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Chapter 1

What Is the Bible?


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  1. The revelation of God in Jesus Christ is transmitted through   and   as one common source.

  2. When we say the Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit, what does this mean? Is this to say that the sacred writers were simply taking dictation from the Holy Spirit? Explain.

  3. What does it mean when we say that the Bible is inerrant?

  4. How does Tradition maintain the integrity of the Bible?

  5. What is the Magisterium?

  6. When we say the pope is infallible, does this mean that he never makes a mistake? What does it mean?

  7. St. Jerome was a great biblical scholar who lived in the fifth century. One of his sayings that is often quoted is: “Ignorance of   is ignorance of   .”

  8. The nature of the Bible is like the nature of Jesus in that both are    and   .

  9. The people who wrote the Bible did not have the same understanding of geology, paleontology, and astronomy that we have. How can we say, then, that everything in the Bible is true?

  10. The text states that we must understand the Bible as literature. What does this say, for example, about using the Bible to prove or disprove, for instance, the existence of the dinosaurs? (Hint: What were the original writers of the Bible thinking when they wrote the ancient texts? Did they know anything about dinosaurs?)

  11. When we speak of the Bible as literature, we mean the way it was written. List some of the kinds of literature that we find in the Bible:

  12. When we say that the Bible is literature, what do we mean?

  13. What is meant by the literal sense of Scripture?

  14. Give a few examples of the literal sense of some pieces of Scripture.

  15. Jesus says in the Gospel of St. Matthew (23: 9), “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.”

    a. What is the literalist interpretation of this verse?


    b. What is the Catholic sense of this verse?

  16. What is meant by the spiritual sense of scriptural interpretation?

  17. What is the allegorical or typical sense?

  18. What is an example of the allegorical or typical sense?

  19. What is the moral or topological sense?

  20. What is an example of the moral or topological sense?

  21. What is the analogical sense?

  22. What is an example of the analogical sense?

  23. All of these senses are based on what?

  24. At times it might appear there are differences between what the Bible says and what modern science proposes. Is there any real conflict here?

  25. Why can true religion not be spoken of or described as a purely personal experience?

  26. Religion comes from a Latin word which means   .

  27. Explain the impossibility of writing an objective history.

  28. Why is Bible history unbiased even though the facts and dates in the Bible do not always agree with the same data collected by other sources?

  29. How is a covenant different from a contract?

  30. What is the purpose of the covenants of God made with man throughout history?

  31. On page  9 there is a diagram of the six covenants we find in the Bible as Salvation History unfolds. When will the Seventh Covenant occur, and how long will it last?

  32. The marks of the Catholic Church are One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. How does the unity of the Catholic Church prove that the Church, through the Magisterium, is the one true interpreter of Scripture?

  33. What two practical resources do Catholics have at their disposal to understand the Bible?

  34. If a Christian is completely new at studying the Bible, where is a good place to start reading it?

  35. What are the two ways in which the Word of God comes to us?

  36. How does participation at Mass help us to read and understand the Bible?

  37. Just like today, the liturgy or worship of the ancient Christians consisted of two parts. What are they?

  38. The word “deuterocanonical” also comes from a Greek word. What does it mean?

  39. What role do the deuterocanonical books of the Bible play in Catholic teaching?

  40. List two examples of Catholic teachings that come from the deuterocanonical books.

  41. Why must Christians study the Old Testament?

  42. What are the four main types of writing we find in the Old Testament?

  43. The books of the Law are called   in Hebrew.

  44. Traditionally,   is considered to be the author of the books of the Law, so they are sometimes called the   .

  45. The books of the Law are also called the   , which comes from a Greek word that means   .

  46. Name at least five of the main characters from the Book of Genesis.

  47. The main character in the Book of Exodus is   .

  48. What is the primary story that Exodus tells us?

  49. In Greek, Exodus means   .

  50. Why are the laws as written in the Book of Leviticus so explicit in their detail?

  51. The Book of Numbers begins with a census of all the tribes of Israel who came out of Egypt with Moses. What does this book tell us about the Israelite people?

  52. The Ten Commandments appear in which two books of the Bible?

  53. The name “Deuteronomy” means   in Greek.

  54. Write the name and the letter that is associated with the name of the theoretical source for the first five books of the Bible.

    Name Letter Source
    This source is seen in passages that are thought to represent the perspective of the Jews in Judah in the ninth or eighth century BC.
    A later editor who revised all five books of the Pentateuch to reflect the concerns of the Jerusalem priesthood after the return from exile in Babylon.
    The source identified in passages that frequently use the Divine Name.
    This source is seen also as the author of a book of the Bible that bears the same name, that was written perhaps around the seventh century BC during the reforms of good King Josiah.

  55. Match the historical book of the Bible with the description of its content.

    1 Samuel
    1 Chronicles
    1 Kings
    2 Samuel
    2 Chronicles
    2 Kings


    A. Much of this book comes from the personal history of the governor who has the same name. It tells how the returning exiles restore the city of Jerusalem and promise to live by the Law of Moses.

    B. The story of the woman who becomes the great grandmother of King David, making her also one of the human ancestors of Jesus.

    C. Tells the story of how some of the Jews come back from exile in Babylon, rebuild the temple, and try to restore worship of the One True God.

    D. Its two main characters are King Solomon and Elijah the prophet. It describes the building of the first Temple.

    E. Tells the story of how the Israelites under Moses’ successor begin the conquest of the Promised Land.

    F. This book tells much the same story as 1 and 2 Samuel, but emphasizes the religious nature of David’s reign as king, and his preparations for the building of the Temple.

    G. The story of a pious man who, even while in exile, scrupulously follows the Law of Moses.

    H. Tells the tragic story of Saul, the first king of Israel.

    I. The story of a heroic woman who saves Israel by a clever strategy that succeeds because of her trust in God.

    J. A retelling of the events of 1 and 2 Kings with most of the emphasis on the kingdom of Judah

    K. Tells of the Israelite people’s attempts to finish conquering the Promised Land after the death of Joshua, and how they fail because of their continual disobedience to God.

    L. Contains the story of God’s everlasting covenant with David.

    M. Tells how the divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah fall away from God and turn to idols with God finally allowing them to be conquered and destroyed.

    N. The story of a heroic Israelite woman who becomes the queen of Persia.

  56. Which of the Wisdom Books . . .

    a. . . . is a poem in praise of wisdom with a long commentary on how patient God has been with human folly?


    b. . . . is a collection of sayings attributed to King Solomon?


    c. . . . describes for us how to live a good life in the real world without compromising our faith in God?


    d. . . . is a long poem that asks the hard question: Why does God let bad things happen to good people?


    e. . . . speaks about “vanity,” the fact that nothing in this world is worthwhile, and the only thing a good person can do is to trust in God?


    f. . . . contains poems and songs that we use to this day in Mass?


    g. . . . is the world’s most famous love poem?

  57. What kind of messages did God’s prophets bring to his people? (The text gives two.)

  58. List the Major Prophets.

  59. Why are the “minor prophets” referred to as such?

  60. Who are the last three prophets who came after the Jews returned from exile in Babylon?

  61. Complete the crossword by finding the names of the prophets described in the clues.




    3 Pronounced God’s judgment against the whole earth, not just Judah and Israel. (9)

    6 Brought a stern warning to Israel at a time of great prosperity. (4)

    8 “See, your king comes to you, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.” (9)

    9 The shortest book in the Old Testament. (7) 

    10 Foretold the destruction of Judah and called upon the people to repent. (8)

    14 “Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (4)

    15 A book of poems attributed to Jeremiah bemoaning the destruction of Jerusalem. (12) 

    17 Led the effort to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem after the Exile. (6)

    18 Foretold the end of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire. (5)


    1 These two books tell of the revolts of pious Jews against the influences of the Greeks. (9) 

    2 Pronounced judgment against the wicked, and comfort to the righteous who live by faith. (8)

    4 His marriage to an unfaithful wife is a metaphor for God’s relationship with his unfaithful people Israel. (5)

    5 Pronounced judgment against those who take bribes and exploit the poor; foretells that the Savior will be born in Bethlehem. (5)

    7 Perhaps written in Babylon by a disciple of Jeremiah, prophesying about a New Covenant. (6)

    11 Foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, but also offered hope that God could bring dead Israel back to life. (7)

    12 Warned the returned exiles that God was not pleased with offerings made from ill‑gotten goods. (7)

    13 The story of a Jewish prophet who gained a high place in Babylon during the Exile. (6)

    14 The story of a reluctant prophet that gives us a good idea as to what it would be like to be God’s chosen prophet. (5)

    16 This prophet gave us some of the clearest prophecies about the coming of Jesus. (6)

  62. What is a “type” in the biblical sense of the word?

  63. Explain how typology works.

  64. Below are some events from the Old Testament that are commonly accepted as “types” for events in the New Testament and life in the Church. What are they?

    Old Testament Event New Testament Event or Church Practice
    The near sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham
    The Israelite people crossing from slavery to freedom through the waters of the Red Sea
    And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High” (Gn 14: 18)

  65. The New Testament does not   the Old Testament.
    Rather it   the Old Testament.

  66. St. Augustine says that the New Testament is   in the Old, and that the Old Testament is   in the New.

  67. a. St. Irenaeus states, “The Law is pedagogy and prophecy of things to come.” What do we mean by “the Law” when the “L” is capitalized?


    b. What does it mean that the Law is a pedagogy (cf. Gal 3: 23–26)?

  68. The books of the New Testament can be put into the same classes as the books of the Old Testament. Write a few examples of each.

    Old Testament Books Classification New Testament Books

  69. If all of the Gospels tell the same story, why are there so many differences between them?

  70. The Gospels of Sts.    ,   , and   are called the   Gospels, from a Greek word that means   . This is because compared to the Gospel of St.    , which is quite different from them, they share a similar point of view.

  71. While there is no definitive proof, most scholars agree Sts.    and   probably used a copy of St.    ’s Gospel as a kind of outline for their own Gospels. Scholars further theorize that they may have also used another source called   that might have been a compilation of the sayings of Jesus.

  72. The differences we find in the Gospels   the truth of what they are telling us. They do not   the truth.

  73. For whom did St. Matthew primarily write his Gospel?

  74. St. Matthew is also known as   and used to work as a   .

  75. What does St. Matthew emphasize about Jesus in his Gospel?

  76. For whom did St. Mark primarily write his Gospel?

  77. Where did St. Mark get most of his information about Jesus for his Gospel?

  78. St. Mark sees Jesus as a new Moses leading the people on a new Exodus. What about Jesus’ ministry does St. Mark most emphasize?

  79. For whom did St. Luke primarily write his Gospel?

  80. We know from St. Paul’s writings that St. Luke practiced what profession?

  81. In addition to the Gospel that bears his name, what other book of the New Testament did St. Luke write?

  82. In the years following Jesus’ work on earth, many things were written about him. Give two reasons why St. Luke wrote another gospel.

  83. For whom did St. John primarily write his Gospel?

  84. Why do many scholars believe St. John wrote his gospel for this audience (your answer to Question #83)?

  85. What phrase does St. John use to describe himself in his Gospel?

  86. While he does not go into a lot of theological depth in explaining it, which doctrine of God’s existence does St. John most completely reveal to us?

  87. How has the historical truth of St. Luke’s Gospel been verified over the years?

  88. From reading the Acts of the Apostles, how do we know that St. Luke was an eyewitness to much of what he wrote?

  89. Why did Sts. Peter, Paul, and John write their letters?

  90. In general, all of the letters of the New Testament are written either to   or to   .

  91. What was the purpose of St. Paul’s brief letter to Philemon?

  92. Who wrote the Letter to the Hebrews, and what is its primary teaching?

  93. In spite of all the images and symbols used in the Book of Revelation that can make it hard to understand, what is the main point of this book?

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