Catholics and bible study?


#1

A question to faithful followers of Catholicism. Does your church encourage everybody to read the entire bible and study it faithfully. Also another questions, does your church have bible studies, to give people knowledge of the bible? And last, to faithful catholics, have you yourself read the entire bible and are you knowledgable about it.


#2

Absolutely! (Is this a loaded question??)

Not only that, but we are encouraged to meditate on scripture verses, using a process the Church has defined as “Lectio Divina”. We read the verses slowly, allowing room for the Holy Spirit to speak to us.
In Christianity, Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word.** It does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the Living Word**.
If one is a daily mass attendee, we hear the main parts of the entire bible over a three-year cycle, which then repeats itself.
Many of us have indeed read the entire bible privately, more than once in fact. Remember, we have seven more books than Protestants use. :wink:

The beauty of our faith is that we are not left to chance regarding the interpretation, but we have, by Jesus’ design, an infallible hierarchy to guide us, lest we believe error. That keeps us from becoming just another one of 30,000 denominations that all vary widely in their individual interpretations.


#3

Yes, yes, and yes.

Here’s the thing, though: Christianity ≠ The Bible. When Jesus founded the Church, He didn’t give a book to the apostles and say “now, you guys follow these rules – and only these rules!”; He didn’t pick up a book, read from it, and tell his followers “do this in memory of me.” Rather, He gave authority to his apostles… who then compiled the stories of His life and the letters of other apostles to the faithful as guides to help them. He told them how to worship and stressed the importance of the Eucharist.

It’s not that Catholics don’t read the Bible – we do! It’s that we don’t fetishize it in the way that (some? many?) non-Catholic Christians do. I was listening to a Protestant preacher on the radio the other day, and he was talking about Jesus’ temptation in the desert. He turned the discussion into a sermon on how we should prepare for the tough times in our life, and the center of his exhortation was… read the Bible, so that we can quote it from heart. I was dumbfounded. Certainly, Bible literacy is important, but… not ‘pray’? Not ‘develop a relationship with Jesus’? Not ‘practice virtue’? Yes, Scripture reading can be prayerful, but “memorize Scripture so that you can refute the devil”? :hmmm:


#4

Yes to all your questions.

I was Evangelical Protestant for 47 years before converting to Catholicism, and I had read the Bible through at least 2 dozen times, and been involved in Bible studies for almost every book of the Bible (including those Minor Prophets!).

While I was considering Catholicism (2 years of study and discussion), one of the first things I did was read the so-called “Catholic” Bible, including the Deuterocanonical books (called “apocrypha” by Protestants).

So yes, I have read the complete Bible all the way through.

If a Catholic attends daily Mass, they hear the entire Bible (minus some of the repeated stuff) read through every three years. Catholics are encouraged to read the Bible passages of the day BEFORE attending Mass and to discuss them with family/friends AFTER Mass.

One of the main reasons I became Catholic is the emphasis on the Bible. I wasn’t getting this in Evangelical Protestant churches. Instead, I was getting discussions and opinions about the Bible, and lay “facilitators” who asked us to “share our insights about the Bible passage” that we were studying. It was more man-centered than Bible-centered.

The Catholic Church isn’t like this. The Bible is loved and studied carefully. During the Processional before Mass, the Bible is carried in and held high for all to see. The priest is NOT carried in and held high. This demonstrates that we are about to hear the Word of God, not “the words of a man.”


#5

Adding to what has already been shared, some of us pray the Liturgy of the Hours, which over a 4-week period, if all the canonical hours are prayed, we will pray every one of the Psalms. However, I usually just pray the morning and evening hours. Consecrated persons in religious orders pray all of them.

Having done this for many years now, it is a joy to know many of the psalms by heart. During Mass when the ‘responsorial psalm’ is being proclaimed, I usually know what the next verse will be, due to my familiarity with these psalms.


#6

#7

Good grief yes! I’ve read it several times over and have been reading 1st and 2nd Samuel the last week or so and have just finished John’s Gospel before that.

I’ve checked this out on here several times and here are links to my threads and surveys that might fill in some blanks for you.
Poll: Catholics: When did you last read the Bible?
Poll: How often do you read the Bible?
Poll: Non-Catholics & Bible reading
Poll: Catholics and the Bible:Update

I have found that I know the Word of God at least as well and often times better than most of the n-Cs that I have encountered, which tends to surprise them a bit. I suppose that is because some think we do not read it (they’ve obviously never been to Mass with us :)…) or that we are not allowed/encouraged to, which is also not true.

Welcome to CAF :thumbsup:


#8

I agree wholeheartedly. I also find the Bible open to interpretation, especially to those skilled in rhetoric. For those of us who have the desire but not time or mental capacity to read Aquinas’, Summa Theologica en toto, there are several abridged versions available on the cheap at Amazon.


#9

Yes we have Bible study at my parish. I started RCIA 11 years ago and was asked to join the Bible study group before I was was finished with the program! The Bible study is still going strong (a second one was added).
Because I had a desire to read and learn more about the Bible in RCIA, my RCIA instructor directed me to a three year Catholic Bible Institute that was administered through the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and LMU university. I have been encouraged at every level to read and study the Bible! :thumbsup:


#10

Yes, yes and yes.

We have Bible studies at the parish level as well as diocesan classes. There are even online versions to make it even more accessible. Everyone is encouraged to both study the Bible and to read Scripture for personal spiritual growth.

As for the last question, there is always room for improvement. I have done a “cover to cover” Bible study and consider myself somewhat knowledgeable but expect to keep learning until I die.


#11

The Church often grants indulgences* to certain pious practices it wishes to encourage the Catholic faithful to do. For many years now, to encourage the Catholic faithful to read the Bible, the Church grants them a partial indulgence if they do any Bible reading. If their Bible reading continues for a half hour or more, it grants them its greatest indulgence, a *plenary *or full indulgence.

  • An indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin whose guilt has already been forgiven.

#12

I’m 66 years old and have fallen back in love with the Tridentine (now called tradition) Mass a few years back. This was the rite that I grew up with. It was never formally terminated in the early 1960’s as Pope John Paul made clear 2 decades later. Some tradition Catholics actually broke off Vatican II(schismatics) one being actor Mel Gibson. Not a good idea.
I find the Latin Mass to be a somber experience in an atmoshere which allows me to kneel, pray and truly prostrate myself before God. It’s has become the highlight of my week.


#13

Yes to all but we must remember that Christianity is not a religion of the book but of God’s Word which is revealed to us through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the teaching authority of the Church that Jesus founded, the Catholic Church. That is why the Catechism of the Catholic Church should always be available for reference in any Catholic Bible study.


#14

I haven’t exactly read the Bible cover-to-cover, but I have probably heard most of it at Mass.

If someone goes to Mass every day of the week, and listens to the Scripture readings, within three years he/she will hear most of the Bible. Not every word, but close to it.

I do not currently go to daily Mass. When I was a child, I often went to daily Mass as part of my schooling. Perhaps I will take it up again when my children are old enough to get themselves off to school.

In the mean time, I have recently started following the readings on my phone. I downloaded an app that provides the daily readings of the Catholic Mass. I take a look when I have a spare moment during the day. It is very convenient.

This phone app even provides the readings in different languages. I am interested in improving my Spanish language skills, so, if time permits, I may flip between English and Spanish readings. But that’s another story.


#15

I agree, reading the daily and Sunday scripture readings for the Mass (seven days a week) is not only a good way to read scripture, but it is a way read read scripture in which it was intended for; use in the Liturgy. :thumbsup:


#16

Thank you for the opportunity to dispel a common misconception about Catholics. The Bible is at the root of our doctrine, it is the starting point, from the readings for the day, of our homilies and the cycle of those daily readings take us through the OT and NT every three years. Since I am a 63+ cradle Catholic I have more or less read the Bible 21 times :D. In addition, I have read the Bible cover to cover on my own. Whether or not we are encouraged to read the Bible or have Bible studies at our parishes would depend on the parish but we always have opportunities and encouragements at ours.


#17

Hmmmm… Catholics and Bible Study, what a great idea :slight_smile:


#18

I’m a former Protestant now Catholic. So I’ve worn both hats. I’ve read the Bible several times, from cover to cover. Not all of it is very inspiring mind you - some of the genealogical lists of Numbers and Leviticus et al are guaranteed to send you to sleep. If it comes to that, I’m still waiting for a suitable definition of “inspired” if God “inspired” the Bible. Some of it is anything but.

I’m also speaking from an Australian perspective, not US.

Generally speaking the reality is that Protestants know their Bible better than Catholics, at least over here. In Protestant circles private reading and study of the Bible is encouraged, whereas in Catholic circles that’s not a strong trait, or at least not here.

There is an increasing emphasis on Bible studies, with movements afoot to have home groups using the “Little Rock” series for example. But it hasn’t taken off in a big way as yet.

That said, in every mass, there are usually four Bible readings - an OT passage, a responsive Psalm, a NT passage excluding the Gospels (what might be called the Catholic letters), and then a Gospel passage read by the priest. So over a three year period, sincere Catholics would hear the Bible in essence anyway.

But I’ll give you a salient example of Protestant versus Catholic knowledge of the Bible. I went to a two day seminar in July featuring our new Archbishop, who was the speaker on Scripture. He has a doctorate in Luke.

He mentioned at one stage that if you pushed a Rabbi to reduce the Jewish laws to the absolute minimum, he would admit there was only one. Bear in mind that we’re talking Old Testament and not new. The new of course was Christ’s reply to the lawyer - “Love the Lord you God with all your soul, with all your heart and all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.”

But he was talking Old Testament. He asked us to say what it was. It was of course the phrase, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall have no other gods before me.”

But he commented that whenever he asked Catholics, they omitted the second bit … “who brought you out of Egypt…” He said Protestants got it every time. But Catholics always seemed to ignore it.

He spent years trying to figure out why Protestants could get it and Catholics not do so. Then finally the penny dropped - someone remarked the catechism didn’t include the bit about “out of Egypt”. He remarked “that’s the power of the catechism.”

From the point of view of the core of the teaching, the bit about Egypt is to us largely irrelevant - the whole point is we should be put God first.

It was an example of Protestants knowing their Bible better than Catholics. But in reality both believe the same thing - “Love the Lord you God with all your soul, with all your heart and all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.”

We’ve just got different ways of getting to the core of Christ’s teaching.


#19

Was there anything else?:smiley:


#20

Yes. I grew up with a Bible in my home. At Mass, I would listen to the readings and read along in my missallette (monthly missal). Our Catholic schools also support and encourage the reading of Our Holiest Book. We had religion class daily through grade school and high school. Classes included a year long study of the New Testament, required of all sophomores at my school.

Catholic Bible studies are not only available at my church, they may also be found online and at my local Catholic bookstore. I’m currently excited about the Ignatius Study Bible which I can buy, one book at a time in paperback. (I’m working on Revelations and also listening to a Lighthouse CD on the same subject.) Then it’s off to Luke-my favorite gospel.

I first read my Catholic children’s Bibles Our family purchased two while I was growing up. I think the artwork helped me think about what I was reading.
Then it was on to my Douay Rheims. Each Bible has been read cover to cover, but I am far from expert; there is always so much more to learn. Every now and then, I find myself behind the wheel, listening to Catholic radio, at a time when teachings on the bible are offered and I very much appreciate them.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.