Vatican II: The Word of God

On November 18th, 1965 the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) was endorsed by 2,344/2350 votes from the council fathers. This was a peaceful end to what had been a three year long debate on the floor of the council. The title Dei Verbum means “The Word of God” in Latin. The draft schema of this constitution went through a series of very fruitful editorial changes before finally receiving a positive endorsement by the vast majority of bishops at the council. The council fathers explain the purpose of this constitution as follows;

In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will (see Eph. 1:9) by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature (see Eph. 2:18; 2 Peter 1:4). (DV 2)

The purpose of divine revelation is found in the mystery of God’s will. There are two spiritual benefits mentioned: ‘access to the Father in the Holy Spirit’ and ‘participation in the divine nature’. Ultimately this mystery involves our very communion with the Holy Trinity.

The word ‘revelation’ comes from the Latin revelare ‘to unveil’ what is hidden. God has not allowed his presence to remain hidden. It was his eternal desire to reveal himself and his plan of salvation to us by allowing us to share in his divine life.

It was the constant unfulfilled desire of the Old Testament saints to “see the face of God.” This desire is now fulfilled in Christ. The incarnate Christ becomes the face of God which can be seen. “No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him” (John 1:18). Although God chose to reveal himself through both words and deeds to the people he chose for himself, our finite ability to comprehend God leaves this knowledge in a state of mystery. We can only know through God’s revelation and by analogy. We learn about God’s love through the analogy of human love. God is like the very best loving father, he is like a young groom in love with his bride or the love shared between friends. Such human loves make us capable of some small understanding of God’s own love. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God has communicated his truth and holiness to us by means of what St. John Chrysostom calls a wonderful “condescension” of the Eternal Wisdom (Gen, 3,8 (Hom. 17:1). God has adapted his speech to our needs so that we can know Him. As the Fathers of Second Vatican Council note: “Indeed the words of God, expressed in the words of men, are in every way like human language, just as the Word of the eternal Father, when he took on himself the flesh of human weakness, became like men” (DV 13).

We can also seek to know God through creation, especially in the human person which is a reflection of the image of God. The apostle Paul notes, “Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what has been made. As a result, they have no excuse.” (Romans 1:20). God as creator leaves his mark on his creatures and through this mark we can learn something of God’s existence. God’s revelation through creation is called natural revelation (CCC 27-49, DV 3). We hold as a matter of faith that it is possible to know God through this type of revelation.

Although God does reveal things about himself through his creation he has also directly revealed himself through words and deeds in history. “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son” (Hebrews 1:1-2). Our record of this activity is found in the Sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. To distinguish this activity from natural revelation we call this divine revelation. The ultimate fulfillment of the desire to see God’s face occurs in the Incarnation. As Christ tells his disciples, “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7).

God has chosen to reveal himself gradually in what has been called the ‘Divine pedagogy’ (CCC 53, n. 5; GDC 139-147). Retrieving certain concepts from the Church Fathers, we must see God’s own pedagogy as a model of a “school of Faith” which embraces the entire Christina life (GDC 33). In the Old Testament God begins to announce prophetically the coming of Christ, Our Redeemer and the messianic kingdom. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council remind us that initially this revelation is “imperfect and ephemeral” (DV 15). It was matched to the ability of the People of God to understand. Gradually God guided his people to a fuller understanding of himself aided by the action of the Holy Spirit.

We can now behold the face of God in Christ. Christ who knows the Father as the Only Begotten Son reveals the Father to us and allows us to join in his own prayer and communion with the Father. The fullest revelation of God’s love for us is seen in Jesus’ death (John 15:13) which is anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and re-presented in each Eucharistic celebration (CCC 1366).

Holy Mary, Star of the New Evangelization, Pray for us!


  1. October 17, 2013 at 10:16 am #


    Where do men find the words of God the Father? Why do men reject the written words of God the Father?

    John 7:16 So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.
    John 8:28 So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.
    John 12:49-50 For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak , I speak just as the Father told Me.”

    The teachings of Jesus and the actions of Jesus were all from God the Father. Jesus did not read and follow the man-made catechisms from the Jewish elders. Jesus did not get His instruction from the scribes and Pharisees.


    John 14:24-26 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. 25 These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
    John 16:12-15 ….13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth…… He will disclose to you what is to come……

    The apostles learned from Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The words of Jesus were that of the Father. The Father sent the Holy Spirit to the apostles so they could remember all that Jesus taught them and be taught future events.

    2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

    The gospel of Christ, the terms for pardon, and the doctrine for Christian living, are all from God the Father. Jesus, the apostles and the Holy Spirit delivered the message. It is all found in the Bible.

    Jesus, and the Holy Spirit taught the apostles ALL THE TRUTH.There is no more truth, in addition to, what the Father has given us through Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the apostles. All the truth is found in the Bible and the Bible alone.

    The apostles had all the truth before John Calvin, John Wesley, Joesph Smith Jr, all the Popes, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, and Martin Luther were born. There is no new Scripture. There is no new revelation from God.

    THE APOSTLES WERE GUIDED INTO ALL TRUTH BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. There are no new truths found in the catechisms, creed books nor any other extra-Biblical books written by men.




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December 04, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph