A Concise Summary to Lumen Fidei

One of the main goals of The Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith) Study Guide is to help make the Pope’s encyclical on faith easily accessible and applicable to the lives of readers. The study guide contains short summaries and in-depth, practical commentaries on each chapter of Lumen Fidei. Below you can find excerpts of the chapter summaries from The Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith) Study Guide. Together they provide a concise summary to Lumen Fidei.

Lumen Fidei Summary

Overall, it is helpful to recognize some of the key themes running throughout each chapter of the encyclical. These concepts arise again and again, reiterating the importance of faith in our world today. Among these themes, the ones that most stand out are:

  • faith is light
  • an encounter with God
  • hearing and seeing
  • journey, profess, and build

A Lumen Fidei Summary

Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith) is divided up into four chapters and an introduction. The introduction briefly describes the reasons that this encyclical was written and introduces the key themes that will be presented throughout the encyclical, particularly the themes of light and journey.

From there, Pope Francis lays out an argument for the relevance and importance of faith in the modern world in a strategic way. He starts with God’s revelation to the world recounted and passed on through Scripture and the Church and then relates the gift of faith to our lives today.

Briefly, each chapter addresses the following topics:

  1. Chapter 1: Faith in the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Church
  2. Chapter 2: Faith in the modern world (philosophy, science, world religions)
  3. Chapter 3: The essentials of faith (creed, sacraments, prayer, morality)
  4. Chapter 4: Faith and society / Faith and the common good

Here are more detailed summaries of each chapter:

Summary: Introduction to Lumen Fidei

In the short introduction to Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis states the reasons that both he and Pope Benedict XVI before him focus on the topic of faith, especially during the Year of Faith and the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. There is an urgent need today to understand the value and importance of faith—not just to Christians but all humankind.

The metaphor Pope Francis introduces and expands upon throughout the encyclical is that of light. Faith is the light that illumines our journey in life and provides clarity to all aspects of human existence. This understanding is critical today, because modern society rejects faith as subjective and infused only by fleeting emotion. In other words, living by faith is a dark, unenlightened pursuit.

Pope Francis, on the other hand, hopes that his encyclical will help the light of faith “grow and enlighten the present, becoming a star to brighten the horizon of our journey at a time when mankind is particularly in need of light” ( LF, 4).

Summary: Chapter 1 of Lumen Fidei

In chapter 1 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis outlines the development of faith through a retelling of salvation history in the Old and New Testaments. In essence, he hopes to show that faith does not come from an internal gaze, but rather from an encounter with God and from those people who have come before us who have themselves encountered God.

God called Abraham and gave him a promise. God saved the Israelites and gave them a promise. God became man and gave up his life as a promise of our salvation. We can have faith in God, because he has shown us his love and we know he is faithful to his promises.

Summary: Chapter 2 of Lumen Fidei

In chapter 2 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis deals directly with the arguments from secularism and relativism that challenge faith today. He puts faith and truth into the correct context, continuing to use the analogy of light as it applies to philosophy, science, non-Christians, non-believers, and the study of theology. He shows that faith, truth, and reason do not need to be opposed to each other; rather, faith is truth, and faith enlightens human reason.

Summary: Chapter 3 of Lumen Fidei

In many ways this entire encyclical addresses the essentials of Christian faith, but this chapter in particular focuses on the backbone of Christian faith, constituted by: the creed, sacraments, prayer, and morality.

Pope Francis delves deeper into the necessity of the Church for Christian faith by revealing its critical role in transmitting the faith through the creed, Baptism, the Eucharist, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments.

Then, he briefly touches on the traditional four marks of the Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

Summary: Chapter 4 of Lumen Fidei

In the final chapter of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis describes how faith can benefit and unite all people in society. To explain this he uses the image of building the city of God.

Faith, since it is a common trust in the loving care of God the Father, unites society in a common brotherhood in ways that nothing else can: not truths, economies, governments, leaders, nor ideologies. This unity begins in the family and extends to society.

Faith also gives us hope in suffering, not because it promises healing, but because it assures us of what God has done for us and of that he is present.

Finally, in closing, the pope turns to Mary as the model of faith.

Get The Lumen Fidei (Light of Faith) Study Guide eBook (Kindle, Nook, or Kobo) or to print as a group PDF license.

About Jared Dees

Jared Dees is the creator of The Religion Teacher, a website with resources for Catholic educators, and the author of 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator and a study guide with commentary and reflection questions to help adults read, understand, and live the encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith).


  1. Marlene Rowe says

    I just want a small copy of the study guide. Is it available at Amazon and how much is it?