Reading the Bible for Catholics


#1

Hello y'all,

I come from a Protestant background where all I did was read and study and pretty much devour every single word of the Bible because the Protestant idea is that you can interpret the Bible for yourself. I even learned OT Hebrew and NT Greek to be able to devour it back to the word origins!

Now as a Catholic, I haven't spent as much time reading the Bible except during Mass or the occasional quote in the writings of Saints. It feels almost intimidating to read the Bible now because it wouldn't be for personal interpretation of Scripture but it would be for pure devotion.

Can y'all give me some tips or ways to read the Bible through the Catholic lens or provide some insight if y'all are feeling this way too.

Blessings!

Landon


#2

Hi Landon,

I wish I had had your courage and diligence in learning Hebrew and Greek as well as reading the Bible assiduously. It would be a great loss for you and those around you if you did not continue your excellent habits.

You certainly know your favorite passages. I suggest you take one a day and meditate on it.

  1. You read it through to absorb what it is about
  2. You read it again to extract some spiritual benefit.
  3. You meditate on what you have just read a) recall a passage that most strikes you b) try to apply it to you own life c) propose to take some concrete action

It is a good idea to ask the help of the Holy Spirit before you start reading the Bible.

Verbum


#3

[quote="landon13, post:1, topic:329981"]
Hello y'all,

I come from a Protestant background where all I did was read and study and pretty much devour every single word of the Bible because the Protestant idea is that you can interpret the Bible for yourself. I even learned OT Hebrew and NT Greek to be able to devour it back to the word origins!

Now as a Catholic, I haven't spent as much time reading the Bible except during Mass or the occasional quote in the writings of Saints. It feels almost intimidating to read the Bible now because it wouldn't be for personal interpretation of Scripture but it would be for pure devotion.

Can y'all give me some tips or ways to read the Bible through the Catholic lens or provide some insight if y'all are feeling this way too.

Blessings!

Landon

[/quote]

If I may suggest, I would look up and study Catholic Doctrines that Protestants do not agree on. Not only are you reading the bible for content but also to become a mini apologetic. I Started reading the Bible some 4 months ago, never had I really read it, but not only am I reading it, but Im making sure I know why we believe in the Virgin Mary to be the Ark of the Convenant (that's just one example)


#4

[quote="landon13, post:1, topic:329981"]
Hello y'all,

I come from a Protestant background where all I did was read and study and pretty much devour every single word of the Bible because the Protestant idea is that you can interpret the Bible for yourself. I even learned OT Hebrew and NT Greek to be able to devour it back to the word origins!

Now as a Catholic, I haven't spent as much time reading the Bible except during Mass or the occasional quote in the writings of Saints. It feels almost intimidating to read the Bible now because it wouldn't be for personal interpretation of Scripture but it would be for pure devotion.

Can y'all give me some tips or ways to read the Bible through the Catholic lens or provide some insight if y'all are feeling this way too.

Blessings!

Landon

[/quote]

You have been blessed with good studying but, it might not mean much unless you are born again and receive His inspiriation and revelation on what scripture means, for He is His own interpreter, and scripture is not up to private interpretation.So you can not interpret bible for yourself . What protestants do say is that God desires to individually reveal as well as corporately His interpretation.He is not a respector of persons. It is for pastors and laity alike. Him who seeks shall find.


#5

[quote="pocohombre, post:4, topic:329981"]
You have been blessed with good studying but, it might not mean much unless you are born again and receive His inspiriation and revelation on what scripture means, for He is His own interpreter, and scripture is not up to private interpretation.So you can not interpret bible for yourself . What protestants do say is that God desires to individually reveal as well as corporately His interpretation.He is not a respector of persons. It is for pastors and laity alike. Him who seeks shall find.

[/quote]

That is what I meant to say when I was talking about my former Protestant beliefs but now I realize that we shouldn't use private interpretation but the Church should interpret scripture for:

Knowing this first that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit

2 Peter 1:20-21

I don't trust the individual interpretation of Scripture by individual men or trying to hear the will of God from a mans mouth but only the True Church which is the "pillar and bullwark of truth"


#6

Well said! :thumbsup:

I read the bible and it helps me understand my faith. I was raised Protestant and then converted and now as I read through the bible I see almost word for word descriptions of what the church teaches. For example look up James 2:15 I think for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. The bible is good for personal reflection and study but no way on our own can we interpret it ourselves.


#7

[quote="Sacredheart1208, post:6, topic:329981"]
Well said! :thumbsup:

I read the bible and it helps me understand my faith. I was raised Protestant and then converted and now as I read through the bible I see almost word for word descriptions of what the church teaches. For example look up James 2:15 I think for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. The bible is good for personal reflection and study but no way on our own can we interpret it ourselves.

[/quote]

I totally agree with you. Now as I look through the Bible it is almost word for word what the Church teaches that I have argued against for years. Especially in the book of James. There it talks about Confession, Anointing of the Sick, and why Sola Fide "faith alone" is not enough.

Blessings!


#8

Glad you agree. I feel the same way! The book of James helped me so much when a Protestant friend would try to slam th Carholic church or promote something unbiblical such as sola scriptura and faith alone, because James says faith without works is dead.


#9

[quote="Sacredheart1208, post:8, topic:329981"]
Glad you agree. I feel the same way! The book of James helped me so much when a Protestant friend would try to slam th Carholic church or promote something unbiblical such as sola scriptura and faith alone, because James says faith without works is dead.

[/quote]

If you look at Protestant history, Martin Luther actually tried to remove the book of James from the New Testament. Probably because the doctrines it mentions aren't going with his protesting the Catholic Church.


#10

That is a good example. Another good one is that of confirmation. Protestants state that confirmation is not biblical. Well, we see that in the New Testament their 2 laying of the hands, one is for priesthood and the second of the Holy Spirit coming to people. That is confirmation. The Church says that the holy spirit has 7 signs, and if you read Isaiah 11:1-4, you see those 7 virtues of the Holy Spirit.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.


#11

[quote="chero23, post:10, topic:329981"]
That is a good example. Another good one is that of confirmation. Protestants state that confirmation is not biblical. Well, we see that in the New Testament their 2 laying of the hands, one is for priesthood and the second of the Holy Spirit coming to people. That is confirmation. The Church says that the holy spirit has 7 signs, and if you read Isaiah 11:1-4, you see those 7 virtues of the Holy Spirit.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.

[/quote]

Now why can't they see that? It's as plain as day? Is it denial or just there not educated enough in the bible?


#12

[quote="Sacredheart1208, post:11, topic:329981"]
Now why can't they see that? It's as plain as day? Is it denial or just there not educated enough in the bible?

[/quote]

Unfortunately but true. here's another one. The Ark of the Convenant, We see in 2 Samuel verse 6, how David dances in Front of the Ark, how he states how can the Ark of God Come to me, and how it stayed there for 3 months. Then go to Luke, and you see how Elizabeth says, "How can the mother of my Lord come to me", How John the baptist starts dancing when he hears Mary talk, and how the Blessed Virgin stays with Elizabeth for 3 months. I mean the Bible cannot be anymore Catholic.


#13

[quote="chero23, post:12, topic:329981"]
Unfortunately but true. here's another one. The Ark of the Convenant, We see in 2 Samuel verse 6, how David dances in Front of the Ark, how he states how can the Ark of God Come to me, and how it stayed there for 3 months. Then go to Luke, and you see how Elizabeth says, "How can the mother of my Lord come to me", How John the baptist starts dancing when he hears Mary talk, and how the Blessed Virgin stays with Elizabeth for 3 months. I mean the Bible cannot be anymore Catholic.

[/quote]

Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for pointing that out to me. I have never made that connection.

God bless you!


#14

[quote="landon13, post:13, topic:329981"]
Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for pointing that out to me. I have never made that connection.

God bless you!

[/quote]

You can also see how the Ark of the Convenant carried 3 things, (1) the manna, which is the Bread of life, (2) the laws of God (ten commandmants) were in the ark, (3) and the Rod of Aaron, who is the High priest. now look at mary she carried Jesus, (1) he is the bread of eternal life, (2) he spoke of the law of God, and 3) he is the eternal high priest.

Unfortunately our protestant friends read the bible but don't read it with content. And if they did, then they could not turn their back on the truth


#15

For the OP, I've been there and done that. My suggestion is to continue to devour every word and use even more zeal and passion to learn the Bible. No need to be intimidated by Catholicism and Scripture, Catholicism gives us greater advantages to learn Scripture because we have 2000 years of the greatest minds articulating Scripture, which means we have no threat of misguiding ourselves or trying to reinvent the wheel. Catholicism is not a hinderance to learning Scripture by any means.


#16

Though I was born into a Catholic household and received the sacraments at an early age, my parents left the Church and started hopping from religion to religion in an effort to find a “solution” to their marital problems (it wasn’t religion that ended up being the source of their problems, it was their lack of devotion to one another…but that’s another story for another time).

Short end of the story, I ended up stuck in a Kingdom Hall at age 17, surrounded by Jehovah’s Witnesses until I was able to “escape” later in my 20s.

In the self-assured shadows of the Watchtower we read and “devoured” the Bible in a very ego-assuring way that made us feel nobody had more to study about Scripture than we did. But I went further than most.

I also learned the original languages like you did—and I thought I knew more than anyone else in any other religion could as a result—even though I was from a Jewish background where Hebrew is a staple, and of course growing up in a Catholic household I had a good foundation on Latin (studying koine Greek led to my seeing a need for quick escape from the Watchtower more than anything). In reality the Witnesses are against learning the original languages in the manner I did because it involved learning from scholars (the JW religion has no scholars).

Anyway, when I returned to the Church I ended up reading and studying the text more than ever. I thought that it would just be “devotional” reading like you mention, but it turns out nothing can be further from the truth. And I also learned how lacking I was in my understanding of the original tongues.

There is so much Scripture readings to study in just day-to-day worship in the Church, more than I realized as a Witness. Now I make sure I keep up with the daily texts for Mass (not just Sunday), pray the Liturgy of the Hours (which is a four-week cycle of praying the Psalms as well as texts from the Scriptures and the Church Fathers and saints), and get a balanced view of study from various Catholic Bible study editions (there are many schools of thought).

Boy I wish I could tell those JWs how wrong they are about Catholics and the Bible. The Witnesses only have 100 years of theology (and they just recently dismissed almost all of that century of teaching due to “new light” they claim to have received over the past five years, so that is all gone and waste of time).

There is 2000 years of Church interpretation, research, exegesis, textual and scholarly study that far exceeds anything any other Christian denomination can provide—in fact, nothing compares with it.

When you compare all the information and fine volumes of study as well as approaches such as Lectio Divina, you will likely come to realize what I did: Any church that claims it has more to study and more to offer in Biblical studies than Holy Mother Church is just kidding itself.

So if you enjoy Bible study—real scholarly study like I do—then you’ve come to the right place, the Catholic Church. And you are in for a great time—there’s more than devotional reading for Catholics out there—so much more!


#17

There are a couple of ways to read Scripture as a Catholic that are quite meaningful:

One is called Lectio Divina which allows us to meditate on the word in prayer. Very helpful for drawing personal meaning from what we read.

The other is to follow the daily Mass readings (Lectio Divina can be applied to this, as well): www.dailygospel.org. I like this particular website because it includes readings from the saints, catechism, popes, etc. on the Gospel reading of the day.

Another thing you might want to try, and which the Church highly recommends, although not formal Scripture study, but rather praying the Scripture, is the Liturgy of the Hours: divineoffice.org/. Most lay people pray Morning and Evening Prayer and perhaps Compline.

Both the daily Mass readings and the LOTH take us through the Church calendar so we are in line with the prayers and liturgies of the Church.

I hope these suggestions help. :)


#18

I'm a cradle" Catholic and read the Bible every night before I turn out the light -- the Bible I have is "The One Year Bible -- Catholic Edition" . Each and every day there is usually a reading from the Old Testament -- then maybe something from the Psalms -- then the last reading is from the New Testament or Acts of the Apostles -- so in one year I go through the entire Bible.


#19

[quote="landon13, post:1, topic:329981"]
Hello y'all,

I come from a Protestant background where all I did was read and study and pretty much devour every single word of the Bible because the Protestant idea is that you can interpret the Bible for yourself. I even learned OT Hebrew and NT Greek to be able to devour it back to the word origins!

Now as a Catholic, I haven't spent as much time reading the Bible except during Mass or the occasional quote in the writings of Saints. It feels almost intimidating to read the Bible now because it wouldn't be for personal interpretation of Scripture but it would be for pure devotion.

Can y'all give me some tips or ways to read the Bible through the Catholic lens or provide some insight if y'all are feeling this way too.

Blessings!

Landon

[/quote]

A good start would be to get A Catholic study Bible like this one....

ignatius.com/IProducts/29980/new-testament.aspx

Now that's only the New Testament. They are working on the Old Testament. But here is a Catholic Bible study on line that is free and very good....

agapebiblestudy.com/Luke_Gospel/Luke_Lesson_2.htm

I linked you to Luke 1:39-56 where you can read about the comparisons of 2 Samuel and Luke that were mentioned earlier.


#20

Reading all four gospels almost turned me into a protestant, I needed help afterwards with purpagtory, salvation, mediator. So be very careful and read bible with supervison.


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