Want to begin reading the Old Testament


#1

I want to (finally) begin reading the Old Testament but there's been this cloud of uncertainty over my head as to how I should go about reading it, what translation I should use, if I should go through a Bible study while reading the OT at the same time or not, etc.

I have read sections of the OT in the past (Ecclesiastes is the only book I've fully read through in the OT, though I must say it is my favorite). If I start reading, I will obviously start from Genesis and go through all of it. It's just so massive compared to the NT (of which I would say I've completed 80% of it).

Another problem is I don't know what translation to use for reading the OT. I have a gajillion different translations, so it's not the absence that is causing the problem. I've been using the Contemporary English Version for my NT reading (the Catholic version) because of the easy formatting and language, though I have my certain dislikes with the CEV as well. I'm not sure if I should just continue reading the CEV for my OT reading or not. It is a translation I am familiar with after all, but my main gripe is that it is based on the Masoretic text and has no Deuterocanon. I thought I read online that the Deuterocanonical books were translated with the CEV but I have never been able to find a CEV Bible with the Deuterocanon.

I have been heavily favored in using the the Jerusalem Bible for my OT reading. However, when I occasionally flip through the pages out of curiosity, I may come across a very oddly- worded passage that just makes no sense in to me in English (unfortunately, I can't provide the best example I randomly found one day because I don't remember it). An example: "Complicity with thieves and a wrong to oneself; to hear the curse and make no disclosure." (Prov. 29:24) That passage may not be complicated English to some and I suppose I could just pull out a dictionary, but I would rather have my Bible easier to understand. I know the JB isn't all like this but maybe it's just-dare I say it-too British for me?:D I don't mind some technical language once in a while but I don't want my mind to get technical when trying to read the scriptures.

I'm also wondering if I should do a Catholic Bible study guide while I read along through the OT, but I don't have any in mind. I know of the free, online Agape Bible study but I don't want to run my sister's printer into the grave (well, I would, but it's not my printer). There are no Catholic bookstores around where I live so I just can't go out and buy Catholic Bible study guides. I have been able to find Protestant Bible study books that just ask general questions and are not really talking about Protestant theology, so I've been testing these out for my New Testament readings. However, many of these Protestant Bible study guides use Bible translations that are based on the Masoretic text primarily for the OT, not the Septuagint. So that greatly limits my access to use a Catholic Bible translation for an otherwise Protestant Bible study book.

So, maybe someone can give me some ideas? It all just seems so daunting. One day I hope to learn biblical Hebrew so I can read the OT in its original language. It is already fascinating to begin reading the NT in Koine Greek even though I haven't taught myself much of the language yet.:thumbsup:


#2

My suggestion is that you start reading, and when you run into passages that you are not certain of or are just down right confusing, then post questions on this forum, or you can use the Aquinas Study Bible, which has traditional Catholic commentaries on every book of the Bible.

My suggestion is that when you begin to read a book of the Bible, read information about the book, such as an introduction found in a Study Bible. In the Aquinas Study Bible website I have all of Bishop Richard Challoner's notes on every book of the Bible, and he has great concise introductions to every book. I highly recommend those introductions! In the Aquinas Study Bible I also have all of the Haydock Bible, and a ton of other great traditional Catholic commentaries. Here is the link sites.google.com/site/aquinasstudybible/home


#3

[quote="COPLAND_3, post:2, topic:314324"]
My suggestion is that you start reading, and when you run into passages that you are not certain of or are just down right confusing, then post questions on this forum, or you can use the Aquinas Study Bible, which has traditional Catholic commentaries on every book of the Bible.

My suggestion is that when you begin to read a book of the Bible, read information about the book, such as an introduction found in a Study Bible. In the Aquinas Study Bible website I have all of Bishop Richard Challoner's notes on every book of the Bible, and he has great concise introductions to every book. I highly recommend those introductions! In the Aquinas Study Bible I also have all of the Haydock Bible, and a ton of other great traditional Catholic commentaries. Here is the link sites.google.com/site/aquinasstudybible/home

[/quote]

Thanks for your advice. I'm familiar with Bishop Challoner's notes because I already have one of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine's Revised Douay-Rheims Bible that was done by him. I've thought about getting a Catholic study Bible (as in, actually talks about our faith and teachings) such as the New Catholic Answer Bible: NAB-RE. But I also realize that the Catechism does quite a good job at that. I don't want to get too bogged down in commentary and notes.

I find that the JB does a good job of balancing scripture with study. There are the usual footnotes on every page, but they are not always necessary to read. It also includes the introductory pages describing the book(s) and has scripture verse references listed on the sides of every page if I ever want to cross-reference or check things. It almost seems too daunting, but it's not as overwhelming as the textual criticism and definition notes I get covering more than half the pages in my Greek New Testament pdf e-books. :sleep:

Then again, I like the simplicity of the CEV but am still disappointed there is no Deuterocanon. I could easily use two different translations if I wanted to but that would get confusing. The thing I don't like about our English language is that it's so technical, and there are so many different modern (and not-so-modern) English translations of the Bible. I have been to websites where the statement of faith of some Protestant groups is that the Masoretic text are the "purest" in terms of using for translation, and therefore more trustworthy. I just find to include that in their "statement of faith" sections quite bizarre.


#4

Excessive amounts of commentary or footnotes will bogg you down if you try to read all of them, but having access to them is nice if you need them. It sounds as if you are interested in reading the text of Scripture while having reference. I recommend using traditional reference material and not those that use the historical critical method.

As for a translation, the Douay Rheims is my preference, but for a more up to date English any of the Catholic versions are good.


#5

Try the Bible Timeline by Jeff Cavins. This link goes to his free downloadable resources. There is a reading plan so the historical books can be read in conjuction with the prophetic books.


#6

I’m not sure by what you mean with regards to “traditional” versus “historical critical” methods. Can you explain? To be honest I’m not so much interested in scripture cross referencing as listed on each page in the Jerusalem Bible. I don’t mind notes at the bottom of the page, however. I guess I’m just mostly interested in reading the scriptures in understandable English with maybe some introductory and reference notes (if I need to access them).

I’m just so overwhelmed by all the English Bible translations I still don’t know what I prefer. Why does there have to be so many of them? :confused: I almost wish that ancient Greek was still commonly taught in schools in the western world, instead of the standard “French, German, and Spanish (although one of the Chinese dialects is now becoming increasingly taught in American high schools).” I would even like Latin to become more common in public schools again. This way, we could at least read the Bible and other Early Christian texts in the original languages instead of trying to dig through the dozens of modern English translations to find one that is easy to read.

Also, I do have another question. Does anyone know of any free Catholic Bible study software? I know e-sword had some Catholic translations and works available not via e-sword, but I rarely use e-sword. Logos to me isn’t so different but I don’t want to pay ridiculous prices. I’m aware of Biblia Clerus (which I have installed on my desktop) but I don’t really see any scriptural commentary, plus the instructions on how to navigate it appear to be in Italian (I can’t read Italian)!


#7

The traditional approach views Scripture in light of what has been passed down, such as what the ancient Jews and Christians have understood the text to mean and who the authors were, etc. Historical critical method, which sounds good in theory, but the results have often been against the grain of tradition, views and compares Scripture in the light of other literture that scholars assume were written in the same period of time. It usually treats Scripture like an ordinary document rather than inspired and sacred.

I wouldnt let all the English translations disturb you, its not as big of an issue as one might think. As long as you stay with a Catholic translation then you cannot go wrong.


#8

By reading three chapters a day,, plus 5 on Sunday, you can read the Bible from cover to cover in one year. This method takes about 15 minutes per day.
The translation you choose is less important than that you read. The first translation that I read is the NAB since that is what is used in the liturgy, at least in the United States. Other people like to read translations that they feel are easier to read.


#9

Another useful link for bible studies

agapebiblestudy.com/index.html

agapebiblestudy.com/Bible_Studies_Menu.php

agapebiblestudy.com/How%20To%20Study%20Scripture.htm

not sure if the links work.in case they don't the website title is" Agape Catholic Bible Study

Truth, Love and Peace


#10

Tous,

you have managed to throw the entire protestant reformation into your quandry about which version of the Bible to read. You seem to have more than enough information to make the decision.

The CEV is a paraphrase version of the Bible in contemporary English, so I'm wondering why you want such an interpreted version of the Bible. If you're so fussy about reading the Bible in the original languages, why don't you read a more faithful version of the Bible, instead of a paraphrased version?

you are toying with us and wasting our time.

You are pressing a lot of controversial hot buttons, intentionally.


#11

I would recommend Scott Hahn’s site over at:

salvationhistory.com/studies/courses/online

Even the commentary on the new testament weaves in how much of it refers to events in the Old.

T


#12

Logos is freeware, logos.com/installation
RSV-CE $8.50: logos.com/product/667 Enter this coupon-code when purchasing to get the discounted price: MardiGras13
1992 Good News Translation 2nd Edition $10: logos.com/product/195/good-news-translation
Post-Reformation Catholic Thought and Piety (27 vols.) $80: logos.com/product/15707/post-reformation-catholic-thought-and-piety
The Catholic Encyclopedia (17 vols.) maybe $30 coming out later on: logos.com/product/8511/the-catholic-encyclopedia
For the Deuterocanon I recommend the 1989 Revised English Bible $24.95: logos.com/product/24537/the-revised-english-bible-with-the-apocrypha
... very few competing softwares has it! It is really good!!:

[quote="Tous_Logous, post:6, topic:314324"]
Logos to me isn't so different but I don't want to pay ridiculous prices.

[/quote]

I agree with some other posters that JB is good. If You want to read in chronological order, get the 1975 Bible In Order, Joseph Rhymer! If You want it in Logos, go to: community.logos.com/forums/thread/401606.aspx ... and post.


#13

[quote="sirach2v4, post:10, topic:314324"]
Tous,

you have managed to throw the entire protestant reformation into your quandry about which version of the Bible to read. You seem to have more than enough information to make the decision.

The CEV is a paraphrase version of the Bible in contemporary English, so I'm wondering why you want such an interpreted version of the Bible. If you're so fussy about reading the Bible in the original languages, why don't you read a more faithful version of the Bible, instead of a paraphrased version?

you are toying with us and wasting our time.

You are pressing a lot of controversial hot buttons, intentionally.

[/quote]

I'm sorry, but what?

Perhaps you need to simmer down the tone of your reply and re-read my posts. I don't know why you're bringing up the "Protestant Reformation" in my thread because I have not stated the word "Reformation" nor gone into a long tirade about Protestant history. I am not a biblical scholar either; I am just a common layperson that is attempting to teach myself biblical languages. But I am not at the point where I can read the NT in "full" Greek yet.

Perhaps you are wasting your time by having replied and posted in my thread. Makes me wonder, if it is such a waste of time then why bother posting in forums at all? Is this the expected response you give to everyone? Everyone else in this thread has been helpful and kind.

I'm using the CEV because it is the translation I began reading long before I realized I had an interest in studying biblical languages, so it is the translation I stuck with for NT reading. Originally, I had a problem with different English Bible translations simply because of the way they were formatted; I found that the CEV had the easiest formatting for me to read. And yes, the CEV is an actual translation, not a paraphrase. AND....the CEV has been approved for Catholic reading, mine has a nice big Imprimatur stamped on the inside of it. Surely if it's approved by the Catholic Church, it is a Bible translation that is good enough to be read? Maybe not the best translation, but one that is acceptable nonetheless.

I will pray for you. Have a nice day.


#14

Perhaps You would be interested in these:
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$40 logos.com/product/23959/classic-commentaries-and-studies-on-the-biblical-apocrypha-deuterocanon%7D

Logos also has CEV, $10: logos.com/product/550/the-contemporary-english-version
And Lexham English Audio New Testament, $7: logos.com/product/27751/lexham-english-bible-audio-new-testament
Right now You can also get one book about an NT manuscript for free, $0: logos.com/product/29619/codex-bezae-cantabrigiensis


#15

Catholic Spirituality Collection (12 vols.), is now on a sale in Logos: lyris.lrsmail.com/t/4369804/12772812/11318/17/?c1e998ea=dmVyYnVt&e5e2987d=NDM2OTgwNA%3d%3d&x=7d62cbcc
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I have, it was included with the “Catholic Foundations” -base-package for $212.46 on April 19. 2012 in Logos 4. I find it very good:


#16

[quote="Cyklist, post:15, topic:314324"]
Catholic Spirituality Collection (12 vols.), is now on a sale in Logos: lyris.lrsmail.com/t/4369804/12772812/11318/17/?c1e998ea=dmVyYnVt&e5e2987d=NDM2OTgwNA%3d%3d&x=7d62cbcc
Regular price: $109.95
Your price: $93.46
Enter this coupon code when purchasing: VerbumLent2013
I have, it was included with the "Catholic Foundations" -base-package for $212.46 on April 19. 2012 in Logos 4. I find it very good:

[/quote]

ooooh would I love to have this.... AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!


#17

Tous_Logous, it's down to $35 now, but it's closing this Friday!:

[quote="Cyklist, post:14, topic:314324"]
Perhaps You would be interested in these:
$40 logos.com/product/23959/classic-commentaries-and-studies-on-the-biblical-apocrypha-deuterocanon%7D

[/quote]


#18

Now it's down to $30, and hasn't closed yet, but it will close tomorrow Monday! Classic Commentaries and Studies on the Biblical Apocrypha/Deuterocanon:

[quote="Cyklist, post:17, topic:314324"]
Tous_Logous, it's down to $35 now, but it's closing this Friday!:

[/quote]


#19

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