "heart of Christ" can refer to Sacred Scripture, which makes known his heart, closed before the Passion, as the Scripture was obscure. But the Scripture has been opened since the Passion; since those who from then on have understood it, consider and discern in what way the prophecies must be interpreted.

113 2. Read the Scripture within "the living Tradition of the whole Church". According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church's heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God's Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (". . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church").

114 3. 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

115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided 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.

116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."

117 The spiritual sense. 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.

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 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".

3. The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, "leading"). 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.

118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses:

The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith; The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.

Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 109-118

Activity 2: Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 109-118 Focus Questions

Read Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 109-118. After you have finished reading, complete the questions. 

Catechism Focus Questions.pdf
Spirit of Truth Grade 7 Unit 2 Lesson 3 The Interpretation of Scripture.pptx

Activity 3: Which Sense Is It Anyway?

Which Sense Is It Anyway?.pdf