LESSON FIVE: ANSWERS
This lesson is based on the text, Life in Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, by Rev. Gerard Weber and Rev. James Killgallon (Acta Publications, 1995). The question in bold type is followed by a short answer taken from the text. The text in italics is another answer from the RCIA teacher, Jim Collins. Hyperlinks in red will direct you to documents or websites related to the topic. The entire sequence of lessons forms a comprehensive approach to basic RCIA instruction.
The Horse and Rider
I will sing unto the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and rider thrown into the sea...
The Lord my God, My strength and song is now become my victory.
The Lord is God and I will praise Him, My father’s God, and I will exalt him.
1. What is revelation? It is the process in which inspired authors freely composing in their own style and using their own words wrote down the revelation God wanted us to know.
2. Must we accept revelation? Yes, because God is truthful and cannot deceive or be deceived.
3. Where can a person find the contents of revelation? (1) In Sacred Scripture: the Old and New Testaments (see Why Catholics believe that the Bible has 73 books?); (2) In Tradition (see Why don’t Catholics believe in the Bible alone?): the body of truths about God handed down within the Church. The truths of Tradition can be found in the doctrines of the Church, the decrees of the popes and councils and in the compositions of the early teachers of the Church, the “fathers” and “doctors” of the Church.
4. Who are the fathers and doctors of the Church? The fathers are leaders of the early centuries of Christianity characterized by orthodoxy of doctrine and holiness of life (Hilary, Athanasius, Augustine, Gregory the Great, John Damascene). The doctors are theologians and teachers characterized by orthodoxy of doctrine and holiness of life from later centuries (Thomas Aquinas, Teresa of Avila, Bonaventure).
5. Since the Bible was written over a period of many years by different authors in different countries, who collected them in to one book? (see Why Catholics believe that the Bible has 73 books?) The Council of Carthage in 397AD compiled the list approved by Pope Siricius.
6. Should the average person read the Bible? Yes. Daily reading is important.
7. What are literary forms? Different literary types or styles: prose, poetry, love poetry, history, proverbs, erotic prose, prophecy, wise sayings, apocalyptic writing, letters… The reader needs to be aware of the type of literature being used and the rules for interpreting it.
8. How does a person read the Sacred Scriptures? (1) Be attentive to the overall content and unity of the Scriptures. One part cannot be read apart from the whole; (2) It must be read in the context of the entire Tradition of the Church; (3) Keep in mind the “analogy of the faith”: the integrity found within the truths of faith and the entire plan of salvation must be respected when reading the Scriptures.
9. What is the difference between a Protestant Bible and a Catholic Bible? Protestant Bible exclude (except as Apocrypha) 1 and 2 Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, and parts of Daniel and Esther.
1. What is the Old Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures)? A collection of the sacred books of the Hebrew people: 46 books, including 21 books of history, 18 books of prophecy, and 7 books of Wisdom literature.
2. Why is this collection of books called the Old Testament? They are called a testament because they are an account of the covenant between God and his chosen people. It is called “old” to distinguish it from the new one which God entered into with all people through Jesus Christ.
3.What kind of history is recorded in the Old Testament? (a) It is the history of God’s kingdom on earth; (2) it tells the story of only one people, the Hebrews. Other peoples are mentioned only incidentally; (3) it anticipates the coming of the Messiah in prophecy.
4. What is the importance of the Hebrew people in God’s plan of salvation? They were the people to whom God chose to reveal Himself (before Christ). They preserved this revelation and handed it down. Christianity is the Jewish religion brought to its fulfillment. The Jews remain God’s chosen people, since God has never revoked His covenant with them. Jews (of the tribe of Judah) is used interchangeably with Hebrews (a group of northern Semitic peoples including the Israelites).
5. Who was Abraham? A man who lived around 1850BC who became the founder of the Hebrew people. God made a covenant with him by which Abraham’s descendents became God’s chosen people.
6. Who was Moses? The great leader and law-giver whom God chose to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt to the Promised Land.
7. What is a prophet? One who speaks for God. In the Old Testament it is a person sent by God to reveal to the people the will of God: His promises, their part of the covenant, the consequences of not keeping the covenant, His mercy and love, the promised Messiah.
8. What things were foretold by prophets concerning Christ and his kingdom? Many traits of the person, character, kingdom, and rule of the Messiah. Apparently contradictory prophecies were only reconciled during the ministry of Jesus.
9. What is the New Testament? A collection of writings composed at various times by different authors after the death of Jesus. Compiled at the end of the 4th Century. They include: Gospels, Letter (or Epistles), history, and the apocalyptic writing of John.
10. How were the Gospels composed? In three stages: (1) the actual life and teaching of Jesus; (2) oral communication by which the apostles and disciples of Jesus passed on what whey had seen and experienced; (3) written Gospels: truth communicated by each author in a manner appropriate for different situations of the early Church.
Questions: Bible Questions
Prayer: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen