I didn’t think it would happen at all, much less so quickly, that I had to bail out of one of the local parish Bible study programs.
I’ve been trying to stay with it for about two years,* in spite of * the instructor’s lack of knowledge about the Bible.
The people who attend his class (and they come and go over time) are people who haven’t read the Bible - they don’t know what it says. Well, it’s good that they’re there, right?
Well, it’s good if they get the real teaching of the Bible.
The instructor is a retired school teacher. It’s a pattern that occurs in two nearby parishes that there are teachers in charge of the Bible study and that they both don’t really know what’s in the Bible.
the instructor in my class stated his qualifications last night this way: Before he became a Catholic, he was a Methodist and later attended the Church of God. He asserts his teaching authority that Protestants know the Bible better than Catholics.
My stomach starts to churn when he talks like that, because he’s treading on the popular misconception that all Catholics know little about the Bible. (Actually Protestants and Jews complain that Protestants and Jews, respectively, don’t know enough about scripture, too.) No one laughed, but it was laughable that being a Protestant makes him qualified to teach the Bible to Catholics. But, I let that remark go by.
We were studying the introduction to Jeremiah in the NAB study bible last evening. He popped up with the remark that Jeremiah was the greatest prophet in the Old Testament. He then kept going, but I had to interrupt when he slowed down enough to breathe, and I asked him, instead, if Moses wasn’t considered the greatest prophet in the OT.
He looked into the distance, squinted his eyes, and then said, “no [not Moses], I think Isaiah was the greatest prophet in the OT.”
After class, last evening, I sent him an email to try to enlighten him on this subject – that Moses is mentioned in the NT 77 times, but never Jeremiah or Isaiah, that Deut 34 says that Moses was the greatest prophet in the OT, etc.
He replied that his class is not a debate, that he is not going to debate anybody. So, I said that this was the parting of our ways.
A couple other people have left, privately complaining that this and an alternate instructor drift into the subject of politics, rather than sticking with scripture.
As happens in parishes, some people get themselves positioned into jobs like “teaching” the Bible and it is hard to unseat them, even though they are not competent. There is really no oversight (hint: “bishop” “overseer”).
I believe that there are Protestants who really do know what the Bible says, and would laugh at the pretentiousness of this “Catholic” Bible expert.
Anyway, I’m on my own again, necessarily forced into isolation. Ironically, it was at a session where we were studying a real prophet Jeremiah who was opposing a false prophet Hananiah. And, there I was trying to get a word in edgewise against a “teacher” who does not know as much as he purports to know.
In the Church, we’re getting slapped up about our responsibilities to evangelize, but we’re still in the dark ages when it comes to quality Bible study.