• Acts of the Apostles

    A sequel to Gospel of Luke by the same author, Acts tells the story of the Spirit-led mission of the Church after Jesus' Ascension, its emergence from Judaism and its spread in the Roman Empire.
  • Apostle

    One who is sent by Jesus to continue his work. The Twelve and Paul have a unique place as apostles.
  • Babel

    A primeval, symbolic story about human pretension to build a tower to the heavens (Gen 11:1-9) which explains why there are many languages and nations. It was called Babel ("confusion") because God confused the language of all the earth and scattered the peoples.
  • Bible

    The collection of the books that the Church believes is the written expression of God's Revelation and the supreme rule of faith.
  • Biblical criticism

    The application of modern literary and scientific methods to discover what a Scriptural passage or book meant to its original audience.
  • Biblical Inspiration

    The doctrine of the divine authorship of the Bible through God's action through human authors.
  • Canon (of Scripture)

    The authentic list of inspired writings that are recognised and received by the Church as making up the Bible. Catholics accept 46 books Old Testament and 27 New Testament books as 'canonical'.
  • Catholic Social Teaching

    The Church's teaching on social, political and economic issues, based on the belief that God has a plan for creation, a mission to build God's Reign or Kingdom of peace, love and justice. Its starting point is the dignity of the human person made in the image of God.
  • Covenant

    Initiated by God, it is the agreement that creates and sustains a sacred relationship between God and God's people. The great covenants are God's with the people of Israel at Sinai and the New Covenant established by Jesus through his death and resurrection.
  • Deuterocanonical

    Books or parts of books that have been disputed as canonical at one time but are accepted by the Catholic Church as canonical. The term comes from the Greek for 'second canon'.
  • Didache

    The Didache, also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, is a brief anonymous early Christian treatise, dated by most modern scholars to the late first century.
  • Disciple

    A student or follower who emulates a teacher or master, specifically a follower of Jesus.
  • Epiphany

    A major solemnity focusing of the visit of the three wise men to the infant Jesus celebrates the revelation of Jesus at all humankind. It is celebrated 12 days after Christmas (6 January) but in Australia it is transferred to the Sunday immediately after 1 January.
  • Etymology

    The study of the origin of a word and the historical development of its meaning.
  • Evangelist

    "One who proclaims good news"; more specifically, the four attributed writers of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  • Exegesis

    Application of the rules of interpretation to Biblical texts
  • Exodus

    Both the name of the second book of the Old Testament and its greatest defining event, indeed in the whole of Judaism. From the Greek "going out" it is God's intervention to save his Chosen People through the departure of the Israelites from Egypt under Moses and the covenant at Sinai.
  • Form criticism

    Through classification the genres of texts it traces the evolution of literary units through their oral proclamation to final writing in order to identify their original life situations and social contexts.
  • Fundamentalism

    An approach to the Bible that see that what it says is always and only literally true as stated.
  • Gentile

    According to Judaism, person who is not a Jew.
  • Gentile Christians

    A Christian who was not a Jew before becoming Christian.
  • Gospel

    The "good news" proclaimed by Jesus and then his apostles. It is interpreted and recorded in the four books known as the Gospels.
  • Gospel according to Luke

    The longest of the four Gospels, it is a testimony of faith in the person, life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus, directed to a Gentile Christian community in the Roman Empire after 80AD.
  • Hermeneutics

    The science of interpretation, especially of a text.
  • Historical critical method

    A branch of biblical criticism that investigates the origins of ancient texts in order to understand "the world behind the text". Its goal is to discover the historical situation of the author and recipients of a text and therefore its original meaning. Methods include source, form and redaction criticism.
  • Immanence [of God]

    God being intimately close to all creation.
  • Inerrancy

    The Church teaching that the Bible teaches truth without error about God and salvation.
  • Interpretation (of the Bible)

    The endeavour using historical, literary and theological tools to find the meaning of the Bible intended by its divine and human authors. Authentic interpretation can only take place within the framework of the Church's faith.
  • John [Gospel of]

    Written at the end of the first century, it is very different to the other Gospels. It is rich in symbolism. Jesus is God among us, the Incarnate Word, and those who believe will have life in his name.
  • Judaism

    The religion of the Jewish people.
  • Kerygma

    The earliest public proclamation of the Gospel by the apostles and the core content of that preaching (from Greek, 'the message proclaimed').
  • Kingdom (or Reign) of God

    God's redemptive life-giving rule over all creation.
  • Literary criticism

    Critical study of a biblical text the text as a work of literature, considering its style, structure and distinctive language and literary forms.
  • Literary form

    Particular different kinds of writing in the Bible. The reader must be aware of the type of writing or literary form being used, eg, letter, poetry, allegory etc in order to understand what meaning the writer intended to express.
  • Liturgy of the Hours

    The Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office, is the daily prayer of the Church, marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer. He consists of Scripture and prayers.
  • Magnificat

    The traditional title for Mary's song of praise, Lk 1:46-55, taken from its fist words in Latin: "[my soul] praises".
  • Mark [Gospel of]

    The first Gospel written around 65-70, most probably in Rome for a community of Gentile Christians who are suffering persecution. It is a short and reflects the teaching of Peter and presents Jesus as the son of God and suffering Messiah.
  • Matthew [Gospel of]

    Written in the 80s for a community of Jewish Christians, it presents Jesus as the fulfilment of the prophesies made in the Hebrew Scriptures, as the Son of God, the new Moses, and as a teacher and lawgiver.
  • Mission

    Mission comes from the word 'send'. God sent Jesus to proclaim the Reign of God, God's dream for the world, and he sends his community of disciples, the Church to proclaim his Good News. It is why the Church exists, not for itself but for God's mission.
  • Myth

    A story with symbolic and metaphoric language that expresses a deep religious truth about God and human existence.
  • Oracle

    A communication from God through a prophet. It can also refer to the poetic literary form of the communication or to its speaker.
  • Paschal Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection

    The high point of the liturgical year, the triduum includes the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, the Celebration of Passion of the Lord on Good Friday and climaxes with The Easter Vigil.
  • Patriarchy

    A social system in which males hold primary power in family leadership, social privilege and often, control of property.
  • Pentateuch

    The first five books of the Bible.
  • Pentecost (Solemnity)

    A major Solemnity in the Church's liturgical calendar 50 days after Easter, it celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and the enduring, energising presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
  • Pharisees

    A lay group within Judaism known for strict religious observance and determination to prevent the contamination of the faith by foreign practices. As a result, they were influential in the survival of Judaism after the fall of the Temple in 70.
  • Pilgrimage

    A journey with a religious purpose to a sacred site or place of importance to faith and belief.
  • Prophet

    An intermediary who transmits God's communication to people; more specifically, those who do so in the Old Testament, especially in the prophetic books.
  • Q

    Q is a hypothetical source document of sayings of Jesus conceived as the most likely explanation for material common to the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke but that is not in Mark.
  • Redaction criticism

    Analysis of the way Gospel authors edited their material to amplify their theological purpose and meaning.
  • Repentance

    A conversion of the heart away from sin and towards God
  • Revelation

    The self-communication of the loving God, especially in Scared Scripture.
  • Salvation

    The restoration of all humanity and all creation by God's action in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
  • Scribes

    Scholars of the Torah
  • Senses of Scripture

    The multiple meanings of Biblical texts.
  • Shavout

    A Jewish religious holiday marking the wheat harvest in Exodus 34 and the anniversary of the day God have the Torah at Mt Sinai.
  • Source criticism

    Analysis that identifies the oral and written source materials of Biblical texts, especially the Gospels.
  • Synagogue

    A Jewish place of communal prayer and religious instruction.
  • Synoptic Gospels

    The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, which have similarities in content and style when 'looked at together' (from the Greek, synopsis).
  • Synoptic Problem

    The question of how to explain the similarities and differences among the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). The most accepted view is the Gospel of Mark was written first and that the authors of Matthew and Luke drew on it and a hypothetical collection of sayings of Jesus known as Q.
  • Temple (the Second Temple)

    The central sanctuary in Jerusalem where God dwelt in the midst of God's people. The Second Temple constructed about 515BC was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD.
  • Textual criticism

    Reconstructing biblical texts by comparing and contrasting manuscripts and translations in order to establish the original wording and therefore the most authoritative text.
  • Theological narrative

    A story or series of stories designed to provide a religious interpretation of the events recounted and the faith understanding of the readers.
  • Torah

    The written Jewish Law, the central teaching of Judaism, which consists of the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament.
  • Tradition

    The process and content of handing on the Scriptures, teachings, liturgy and practices through the ages.
  • World Mission Day

    World Mission Sunday is the second last Sunday in October set aside for the Church throughout the world to renew its commitment that the Church is missionary by its very nature.