ATHOLICS AND BIBLES have something of a historical reputation for being on distant terms. It is a ridiculous situation where the very institution which declared which books would make up the Bible is derided as “un-biblical”.
It is true that Mass-going Catholics will pick up a lot of Biblical reading just by attending Mass – especially using the old meaning of the word “attend” which is to listen.
Although I know that no serious Catholic is totally ignorant of the Bible and most Catholics who care are already way above average in finding their way around the Good Book, most could hope to improve their grasp of Sacred Scripture. Maybe make it a New Year’s Resolution.
There are many plans available to guide you along the way:
Bible Study for Catholics: 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge – Read 14 books of the Bible to give a narrative of the main events – sign up for a free series of 10 minute videos or reflections starting January 2015.
Presentation Ministries: Through the Bible in One Year a plan for reading the whole bible plus twice through the Gospels. Each day is allocated three readings, a little like the Reading, Psalm and Gospel at Mass. No charge, no need to sign up, just a note asking you to donate whatever the Holy Spirit suggests. The page also includes a link to a summary printable pdf which can make three bookmarks to keep your place in your bible.
Classical Liberal Arts Academy: Sacred Scripture course which has grown from the Presentation Ministries plan. We signed up for this a few years back, but haven’t renewed and it has been developing since then. The whole school they have is really interesting and full of food for thought even if you don’t sign up.
Biblia.com is a branch of the Logos Bible Study Software. You can sign up with their Catholic arm: Verbum. Once you have an account it is possible to choose from various reading plans which you can keep up with on Biblia.com or using their software for desktop or mobile devices. The mobile apps are free.
And no list of Catholic bible studies would be complete without The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Scott Hahn and his associates have so much material available there, download an audio course to accompany your commute or dig into the written bible study notes with study questions to really get you thinking. There is plenty of free material to keep you going for a year or more.
Of course you could simply set aside time to read a passage each day. Having a notebook with you is a great way to help form your thoughts and reinforce memories. If you have questions, you will find someone else in the thousands of years of Church History has wondered about the same things and there are answers available.
Having a commentary on Scripture is handy, but there are online resources such as Biblia Clerus is a Vatican project for the Clergy – cross referencing the bible with the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as Augustine and Aquinas and other Church documents.
This post was a bit longer than I expected. In my family we have been following the Gospel readings from the Presentation Ministries plan for a few months. Lately I have been experimenting with quiz questions on a local moodle installation on our home network to encourage my older children to read the other readings too. It isn’t too hard to make a “fill-in-the-blanks” quiz with your favourite quotes from the day’s readings.
There are lots of ideas. Have a great Christmas Season!