Can anyone suggest the best and most easily understood Catholic Bible Study books?
Well, limiting yourself to Catholic study books is a self-imposed limitation. The Church allows Catholics to read “other” study books (i.e. commentaries) unless they are obviously anti-Catholic.
Catholic scholars use Jewish, Orthodox, and Protestant study materials, all the time.
Now, a study bible has extra footnotes and perhaps some essays to enhance your understanding.
Whereas, a commentary is usually one book that may discuss one or more Biblical books, on a line-by-line basis, and usually in far more depth than a study bible.
AND THEN, there are Bible study courses, which are structured in many different ways.
I tend to use both Catholic and Jewish study materials. Protestant Bible studies have too many variations for me to wade through. Since the reformers specifically rejected the authority of the Catholic Church, they will be evasive of many things that are “Catholic” just as the Jewish commentaries avoid anything that supports Christianity.
For example, typology in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) is a hot topic that Jewish scholars avoid. While the other things they say may be interesting and educational, they commit intellectual dishonesty by omitting that whole domain of scripture interpretations.
If you’re just starting out, I would recommend the three-volume set of books by Pope Benedict XVI on Jesus of Nazareth. He is often writing to disagree with other scripture scholars, in this series. But, if you just keep plowing through, he gives you a rewarding discussion of Jesus Christ and you learn a good dose of Bible Study along with that.
Oh well that is good to know. I’ve seen study books, but they didn’t say Catholic on it so I didn’t get it. I did purchase a book called United States Catechisum for Adults. But I wanted something that would tell me the Catholic view of a line or scripture in the Bible that I may not understand. A Catholic bible with notes at the bottom may be the best for that I suppose. Thank you for your reply.
A good basic introduction of the concepts put forward by scripture is John Bergsma’'s Bible Basics for Catholics.
Here is a video which claims to condense the bible into one hour, based on the above book. A caveat: I have not watched this yet. vimeo.com/42695370
I highly recommend against any Bible study resources that is not Catholic. Catholics should not only be extremely cautious of non-Catholic translations but down right more so of Study resources which provides interpretation. Unless your well versed in the Faith and Scripture then Catholics should never use anything but material approved by the Church. Even being well versed you should be extremely cautious and not seek a non-Catholic resource for anything but just getting a non-Catholic view. We as Catholics have more than enough great material to learn from.
a good study Bible is the one from Ignatius Press by Scott Hahn…awesome resource!
as for other reading, depends how deep you want to get, but any of the popular apologetics like Scott Hahn, Tim Staples, Patrick Madrid, Stephen Ray are good…I also like Thomas Groome, Fr, Robert Barron and Brent Pitre…a lot of these guys also have cds and dvds that you can purchase…we get a lot of our material from Catholic Lighthouse Media or here, Catholic Answers…
Truer words were never spoke. All other Christian communities deny infallibility and therefore admit that they can teach error. Thanks here to James Cardinal Gibbons (1834-1921), one of the greats of the American Church.
I too would stay away from anything not organically Catholic. I would be cautious about Protestant studies re-written for Catholics. Some are very poor.
Start with “The Bible Compass” by Dr. Edward P. Sri. This will explain how Catholics approach scripture in a very practical way.
Then get a good reference book about how people lived in Biblical times so that you know what the people in the Bible are talking about - politics, war tactics, geography, diet, dress, etc. I recommend “Manners and Customs in the Bible” by Victor Harold Matthews.
Then get into a good study like “The Bible Timeline” by Jeff Cavins/Great Adventure. These are authentic Catholic studies, faithful to the teachings of the Church with corresponding references from the Catechism, papal encyclicals and writings of the Church Fathers.
Thank you all so much!