Religion is older than sacred books. From the beginning God revealed himself in nature and history. The great religions have their spiritual experiences, traditions and rituals recorded in the sacred books. For the Christians Bible has a place in life, in the life of the Church.
Jesus is God’s final Revelation. “In these last days God has spoken to us in his Son” (Hb 1:2). God is Immanu-el, “God-with-us” (Is 7:14). In jesus God is with us. “The Word was made flesh” (Jn 1:14). Jesus never told his disciplies to write down his message: He himself is the message. It will be preserved not by documents, in the files of archives, but inthe living community of his disciples. For ever he remains alive in their community.
In the New Testament we find books of very distinct kinds. Biblical sciences teach us to read the Gospels scientifically. They are intended to spell out the meaning of Jesus’ misison, not to give us biographical details. Jesus’ Spirit is present in the Churhc, in each local church, with his life-giving truth. Each Gospel writer has his own vision, not in contradiction but in complementarity to the others. The fullness of the mystery of Jesus could never be preented completely: “The world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (Jn 21:25). Through the ages the Church has to continue to interpret it in ever new ways.
The four Gospels are inspired–they keep a unique place in the life of the Church and remain normative for all further developments. The authentic interpretation of the inspired books is possible only within the Christian community. The Bible remains the book of the Church. We read the Bible incommunity, not only during the liturgy but also in our personal reflection and study.