The idea of a “Bible scholar”, I find quite ambiguous. I know personally, people who have gone to school to be taught about the Bible. I have heard so called “Bible Scholars” speak on the radio and television. Many can quote chapter and verse verbatim. When it comes to discussion about right and wrong, by way of the Bible, they can interpret and give advice on any question they are asked. This is for the most part, good.
On the other side of the coin, I know others who have been taught extensively, Christianity with the Bible. Many of these people have gone to Christian Schools have studied the Bible extensively but are not degreed in the subject. I am one of those. Until recently I believed that all Catholic priests were Bible Scholars, including the Pope, who by the way, is also a priest. Someone informed me that Pope Francis does not have a PHD in theology. He does have a master’s Degree in Catholic theology as do all priests. What the Pope does have that almost all degreed Bible scholars do not have, is advanced study and knowledge in Catholic Tradition. Catholic tradition is knowledge handed down from Jesus Christ himself to the apostles, who then passed this knowledge, in apostolic succession, from one to another all the way to the present day. To say that Pope Francis is not a Bible scholar, is like accusing Apple of knowing nothing about mobile phones. Consider that Apple, regardless of all the competition and copy cats, is still the untouchable in cell phone technology. The Catholic Church and its members still have the traditional knowledge that many Theologians do not have. And, by the way, Catholic church is responsible for the existence of the Bible.
An example of the difference between a Catholic Theologian and a non-Catholic Bible Scholar was clarified to me September 3 of this year. On a non-Catholic talk show, a caller asked if there was any truth to the apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Fatima. The show host, a Bible scholar, said that he did not believe that it had anything to do with the Blessed Mother. His comment followed with, “She’s dead. Dead people do not come back to earth.” He went on to say that something unusual did happen in Fatima, but it could have been the work of the devil. His religious knowledge comes from the Bible. He believes the devil has the power because he has learned about the evils of the devil in the Bible. He does not believe in the blessed mother because he has missed it in the Bible. Other Catholic Bible Scholars do believe in the Blessed Mother and call out her immaculate conception in the Bible. A recent book, “Behold Your Mother” by Tim Staples, clearly describes the passages in the Bible about the Mary, the Mother of God and her role today.
Pope Francis is a Bible Scholar through education, many years of practice as well as his knowledge of Catholic tradition. His many years of profession and practice of the priesthood exceeds that of a degreed “Bible Scholar”. That knowledge and many years of teaching the Catholic faith, is the principle reason why he is the chosen Vicar of Christ.
To see some of the noteworthy quotes attributed to Pope Francis go to the Franciscan Media website: https://blog.franciscanmedia.org/franciscan-spirit/holy-quotes-from-pope-francis