Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Calling All Catholics: DUST OFF THAT BIBLE!

Many protestants would think it was a joke to include the words 'Catholic' and 'Bible' in the same sentence. If one can point to something we should learn from our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters, it is their love for Sacred Scripture.

Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ --St. Jerome

The above statement can have a cutting edge, especially if you are unfamiliar with Scripture. Sure, we all hear the pericopes as proclaimed at Mass. Some people even repeat the claim that as Catholics, we encounter the entire Bible over a three-year cycle. See this blog entry to clear up that theory. If you don't know Scripture, I dare say St. Jerome is correct. Before you prepare to leave me an angry comment, let me assure you that you are not alone. This is a situation that can be corrected and it can be quite enjoyable. Promise.

If you take this very small step and begin to seriously study the Sacred Scriptures, I promise that your life will change. Please don't take my word for it; see for yourself! There are some outstanding Catholic Bible studies available now on the market. Nearly every single one is something that you can do either on your own or with a group. See this site to get an overview of the various options.

What can you do to get started? Here are my humble suggestions which can fit a variety of parish situations:
  • Ask your priest if they are planning to have a Bible Study group in your parish
  • If your priest tells you that no Bible Study groups are planned, do your homework. Find a Catholic Bible Study program and meet again with your priest to discuss the possibility of starting a group using the program. Be prepared to volunteer if he says yes!
  • Go to your local Catholic bookstore and see what they have in stock for Bible Study programs
  • Check out the Great Adventure Bible series by Jeff Cavins. Any group of any size can do this study without the assistance of clergy, religious or others trained in Scripture study. Binders with questions, reading assignments and answers plus DVDs or CDs that lead the program are available.
  • Choose a Bible that is best for you. Here is an excellent guide to assist you in your choice. Of course, since this is my blog I will recommend my own personal choice to you. I prefer the Ignatius Bible RSV, 2nd Edition - Catholic Edition.
  • Invite a friend to undertake the study with you
  • Many people ask if the King James Version of the Bible is okay to use for Bible Study. My answer is that it is okay if you are protestant. The protestant Bible has 7 less books and 2 less letters and that is because the protestants removed them during the reformation in the 16th century. If you use a KJV, you will be missing a sizeable portion of Scripture and quite often will be missing the 'big picture' in salvation history.
  • I can tell you that without a question in my mind you will learn to love Scripture when you study it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a good study program
  • Just do it!
I also wish to add that if you are already on fire for Scripture, the next step I suggest you take is to purchase the Navarre Bible and Commentary (thank you Lori!). The set is very expensive, but books are available individually. You will never regret owning a Navarre Bible as I can assure you, I refer to mine daily. There is also an Ignatius Bible Study program which has the Scripture, commentary and some questions in the back. This series is similar to the Navarre but is not as in depth.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to leave them. Once you get started, you'll be able to tell your protestant friends that "Yes, Catholics do read their Bibles! And they love it too!"

Dominus vobiscum +


Joe said...

I quite agree, Kelly. It is quite sad that many Catholics do not read the Bible. Many attacks from "Bible Christianity" aka Protestantism against us can be cut off if WE are familiar with the Scriptures and their context. :)

Anonymous said...

The BEST Bible available in the English language is without a doubt the Haydock Douay-Rheims! It's expensive, and big, bit it is PACKED with unabashedly Catholic commentary, a lot of which comes from the Church Fathers. It is highly scholarly and was written specifically to refute Protestant heresies with Scripture (it was written in England during the time when Catholicism was under heavy assault). Check it out!

Kelly said...

'anonymous' recommended the D-R and Haydock's; both the D-R Bible and Haydock's commentary are available online if you want to take a look.




Georgette said...

Hi, Kell!

Nice blog you have here! I especially like your side bar with the prayer requests and the apologetic questions below.

As far as Catholics and their bibles, I think that only the Catholics who take their faith seriously read Scriptures. But I guess that would probably go for those of any denomination. There are just far more Catholics who do not take their faith seriously than in other denoms!

My all time favorite Bible is the Douay-Rheimes, especially the commentary and exegesis is priceless. For every day reading, I like my Ignatius Revised Standard Version.

God bless you always!