My main problem with studying Scripture


My main problem has always been a total division in my mind between reading the entire Bible and studying the Bible. The two seem incompatible. It seems like it would take *forever *to read the entire Bible if one studied it, or at least several years.

And it’s so dumb, because I probably could have finished the Bible since I returned to the Church, no matter how slowly I had done it.

I just can’t wrap my mind around how long this will take unless I zip through it. I have bought Bibles of all different sizes, and even cut one up into “manageable” bits, but still have not just read it, only parts of it.

(To be honest, I have the same problem in some other areas of my life: I either have to zip through, which makes me feel like I did a bad job, or do it so thoroughly that it takes forever, I can’t figure out what is ok not to do.)

Could a Catholic get by without reading the *entire *Bible? Could I just say, OK, not all these books are the most important, so I am not going to read all of them?


You could always decide to take it on in chunks. If you did that, you might want to consider taking it on by genre – reading the narrative books/chapters, or maybe psalms, or wisdom literature, or epistles, or gospels.

You could look for a parish near you that’s hosting Jeff Cavins’ “Bible Timeline” study. It teaches the “story” of the Bible by covering 14 books (which tell the story of salvation history).


Speed-read through the whole thing (depending upon the time and eye-strength you have available, this could be a Lenten or annual project); then go back and study it. :):slight_smile:



The most important books of the Bible are the four Gospels, the story of Christ’s life on earth. The rest of the New Testament ranks next in importance, and then the Old Testament. I know that this sounds odd, since the Old Testament happened first.

It does not take that long to read the New Testament. You do need commentary to grasp the full meaning. I recommend the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, New Testament.


Catholics were discouraged from reading the Bible until 1943, and after Vll things changed even more. So, I think that a practicing Catholic could do just fine without reading the Bible.

I’m more interested in understanding the Bible as a whole, and understanding typology. I also just enjoy picking up the Bible and choosing a book to read, whichever book it might be…even if it’s part of Numbers or Deuteronomy. And, I’d be lost without the introductions and footnotes.


Really? I’m thinking Pope Leo XIII would disagree with you – after all, he wrote Providentissimus Deus in 1893, recommending Scripture reading to Catholics. So would the fathers of the Third Council of Baltimore, who in 1884 recommended that Catholic families have a copy of the Bible at home and read it frequently!

Now, there might have been individuals who advised that Scripture reading wasn’t necessary… but the Church has always encouraged it. It’s an urban legend that the Church itself discouraged Scripture reading. :shrug:


I have the Bible on my phone and my IPod.
Its great. I just pick something and read. Just discovered Ecclestiastes. For everything there is a time…


My thoughts exactly. :thumbsup:


You could read it in a year, and there are Catholic versions that are set up so that you can do this.

You could also view it on DVD this way, too, if you would rather do that.

I have a Catholic One Year Bible, where the readings are divided so that you can go through the Bible in a year this way. It’s a Living Bible, so the translation is more modern than some other versions.

You can take a look inside of it to see what it looks like at Amazon:


This isn’t true, it is a popular myth used against the church.


Try this. Its online and free.


I agree heartily with speed reading (I invented my own method) but would add a few things.

Realise that the difference in tone between different portions is deliberate. Some portions of the Old Testament are meant to be preachy (some of Chronicles maybe) and some are meant to be riproaring. Most of the prophecies and psalms are gut and heart wrenching, just like real everyday life in all its rawness. The Epistles and the early chapters of Revelation are meant to shock us with thoughts of what the Church we know - and our own personal part in it - would be like if we really believed the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and from the Son, who ascending distributed gifts (these books, in common with nearly all the Bible, are not addressed to non-Christian). Mark and Luke are for outsiders to the Church, Matthew and John for insiders including those already of the Jewish religion. The Sermon On The Mount is a revision lesson for those already thoroughly catechised.

If you use an edition with marginal references similar to hyperlinks, researched by 2,000 years of Holy Spirit filled scholars, it helps you experience the unity of Holy Scriptures.

Also, dabble in as many different contrasting commentaries as you can, to get a feeling for which one or two to settle on (this is best done with the advice of several other Christians including clergy).

Wishing you fruitful delvings!


Identifying the reading and interpreting of the Bible as “Protestant” even affected the study of Scripture. Until the twentieth Century, it was only Protestants who actively embraced Scripture study. That changed after 1943 when Pope Pius XII issued the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu. This not only allowed Catholics to study Scripture, it encouraged them to do so. And with Catholics studying Scripture and teaching other Catholics about what they were studying, familiarity with Scripture grew.

I guess I should have said studying scripture, not reading. I’ve heard from my parents and others that they were discouraged from reading the Bible so I don’t think it’s an urban legend. There were surely different ways of doing things, but I don’t think I’ll be going around calling the old timers liars when they say they were discouraged from reading scripture.


Have it read by Summer!

Here is a Catholic version (Jeff Cavins of The Bible Timeline) which gives you the “big picture” in 90 days through reading 14 books.


I like the thought of doing the 14 books of the bible that tell ‘The Story’.

Then supplementing ‘The Story’ with the other books.

I’ve been doing a bit of Bible roulette for OT, and straight through NT.

Supplementing with info from scholars, alive or dead.

The last thing I learned was how reconciliation would not have been this shocking gift given to the Apostles as they were Jews and would have known / discussed / studied Leviticus (Specifically chapter 5).

Why to a Priest is necessary? Well there are a lot of answers surrounding how relationships work…

but say someone needs a bible answer as to why - when Jesus gave the authority to the Apostles to forgive sins, there doesn’t seem to be much more written about it?

Leviticus 5.

There was already a foundation.

I’ve just been digging in a lot more lately and this little nugget was an exciting find recently.

Take care,



Thanks everyone, for all your different ideas and suggestions.

I am going to take a little bit from each idea, and speed-read the the “story” books, taking notes about chronology and issues that come up, then read for “questions,” like finding all the prophecies, reading to see how to live a good life, reading for prayers in different times (praise, sorrow, etc.).

So maybe I won’t end up reading everynword in the Bible, but I will end up reading it!

Thanks again, to each of you: hearing different ways of thinking about reading the Bible was very helpful :slight_smile:


:slight_smile: SOME is better than NONE

But try this:

Start by reading the entire New Testiment

The OT Leads to Jesus and the NT completes, fulfills and perfects the OT

PRAY each time before starting asking the Holy Spirit to assist you:thumbsup:

God Bless you



I believe it is the way you read it that it is important. Sometimes only reading a sentence could be enough to think about in different ways for fifteen minutes to an hour. It is how it ties in your life with that of Christ’s. In other words read it more meditatively and thoughtfully placing yourself in the presence of God.

It doesn’t seem to me to be any virtue just to be reading the bible just so a person has the satisfaction of saying “I’ve read the whole bible.” Because it is the word of God which needs to be given the proper attention. It is what gets into the person with a lasting transformation.

Undoubtly the whole bible is the word of God and therefore the whole bible is important. But there are some parts that apply to us more in the hear and now more than other parts. And so whatever part of the bible is selected it should be read with the heart for it to have an effect. That means that someone could theoretically spead a whole year on one little part if that would do the greatest amount of good. It is just a simple idea of doing more thinking than reading and not about doing more reading than thinking. It should arouse in us a true praise and love of God by our reading.


Just pick up the Bible and start reading, you have to start somewhere. Exodus and Genesis are gripping stories. You just about get grips with creation, and by Genesis 7, God is planning to destroy life with the flood.

Read the bible at your own speed, and once you have read it, then you can read it again and again. You learn by repetition. Read different translations, and commentaries.


I read the Bible based on what I am interested in at the moment. Over time, what’s interesting expands based on what I have already read. I suppose I have read the whole book at least once- but still I bump into stuff that seems new.

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