A Protestant wanted to know: In the Catholic church, is only a priest or a Sister the leader of a Bible study?
No, a qualified layperson can also lead a Bible study group. And there are numerous “packaged” Catholic Bible studies now that the only qualification to lead one is a desire to do it and dedication to see it through. A humble attitude of servant leadership and organization skills don’t hurt either.
Even the term “qualified” is fuzzy…If you mean trained and sanctioned by a diocese, or even a parish, that’s not quite right either…catechists, providing religious education for those seeking to enter full communion with the Church, or prior to Sacraments of Initiation is one thing, as are spiritual directors, but leading or facilitating bible studies have no minimum formal “qualification” requirements I am aware of, again, unless imposed by the parish or diocese…and I know plenty of Catholic biblestudy groups that do so privately.
Not at my church. Sure is nice when the priest stops by to offer insights, though!
In my Parish, the Bible Study Program is run by a Priest.
You do not have to be clergy or consecrated religious to lead Bible study.
I have led Bible study in my home for 5+ years. The church arranged to train members of the laity as Bible study leaders.
A number of years ago we had a series called Why Catholic, and I was asked to lead a group and i did so. And i was nothing more than just a well versed lay person. I imagine that its up to each Parish to decide.
*the New Jerome biblical commentary * (around 1992) says that a fully trained person should conduct a bible study.
The Interpretation of the bible in the Church penned by the Pontifical Biblical Commission says that one can reliably study the Bible with a Catholic Bible alongside a catholic commentary.
I would add that I don’t know of any exhaustive Catholic commentary, that explains everything. For the Old Testament (otherwise referred to as the Hebrew Scriptures), I frequently use Jewish commentaries, as was approved by the Pont. Bibl. Commission and Pope Benedict XVI. When using non-catholic commentaries, one should probably avoid those which are anti-catholic. the Pope said to read the Jewish commentaries, recognizing the limitations of their (dis)beliefs.
I think the satisfaction one derives from a parish bible study depends a lot on the approach of the leader/teacher. I just quit one parish study group where the leader “learned the bible” outside the catholic church and who seldom refers to any official church documents like the catechism or essays of the Pont. bibl. commission, or such, or Verbum dei (Vat II) or the more recent Verbum Domini after the recent synod on the Bible, a couple years ago.
this group leader was a retired high school teacher and treated us – mostly retired people – like we were incorrigible adolescents. He did not allow any opinions other than his own infallible ones.