How does Roman Catholics read the bible?

Hello everyone,

I ordered the Douay-Rheims bible from my local store on Saturday, and it should in about a week, or two weeks.

May someone please share with me how Roman Catholics really read the bible compared too other religions like Christians? Like, does Roman Catholics read it different? Do they read it as if it was one book meaning start with the beginning to the end? Or how?

Thank you,

I don’t know about all Catholics, but I have the ONE YEAR BIBLE – Catholic Edition, and I read the particular day every night before I turn out the light. Usually there is a reading from the Old Testament – then followed by a reading from the New Testament – then from the Psalms. On some days there is an Epistle reading – it just depends.
One of our priests has started a Bible class one day a week after Mass – we’re reading St. Luke’s Gospel now, and it’s beautiful. Hope this helps.

There is really no one or unique way Catholics read the Bible practically speaking. Just as a personal suggestion, start simple by looking up the readings for upcoming Mass and read them beforehand.

Thank you! So, do you mean by it should be read as a one big book meaning it should be read from beginning to end? Am I understanding correctly? I’m sorry, but I could be wrong.

Parts of Dei Verbum are relevant to your inquiry, especially subjects addressed in chapters 3-6; however, in a sense, the whole Constitution could be helpful to understanding and imbibing the mind of the Church:

Dei Verbum.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also contains some relevant paragraphs, and may be a better reference, since the Catechism is in a way a summary of the Church’s teachings by subject, and of course Sacred Scripture, and the appropriate reading of it, is addressed:

CCC 101-118; 121-130, and 133.

God bless.

You may not have intended it this way, but the way your question is worded is offensive. It lists Roman Catholics as separate from Christians. Roman Catholics ARE Christians–in fact, they are the ORIGINAL Christians, long before any other sect existed. I think the other word you mean is Protestants.

Non-Catholic christians read the biblical texts in a slightly different way from us depending on the particular church, ecclesial community or ‘non-denominational’ individual you ask.

We see the bible as a collection of genres which manifest Gods word insofar as it has been written down for use in the Living community of the Church over the past 2000 years. The catechism citations and the document Dei Verbum would give you a better insight than any mere paraphrase we can offer here.

I do NOT recommend starting at the beginning and trying to read through.
Depending on your background and knowledge of Christianity and such yo might choose different approaches but the one I recommend is this…

My suggestion is that you read the Gospels first. Since it will be right at Christmas time, you might want to start with “Luke” since it has the Nativity Story in it. Well actually both Matthew and Luke have nativity narratives, but Luke’s is the more “Traditional” version.
Anyway…Matthew Mark and Luke are what is called the “Synoptic” Gospels and follow a more traditional “chronological” format. John’s Gospel is very beautiful but is more of a “prose” style. Doing this will give you a good grounding in Jesus incarnate life, death and resurrection as well as many of his miracles and teachings.

I would then recommend reading the Acts of the Apostles. Through this you can get an idea of how the early Church spread, some of the problems encountered, missionary journeys etc.

The letters (Epistles) will contain much teaching from the Apostles (mainly Paul) and supplement the Gospels very nicely.

The one book in the NT to avoid (for now) is Revelation. It is a book very difficult to read and understand.

Now - for the Christian, the OT can be viewed primarily as"background" for the NT. In other words, everything there points forward to Jesus and Jesus fulfills that which is prophesied in the OT.
Besides the prophetic books, the OT contains a lot of history…which is good to know but as I said earlier, this can be difficult to get through…and if you primary interest is in what is required of us now then the NT - not the OT - is the place to start.

My personal favorite book in the Bible is Matthew…:thumbsup:


There are many different “ways” of reading Sacred Scripture. I suppose it depends on how you want to benefit from it.

One way is to read short passages and meditate on them to discern how God is calling you to reform your life. I think this is the practice known as Lectio Divina.

Another is reading for reading’s sake. Generally, this works best with a literary translation like the Jerusalem Bible.

Another is to study it in depth to understand the meaning intended by the inspired authors. Usually, this works best with a concordance and dictionary of Biblical languages or other tools that are conducive to your style of study.

BTW, it is usually best to start with the Gospels and Psalms.

No, we do not read it all as one book. The different books of the Bible aren’t even always in the same genre, beyond the fact that they’re all religious texts. Some are written as history books (like the Books of Kings or Acts of the Apostles), some are allegory (like Job or Revelation), some are books of good advice (Wisdom) and some are letters (the Epistles)

I suppose it depends on what you want from your time in the Word. If you want to go to sleep, the first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles is a good section. Or Numbers. I’m sure it was vitally important to know that each tribe donated the same things to the Tabernacle, but…the lists get pretty boring.:smiley:

When reading the New Testament, especially the letters, I would recommend reading the entire letter straight through once, just to get the flow of the thought, etc. Then go back and use them for Lectio Divina, slowly meditating on each section.

Read the Gospels a little at a time, if you are starting there.

As a Protestant, I always felt like I had to read the entire Bible in a year (or less). I find I get more out of it by taking it slowly. Wherever you start, when something strikes you, whether you have read a chapter or only a verse, stop and take time to think about it. What is God saying to you, directly, where you are in your life?

The one method I don’t recommend is the “hunt and peck” method. That’s where you randomly open the Bible looking for a “word” from God. Sometimes it’s successful, sometimes you get “Woe to you Assyria” or “And Judas went out and hung himself.” “Go and do likewise.” ::shrug:

Open your heart and ask God to speak to you. He will.

How do we read the Bible?

By turning the pages, one at a time?

Is this a trick question?


I read the Gospels daily when possible. I’m on Matthew 11 today. I read Paul’s letters quite a bit. I read Proverbs daily (there’s 31 according to some lady on KLove radio). I find I read the books I really love the most. I spend a lot of time in the 4 Gospels. I love Jesus and his words, admonishments and all.

Pretty much I read it just like any other Christian would read it. In any order I want, with the understanding that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

I would start with the Gospel accounts, then move on to the Epistles.

While the Old Testament is important, there are lot of areas where the going is tedious, so I personally would start with the New Testament.

I don’t think reading the bible beginning to end will be that helpful, especially to someone new to it.

Think of the Bible not as a book, but as a library with many books in it.

Catholics read the bible the same way everyone else reads…from left to right. :slight_smile:

No, there is no special way to read it that is particularly Catholic besides “Lectio Divina”…but that is not standard practice, more like a type of meditation.

No, it wasn’t suppose to be a trick question. I did a Google, and asked how does Catholics read the bible because I wasn’t sure, and I read somewhere on this site to read the entire bible as a book.

I’m very sorry, and I didn’t mean anything by it, and I live in a group home for the mentally challenge, and I learn slower then people that has a higher IQ. I’m very sorry about all of that.

That’s OK, don’t worry about it!! It just seemed a funny question to me, but I understand why you asked it. And, I’m sorry if I seemed flippant or sharp in my response.

Reading the Bible from the beginning to the end is very difficult - Kings and Judges stop most people in their tracks, and that’s just the Old Testament! The other posters have recommended starting with the Gospels, and that’s a great suggestion. That’s the history of our Church, after all. And many of the New Testament books are shorter than the Old Testament books. I believe there are some reading plans on-line, but I’m not sure about specifically Catholic reading plans for the Bible.

My definition of a Catholic reading plan is just one that includes Deuterocanon :shrug: (By the way, did you know the spellchecker in Chrome has never heard of Deuterocanon?)

Thank you very much! May you please provide some sites you could find specifically for Catholic reading plans? I know you said you are not sure about Catholic reading plans, but maybe you could find some for me?

I’m not getting my DR Holy Bible for free. I’m actually buying it brand new. It already been ordered. It should be in the store next week the earliest, or the following week the latest. I can’t wait until I receive it.

Well first off Catholics are the most numerous and first Christians. Second there is no “Church approved” or universal way for “Catholics” to read the Bible. The Church does not dictate to us when or what to read. Third, there are many ways to read the Bible, but for someone who is just starting out and may not have a huge theological background I would not recommend beginning to end. The Books are not in chronological order. I cannot remember the stat but a huge huge majority of people who start out with the intent to read the Bible hardly ever make it past Numbers. I would heartily suggest a good Catholic Bible study program to aid your reading. Without a basic Catholic foundation you will not understand a great many things.

I have read the scriptures many times. I have read them many ways. If I were just doing this for the first time I would start with the Gospels and then the rest of the New Testament and then the Old Testament but I would read the old Chronologically. Then I would read the Gospels AGAIN because the Old Testament and Covenant will be extremely evident in the Gospels and only then can you truly understand who Jesus is.

The most meaningful way I have ever read it was last year I started with Acts then the OT then finished with the Gospels. It was powerful. But I can only recommend this if you have read them before or have a good understanding of Judeo Christian writings.

If you read about 5 pages a day it would take you about a year. I think you should pace yourself so you have time to pray and reflect and research what you are reading.

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