Should I joing a non-denominational Bible Study Group?


I’m really interested in learning more about my faith and about the sacred scriptures, but my local church does not offer any classes. I’ve looked everywhere and nothing. A local “non-denominational” church offers many courses that teach about sacred scripture.

I’m Catholic, should I join these groups? I just bought a book written by Stephen Ray, “St. John’s Gospel” and he says that this book would be helpful for those Catholics attending non-denominational bible study groups.



I wouldn’t recommend it. Most of these groups only give you individuals private opinions and they present it as fact. You can be certain they will deny Catholic teachings, and discount any you present.

What big city are you near? Maybe someone here can help you find a Catholic group.


There are online Catholic Bible studies, such as these: scroll down for the online studies.


Rather than going outside of your parish to find a small group of people wanting to learn more about the Bible, why not first start with your own parish?

You said your parish does not offer any classes. Well, maybe that means God is calling you to get one started. :wink: I’m sure there are others in your parish who would greatly benefit from participating in such a study.

Of course, having the priest participate is nice, but not always possible. That’s okay. You don’t need to necessarily have a resident Bible scholar at your parish to lead the Bible study (though that would be nice!). There are many programs available (such as the Great Adventure Bible Timeline) which make it easy for any parish group to study the Bible in a systematic way.

Our parishes will never improve their offerings if we don’t step up and contribute our own service. It’s not just about what our parish can offer us but about how we can serve our neighbors through our parish.


Doing a St. John’s gospel Bible study with protestants would be interesting to say the least.especially when it is called the Sacramental Gospel :)…here is an excellent audio Catholic Bible study on John…

Here is a free online Catholic Bible study that will really help you grow in your Faith and has been endorsed by Scott Hahn…

It does not have all the books of the Bible yet but enough to keep you busy and it has topical studies also. You can print out the lessons and it has questions (and answers). It also has many references to the Catechism which is essential in any decent Catholic Bible study.


I agree with Joe. Chances are there are other members of your parish who would love to sit and discuss and learn more about the faith. Starting a Bible study group isn’t hard at all. Just talk with your priest about it. Even if his schedule doesn’t allow for him to be present at every meeting, he may be able to recommend some books or other resources, and perhaps one of the deacons may join in. It can even be advertised in the weekly announcements, and your priest could even make an announcement at the end of Mass so that the congregation knows the meeting times, place, etc.

You’d be surprised how many people would show up.

As far as the non-denominational study group, personally I would not take that particular path to learn more about the Catholic faith. I’ve attended plenty of study groups in my time, and generally enjoyed the good conversation and met some very nice people in the process, but unfortunately (in my experience) most non-catholics have practically zero knowledge of the history of the Church, know little or nothing about the saints, and can often times have a very skewed understanding of Catholic practices. (One I hear a lot of is that Catholics are idolaters, or that we worship Mary and the saints, which of course is false.)

Also, as someone else mentioned above, you never really know if what you are hearing at a non-denominational meeting is fact or opinion, which is unfortunate. I notice a lot of the time scripture is taken our of context, or purposefully skewed to fit an individual’s own agenda.

I once sat through a Baptist sermon where the pastor declared alcohol to be the true root of all evil, and then went on to explain that Jesus did not turn water into wine at the wedding feast, but rather created a non-alcoholic grape juice… which makes no sense. If he would have read a few lines further he would have had to read the bit about ‘saving the best for last’ and a paragraph further would have been the inebriated fellow falling out of the window.

I mention this merely as an example. Also, Protestants in general usually don’t have a very good grasp of what the Sacraments are, or how they are to be used, and when.

non-denominational prayer groups can be a lot of fun, and a great way to meet people or even try to spread a better understanding of your own faith, but in my experience they simply aren’t the best way to actually learn about the Catholic faith.


I attended a Baptist Bible study for 3 years and I was HUGELY blessed by it. They were very welcoming and in all of that time I think I only heard about two things that were not in line with Catholic teaching.

I think there are a lot of blessings in group studies and if you don’t have an opportunity in a Catholic setting, by all means take the opportunity with other brothers & sisters who also love Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern what you are hearing and to guide you, and otherwise relax, enjoy, and learn. :thumbsup:


Also, come to think of it, you may want to find out if your parish has an RCIA (Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults) class. It is very much like a Bible study class, and is full of a lot of great information. Usually everyone is welcome to attend, whether you are a person converting to the faith, or simply someone who wishes to ‘brush up’ on your knowledge.

Our Church is starting one at the beginning of September. It’ll run until Easter.

Might be another avenue for you to look into. :slight_smile:


No. Non-denominational interpretation of many Bible passages is out of line with the way the Bible has been understood for 2,000 years. As such, you will end up “learning” a bunch of misunderstandings, which won’t help you. I’d only recommend such a group for someone who already knew the Bible and their Catholic Faith very well.


The bold part above is a good example of a Catholic swallowing a Protestant idea without even noticing it (which is why you shouldn’t spend 3 years studying the Bible with them unless you are already well formed in the Faith). The Holy Spirit guides the Church to understand the Scriptures, not individual believers (which idea is at the heart of sola fide which Luther invented to justify his revolt).


I participated in a group of about 10 people for almost two years, until it disbanded. Only two of us were Catholics; there was a lot of pressure on us to explain and or defend Catholic teachings. My friend loved the challenge and was good at it, thank God, or I would have been very uncomfortable. But we have a good and helpful Catholic Catechism, whereas there is virtually no comparable protestant document, so we have a good basis for our understanding and interpretation of Scripture whereas it seems most protestants have a huge variety of opinions that wander all over the place, and mostly they will argue with each other, although usually not with the degree of intensity they have in their objections to Catholicism.
The sessions encouraged me to read the Bible much more carefully and fully than I ever have before or since. And I found many things in the Bible I had never given much consideration to. Our parish has only had a few very brief adult Bible study sessions (only when a priest is available) and I personally feel this is a terrible mistake. I encourage you to go, even though it is possible there will be one or more individuals who are unpleasant, irreverent, and insufferable. If so, just say thanks and goodby.


Also… check out the Institute of Catholic Culture run by FrDn. Sabbatino Carnazzo, of the Melkite Church:


In order to learn your faith, Gabbanelli911, I suggest getting a study guide for the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s fine to study the Bible, especially with a reliable Catholic study course, but in order to undestand how it all fits into our lives as Catholics you need to read and understand something of the CCC, as well. For Catholics are not “people of the book.” We don’t look to the Bible alone for doctrine/dogma and morals. We look to the Church founded on the Apostles. :slight_smile:


Indeed and in that Catechism is an excellent section on how Catholics should approach Scripture reading/study…

113 2. Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church”. According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (". . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church").


I was fortunate that nobody ever pressured me to explain Catholic teachings.

AMEN - that was my own experience as well. It sparked a great love of the Bible for me, and I continue to read it daily.

Again … amen. :thumbsup:


I’ve never heard that before, and doesn’t sound quite right to me. If that were the case, why wouldn’t the Pope alone be given the gift of the Holy Spirit? Why are all believers given the gift of the Spirit dwelling within? Of course if my understanding is opposed to Church teaching I surrender my own and hold fast to the Church. But the Holy Spirit often speaks to me as I read Scriptures each day.

Can you show me anything in official doctrine that plainly states that the Holy Spirit does not guide individuals to understanding Scriptures?


No–Find a catholic one, or join a men’s or women’s group and listen to catholic answers and watch EWTN


The Holy Spirit gives us the gifts of wisdom and understanding, but we are not expected to read the Bible without the guidance of the Church - that’s what the Church is there for, and why the Holy Spirit empowered the Church at Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t come to us to teach us what the Church is supposed to be teaching us, but rather, to give us the receptivity of mind and humility to be able to receive the teachings without disputing or doubting them.


so did the translaters get it wrong??

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the …

1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing you received from him …
Bible Hub
But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need …

. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is … And if The Anointing will remain with you which you have received from him, … revelation and doctrine, for the whole Gospel was come by Jesus Christ, and

Thanks – i have not seen any one define the limitation fo the Holy Spirit like this –

it eliminates all of Saint Paul writings-- especally – 1 cor 12 and 1 cor 14- and ephesians -

Ephesians 4:5 states there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
Some Christians interpret this to mean that a single denomination
(with its beliefs, doctrines, and practices) constitutes the “one true faith.”

Other Christians interpret this to mean that a group of denominations (with their collective beliefs, doctrines, and practices, which are sometimes different or even contradictory) constitutes a collective “one true faith.”-


Thanks for all the commentaries. I think it’s best for me to stay away from this “non-denominational” bible studies that will probably confuse me. I liked the idea of doing my own bible study group at my local parish, but before I do that, I need to study more.

I bought the Navarre Bible and that has a lot of good commentary and I also found a very good website that has audio commentary on all four gospels:

My problem is that I’m not very good at explaining myself. I understand some of the things that I read but when it comes time to explaining them, then I get into trouble. I’m kind of like Moses, but with God’s help I know that I can do it.

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