Non-Denominational Bible Study


Hey CAF,

I’m posting to ask your advice.
My dad, a non-denominational protestant, has invited me for the first time to one of his Bible studies. I’m a college freshman, but I believe most of the people there will be older men closer to my dad’s age.
So, what should I expect?
Most importantly, as the only Catholic there, what is expected of me by the Church? Should I stick up for the true interpretation of a passage if it comes up, and if I’m able to recognize it?
Or am I overthinking this? Do you think the protestant-Catholic schism will be a real issue?
I’d like to go for my dad’s sake, but, as a final possibility, should I just refuse to go?

All help is much appreciated!



I would go, but keep my mouth shut. If anyone asks you for input, offer it as a Catholic, but otherwise be quiet.


Some protestant groups can be overtly anti-Catholic. They will attack you on every issue from the color of Marys hair to whether or not you should kiss the Popes foot. :blackeye:

Other groups are just down-to-earth believers like you, who love the Word of God. If they present a different perspective to what you have been taught, how can that hurt?

Merry Christmas,


“Non-denominational” is very much a denomination. It is the Evangelical branch off the Baptist (usually) Protestant. They are very doctrinal in their belief in being “born again” by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, Once saved Always saved, non-regeneration of Baptism, Sola Scriptura, and their denial of Sacraments, the Priesthood and the visible Church.

Therefore you will get a particularly virulent form of Protestant bias within their Bible study. :frowning:

OTOH, it may be what is claims to be, a meeting of all sorts of denominations, and therefore more mainline Protestant. Either way you better really KNOW your Catholic Faith and your Bible if you plan on studying with them. :wink:


What are they planning to study?? This can make quite a difference as to what (if any) serious differences might crop up.

Do you think your dad mishgt be trying to expose you to the “real” bible - or do you think that he, and the others, would be truly interested in a Catholic perspective?



Hey Ambrose,

Yes, I know all about the non-denominational denomination; I’m afraid my dad would fit into the former group. He fell away from the Church several years ago, but harbors no dislike for it as I know some ex-Catholics can… He really is a great guy; not at all violently opposed to anything Catholic. We’re both too good of friends, too wily, and too knowledgeable about the other’s faith to try to *openly *evangelize each other; not that I didn’t try when I was younger.
I’m not sure about the group itself though.
And I’m definitely not sure if I’m a knowledgeable enough Catholic! You should quiz me–throw some overtly anti-Catholic protestant stuff at me and see how well I do.



Hey James,

Yes, I know your first question is crucial, but I just don’t know.

I think my dad’s motive might actually be that he wanted someone to have Pho noodle soup with afterwards. :slight_smile: We know each other too well for him to try either possibility of your second question; I don’t think he thinks this is really a big deal.
I’m not sure about other people in the group though.



Based on what you have shared so far about your dad, I’d say go ahead and go. If anyone in the group starts to get too anti-Catholic it sounds like your dad would be right by your side.

Could wind up being a very interesting experience.



For example you should have a good grasp on the Sacramental aspect of Christianity. What it is, and where it is found in the Bible; Baptismal regeneration, the ministerial priesthood and apostolic succession; Covenental theology of the Bible. The Word of God as authority and where it is found. The practices of the Early Church as found in the testimony of the ECFs If you are comfortable with these topics, you should do fine! :wink:


Sometimes it just means all denominations are welcome. :shrug: This was the case for a Bible study I attended in college.


Thanks James; that’s what I was thinking. :slight_smile:

And Ambrose; I’ll do my best if it comes up, but otherwise I’ll probably just take kkollwitz’s advise and keep my mouth shut, for fear of starting an argument or doing more harm than good.

Thanks again to all responders.



I would go and of course you should state what the Church teaches. Along with your Catholic Bible bring along a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Right off the bat it will let them know that the Catholic Church does not adhere to Bible alone. :slight_smile: Just lay some ground rules that you will explain the Catholic interpretation but there will be no debate. You should be able to know in advance what book, chapters, etc. will be talked about so you can do some research beforehand for the Catholic teaching. You might be exposing some of these people to Catholic understanding for the first time.


Thanks, Johnny.

Bringing a Catechism is a good idea; I’ll probably just use the one I have on my phone.

Hopefully ground rules won’t be necessary, but I will ask for them if an argument seems impending.

I would be worried about your last point, but I think that would be the wrong attitude. I’ll support the truth if it comes up, but otherwise I’ll probably just follow Trent Horn’s advice:
“Instead of going into a conversation with the attitude “I’m going to win,” go into the conversation with the attitude “I’m going to be winsome,” and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us,’ A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.’”



Yes, definitely do this. No need to turn anyone off.


And PS - I think you’ll find you have far more in common with these people than not. The “non-denominational” Bible study I attended with my Catholic roommate in college (I was protestant) really never hit on our differences at all in two years.


My comment had nothing to do with ‘winning’. It was directed at your comment here…

And I’m definitely not sure if I’m a knowledgeable enough Catholic!

If it is the case that you will be explaining Catholic teaching to some who might never have come across it then you might want to study up. That’s all. It’s not about winning, it’s about proclaiming the Truth.


I’m guessing you didn’t study John or James? :slight_smile:


Hey again Johnny,

You understandably misunderstood me. :slight_smile: I meant me worrying myself unnecessarily to set a good example going in would probably be the wrong attitude. I thought your advice was very wise.

The quote was directed at myself, not you. We’re on the same page here. As my grandpa would say, “Cool your whistle.”



I honestly don’t recall. This was going on 20 years back. It was a pretty respectful group of guys for “University of State” males.


I have attended non-denominational bible studies before. I have always found it to be a great opportunity to dispel a lot of myths about what Catholics believe. When asked, tell them what you think of the scripture, and defend any remarks about the Church when not asked :slight_smile:

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