FOR EVERLASTING MEMORY
3. God, who through the Word creates all things (see John 1:3) and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities (see Rom. 1:19-20). Planning to make known the way of heavenly salvation, He went further and from the start manifested Himself to our first parents. Then after their fall His promise of redemption aroused in them the hope of being saved (see Gen. 3:15) and from that time on He ceaselessly kept the human race in His care, to give eternal life to those who perseveringly do good in search of salvation (see Rom. 2:6-7). Then, at the time He had appointed He called Abraham in order make of him a great nation (see Gen. 12:2). Through the patriarchs, and after them through Moses and the prophets, He taught this people to acknowledge Himself the one living and true God, provident father and just judge, and to wait for the Saviour promised by Him, and in this manner prepared the way for the Gospel down through the centuries.
4. Then, after speaking in many and varied ways through the prophets, "now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb. 1:1-2). For He sent His Son, the eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them of the innermost being of God (see John 1:1-18). Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh, was sent as "a man to men" . He "speaks the words of God" (John 3:34), and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave to Him to do (see John 5:36, 17:4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (see John 14:9). For this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed, that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal.
The Christian dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away and we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Tim. 6:14 and Tit. 2:13).
5. "The obedience of faith" (Rom. 16:26; see Rom. 1:5; 2 Cor. 10:5-6) "is to be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which man commits his whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals" , and freely assenting to the truth revealed by Him. To make this act of faith, the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit must precede and assist, moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind and giving "joy and ease to everyone in assenting to the truth and believing it" . To bring about an ever deeper understanding of revelation the same Holy Spirit constantly brings faith to completion by His gifts.
6. Through divine revelation, God chose to show forth and communicate Himself and the eternal decisions of His will regarding the salvation of men. That is to say, He chose to share with them those divine treasures which totally transcend the understanding of the human mind .
As a sacred synod has affirmed, "God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certainty from created reality by the light of human reason" (See Rom. 1:20); but it teaches that it is through His revelation "that those religious truths which are by their nature accessible to human reason can be known by all men with ease, with solid certitude and with no trace of error, even in this present state of the human race" .
But in order to keep the Gospel forever whole and alive within the Church, the Apostles left bishops as their successors, "handing over" to them "the authority to teach in their own place" . This sacred tradition, therefore, and Sacred Scripture of both the Old and New Testaments are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God, from whom she has received everything, until she is brought finally to see Him as He is, face to face (see 1 John 3:2).
8. And so the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved by an unending succession of preachers until the end of time. Therefore the Apostles, handing on what they themselves had received, warn the faithful to hold fast to the traditions which they have learned either by word of mouth or by letter (see 2 Thess. 2:15), and to fight in defense of the faith handed on once and for all (see Jud. 3) . Now what was handed on by the Apostles includes everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the People of God; and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes.
This tradition which comes from the Apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit . For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke 2:19, 51), through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.
The words of the holy Fathers witness to the presence of this living tradition, whose wealth is poured into the practice and life of the believing and praying Church. Through the same tradition the Church's full canon of the sacred books is known, and the sacred writings themselves are more profoundly understood and unceasingly made active in her; and thus God, who spoke of old, uninterruptedly converses with the bride of His beloved Son; and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel resounds in the Church, and through her, in the world, leads unto all truth those who believe and makes the Word of Christ dwell abundantly in them (see Col. 3:16).
9. Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the Word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the Word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this Word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence .
10. Sacred tradition and sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the Word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 8:42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort .
But the task of authentically interpreting the Word of God, whether written or handed on , has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church , whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the Word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit; it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.
It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God's most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.
Therefore since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings  for the sake of our salvation. Therefore "all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind" (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).
12. However, since God speaks in sacred Scripture through men in human fashion , the interpreter of sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words.
To search out the intention of the sacred writers, attention should be given, among other things, to "literary norms." For truth is set forth and expressed differently in texts which are variously historical, prophetic, poetic, or of other forms of discourse. The interpreter must investigate what meaning the sacred writer intended to express and actually expressed in particular circumstances by using contemporary literary forms in accordance with the situation of his own time and culture . For the correct understanding of what the sacred author wanted to assert, due attention must be paid to the customary and characteristic styles of feeling, speaking and narrating which prevailed at the time of the sacred writer, and to the patterns men normally employed at the period in their everyday dealings with one another .
But, since holy Scripture must be read and interpreted in the same spirit in which it was written , no less serious attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole Scripture if the meaning of the sacred texts is to be correctly worked out. The living tradition of the whole Church must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith. It is the task of exegetes to work according to these rules toward a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of sacred Scripture, so that through preparatory study the judgement of the Church may mature. For all of what has been said about the way of interpreting Scripture is subject finally to the judgement of the Church, which carries out the divine commission and ministry of guarding and interpreting the Word of God .
13. In sacred Scripture, therefore, while the truth and holiness of God always remains intact, the marvelous "condescension" of eternal wisdom is clearly shown, "that we may learn the gentle kindness of God, which words cannot express, and how far He has gone in adopting His language with thoughtful concern for our weak human nature" . For the words of God, expressed in human language, have been made like human discourse, just as the word of the eternal Father, when He took Himself the flesh of human weakness, was in every way made like men.
15. The principal purpose to which the plan of the old covenant was directed was to prepare for the coming of Christ, the redeemer of all and of the messianic kingdom, to announce this coming by prophecy (see Luke 24:44, John 5:39; 1 Peter 1:10), and to indicate its meaning through various types (see 1 Cor. 10:11). Now the books of the Old Testament, in accordance with the state of mankind before the time of salvation established by Christ, reveal to all men the knowledge of God and of man and the ways in which God, just and merciful, deals with men. These books, though they also contain some things which are incomplete and temporary, nevertheless show us true divine pedagogy . These same books, then, give expression to a lively sense of God, contain a store of sublime teachings about God, sound wisdom about human life, and a wonderful treasury of prayers, and in them the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way. Christians should receive them with reverence.
16. God, the inspirer and author of both Testaments, wisely arranged that the New Testament be hidden in the Old and that the Old be made manifest in the New . For, though Christ established the new covenant with His blood (see Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25), still the books of the Old Testament with all their parts, caught up into the meaning of the proclamation of the Gospel , acquire and show forth their full meaning in the New Testament (see Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:27; Rom. 16:25-26; 2 Cor. 3:14-16) and in turn shed light on it and explain it.
18. It is common knowledge that among all the Scriptures, even those of the New Testament, the Gospels have a special preeminence, and rightly so, for they are the principal witness for the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word, our Saviour.
The Church has always and everywhere held and continues to hold that the four Gospels are of apostolic origin. For what the Apostles preached in fulfillment of the commission of Christ, afterwards they themselves and apostolic men, under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, handed on to us in writing: the foundation of the faith, namely, the fourfold Gospel, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John .
19. Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (see Acts 1:1-2). Indeed, after the ascension of the Lord the Apostles handed on to their hearers what He had said and done. This they did with that clearer understanding which they enjoyed  after they had been instructed by the glorious events of Christ's life and taught by the light of the Spirit of truth . The sacred authors wrote four Gospels, selecting some things from the many which had bee handed on by word of mouth or in writing, reducing some of them to a synthesis, explaining some things in view of the situation of their churches, and preserving the form of proclamation but always in such fashion that they told us the honest truth about Jesus . For their intention in writing was that either from their own memory and recollections, or from the witness of those who "themselves from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word" we might know "the truth" concerning those matters about which we have been instructed (see Luke 1:2-4).
20. Besides the four Gospels, the canon of the New Testament also contains the epistles of St. Paul and other apostolic writings, composed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, by which according to the wise plan of God, those matters which concern Christ the Lord are confirmed, His true teaching is more and more preached, the story is told of the beginnings of the Church and its marvelous growth, and its glorious fulfillment is foretold.
For the Lord Jesus was with His Apostles as He had promised (see Matt. 28:2)) and sent them the advocate Spirit who would lead them into the fullness of truth (see John 16:13).
22. Easy access to sacred Scripture should be provided for all the Christian faithful. That is why the Church from the very beginning accepted as her own that very ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament which is called the Septuagint; and she has always given a place of honor to other Eastern translations and Latin ones, especially the Latin translation known as the Vulgate. But since the Word of God should be accessible at all times, the Church by her authority and with maternal concern sees to it that suitable and correct translations are made into different languages, especially from the original texts of the sacred books. And should the opportunity arise and the Church authorities approve, if these translations are produced in cooperation with the separated brethren as well, all Christians will be able to use them.
23. The bride of the Incarnate Word, the Church taught by the Holy Spirit, is concerned to move ahead toward a deeper understanding of the sacred Scriptures so that she may increasingly feed her sons with the divine words. Therefore, she also encourages the study of the holy Fathers of both East and West and of the sacred liturgies. Catholic exegetes then and other students of sacred theology, working diligently together and using appropriate means, should devote their energies, under the watchful care of the sacred teaching office of the Church, to an exploration and exposition of the divine writings. This should be so done that as many ministers of the divine word as possible will be able effectively to provide nourishment of the Scriptures for the People of God, to enlighten their minds , strengthen their wills and set men's hearts on fire with the love of God . The sacred Synod encourages the sons of the Church and Biblical scholars to continue energetically, following the mind of the Church, with the work they have so well begun, with a constant renewal of vigor .
24. Sacred theology rests on the written Word of God, together with sacred tradition, as its primary and perpetual foundation. By scrutinizing in the light of faith all truth stored up in the mystery of Christ, theology is most powerfully strengthened and constantly rejuvenated by that Word. For the sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God and since they are inspired really are the Word of God; and so the study of the sacred page is, as it were, the soul of sacred theology . By the same word of Scripture the ministry of the Word also, that is, pastoral preaching, catechetics and all Christian instruction, in which the liturgical homily must hold the foremost place, is nourished in a healthy way and flourishes in a holy way.
25. Therefore, all the clergy must hold fast to the sacred Scriptures through diligent sacred reading and careful study, especially the priests of Christ and others, such as deacons and catechists who are legitimately active in the ministry of the Word. This is to be done so that none of them will become "an empty preacher of the word of God outwardly, who is not a listener to it inwardly"  since they must share the abundant wealth of the divine Word with the faithful committed to them, especially in the sacred liturgy. The sacred Synod also earnestly and especially urges all the Christian faithful, especially Religious, to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the "excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:8). "For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ" . Therefore, they should gladly put themselves in touch with the sacred text itself, whether it be through the liturgy, rich in the divine Word or through devotional reading, or through instructions suitable for the purpose and other aids which, in our time with approval and active support of the shepherds of the Church, are commendably spread everywhere. And let them remember that prayer should accompany the reading of sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for "we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying" .
It devolves on sacred bishops "who have the apostolic teaching"  to give the faithful entrusted to them suitable instruction in the right use of the divine books, especially the New Testament and above all the Gospels. This can be done through translations of the sacred texts, which are to be provided with the necessary and really adequate explanations so that the children of the Church may safely and profitably become conversant with the sacred Scriptures and be penetrated with their spirit.
Furthermore, editions of the sacred Scriptures, provided with suitable footnotes, should be prepared also for the use of non- Christians and adapted to their situation. Both pastors of souls and Christians generally should see to the wide distribution of these in one way or another.
26. In this way, therefore, through the reading and study of the sacred books "the word of God may spread rapidly and be glorified" (2 Thess. 3;1) and the treasure of revelation, entrusted to the Church, may more and more fill the hearts of men. Just as the life of the Church is strengthened through more frequent celebration of the Eucharistic mystery, similarly we may hope for a new stimulus for the life of the Spirit from a growing reverence for the word of God, which "lasts forever" (Is. 40:8; see 1 Peter 1:23-25).
Rome, at St. Peter's 18 November, 1965.
I, PAUL, Bishop of the Catholic Church
There follow the signatures of the Fathers.
 Cf. Mt. 11:27; Jn. 1:14 and 17; 14:6; 17:1-3; 2 Cor. 3:16 and 4:6; Eph. 1:3-14.
 EPISTLE TO DIOGNETUS, c. VII, 4: Funk, APOSTOLIC FATHERS, I, p. 403.
 First Vatican Council, DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CATHOLIC FAITH, Chap. 3, "On Faith:" Denzinger 1789 (3008).
 Second Council of Orange, Canon 7: Denzinger 180 (377); First Vatican Council, loc. cit.: Denzinger 1791 (3010).
 First Vatican Council, DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CATHOLIC FAITH, Chap. 2, "On Revelation:" Denzinger 1786 (3005).
 Ibid: Denzinger 1785 and 1786 (3004 and 3005).
 Cf. Council of Trent, loc. cit.; First Vatican Council, session III, DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CATHOLIC FAITH, Chap. 2, "On Revelation:" Denzinger 1787 (3006).
 St. Irenaeus, AGAINST HERETICS III, 3, 1: PG 7, 848; Harvey, 2, p. 9.
 Cf. Second Council of Nicea: Denzinger 303 (602); Fourch Council of Constance, session X, Canon 1: Denzinger 336 (650-652).
 Cf. First Vatican Council, DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CATHOLIC FAITH, Chap. 4, "On Faith and Reason:" Denzinger 1800 (3020).
 Cf. Council of Trent, session IV, loc. cit.: Denzinger 783 (1501).
 Cf. Pius XII, apostolic constitution, MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS, Nov. 1, 1950: AAS 42 (1950) p. 756; Collected Writings of St. Cyprian, Letter 66, 8: Hartel, III B, p. 733: "The Church [is] people united with the priest and the pastor together with his flock."
 Cf. First Vatican Council, DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CATHOLIC FAITH, Chap. 3 "On Faith:" Denzinger 1792 (3011).
 Cf. Pius XII, Encyclical Letter HUMANI GENERIS, Aug. 12, 1950: AAS 42 (1950) pp. 568-569: Denzinger 2314 (3886).
 Cf. Pius XII, Encyclical Letter DIVINO AFFLANTE SPIRITU, Sept. 30, 1943: AAS 35 (1943) p. 314; Enchiridion Biblic. (EB) 556.
 "In" and "for" man: cf. Heb 1:1 and 4:7; ("in"): 2 Sm. 23:2; Mt. 1:22 and various places; ("for"): First Vatican Council, SCHEMA ON CATHOLIC DOCTRINE, note 9: Coll. Lac. VII, 522.
 Leo XII, Encyclical PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS, Nov. 18, 1893: Denzinger 1952 (3293): EB 125.
 Cf. St. Augustine, GEN. AD LITT. 2, 9, 20: PL 34, 270-271; Epistle 82,3: PL 33, 277: CSEL 34,2, p. 354; St. Thomas, "On Truth", Q.12, A.2, C; Council of Trent, session IV, SCRIPTURAL CANONS: Denzinger 783 (1501); Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS: EB 121, 124; Pius XII, Encyclical Letter DIVINO AFFLANTE SPIRITU: EB 539.
 St. Augustine, CITY OF GOD, XVII,6,2: PL 41, 537: CSEL XL, 2, 228.
 St. Augustine, ON CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE III, 18, 26: PL 34, 75-76.
 Pius XII, Loc. cit.: Denzinger 2294 (3829-3830): EB 557-562.
 Cf. Benedict XV, Encyclical Letter SPIRITUS PARACLITUS, Sept. 15, 1920: EB 469. St. Jerome, "In Galacians" 5, 19-20: PL 26, 417 A.
 Cf. First Vatican Council, DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CATHOLIC FAITH, Chapter 2, "On Revelation;" Denzinger 1788 (3007).
 St. John Chrysostom IN GENESIS 3, 8 (Homily 17, 1): PG 53, 134; "Attemperatio" [in English "Suitable adjustment"] in Greek "synkatabasis."
 St. Augustine, QUEST IN HEPT. 2, 73: PL 34, 623.
 St. Irenaeus AGAINST HERETICS III, 21, 3: PG 7, 950: (Same as 25, 1: Harvey 2, p. 115). St Cyril of Jerusalem, CATECH. 4, 35: PG 33, 497. Theodore of Mopsuestia, IN Soph. 1, 4-6: PG 66, 452D-453A.
 Cf. St. Irenaeus, AGAINST HERETICS, III, 11, 8: PG 7, 885; Sagnard Edition, p. 194.
[Due to the necessities of translation, footnote 2 follows footnote 3 in the text of Article 19]
 Cf. John 14:26; 16:13.
 John 2:22; 12:16; Cf. 14:26; 16:12-13; 7:39.
 Cf. instruction HOLY MOTHER CHURCH edited by Pontifical Consilium for Promotion of Bible Studies: AAS 56 (1964) p. 715.
 Cf. Pius XII, ibid: EB 569.
 Cf. Leo XII, Encyclical Letter PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS: EB 114; Benedict XV, Encyclical Letter SPIRITUS PARACLITUS: EB 483.
 St. Augustine, SERMONS, 179, 1: PL 38, 966.
 St. Jerome COMMENTARY ON ISAIAH, Prol: PL 24, 17; Cf. BENEDICT XV, Encyclical Letter SPIRITUS PARACLITUS: EB 475-480; Pius XII, Encyclical Letter DIVINO AFFLANTE SPIRITU: EB 544.
 St. Ambrose, ON THE DUTIES OF MINISTERS I< 20, 88: PL 16, 50.
 St. Irenaeus, AGAINST HERETICS IV, 32, 1: PG 7, 1071; (same as 49, 2) Harvey, 2, p. 255.