So I’ve recently taken up the daunting task of reading the entire Bible. I bought The Catholic Study Bible: New American Bible Revised Edition (Second Edition) a while back, and I thought it was a good choice, mainly because it’s a specifically Catholic Bible, complete with essays on biblical interpretation, maps, footnotes, and an extensive reading guide that I hoped would prove invaluable in further understanding Scripture. It also had a Nihal Obstat and an Imprimatur, so I didn’t have any worries about selecting it after seeing that confirmation.
But reading these forums and the 1906 Pontifical Biblical Commission’s statements on Mosaic authorship, and comparing it to my Bible’s essays in the reading guide that seem to endorse the JEDP hypothesis, I’m now thoroughly disappointed and at a stand-still in my studies. Do I seriously need to become an expert on biblical scholarship before feeling comfortable with reading Scripture? Am I not allowed to study it on my own? I desperately desire background information on the books in the Bible so I can much better understand them and be able to explain things to critics I may come across (and, of course, appreciate the books more). But now there doesn’t seem to be any reliable place to go, because no matter what books I read or what people I talk to, someone on this forum is probably going to call me out for either heresy or fundamentalism should I post my experiences and acquired knowledge here. It seems to be a no-win situation.
All I want is to read and study the Bible from a Catholic perspective without being neurotic about it. Unless it’s best to “err on the side of caution” and not study it at all should I risk my eternal salvation by subscribing to heretical beliefs. So, how do you read through the Bible on your own without any worries? Just read the text itself without any background information, or what?
Oh, and also, did the Nihal Obstat and Imprimatur only apply to Scripture and not to the essays? It seems possible, since it specifically addressed the NAB, revised NT, and Revised Psalms, but made no mention of the essays or reading guide.