Thursday, December 09, 2010

Ask the DRE - How should I read Scripture?

ASK THE DRE – I want to read the Bible but can never get past Genesis. Do you have any suggestions?

Let me commend you for your desire to grow in your faith through reading Scripture. It is something that every Catholic should do on a daily basis. The Second Vatican Council had this to say about reading the Bible – “The sacred synod also earnestly and especially urges all the Christian faithful… to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the "excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:8). Therefore, they should gladly put themselves in touch with the sacred text itself, whether it be through the liturgy, rich in the divine word, or through devotional reading, or through instructions suitable for the purpose and other aids which, in our time, with approval and active support of the shepherds of the Church, are commendably spread everywhere. And let them remember that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for "we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying.”

For the longest time I read the Bible the way most other Catholics read the Bible, in the Liturgy. By either participating in Mass or reading the daily readings I got my daily dose of Scripture. I would read the readings and then contemplate their meaning for a long period in prayer. This is a commendable way to “read” the Bible. However, the problem lies in the fact that all of the readings are taken out of context so to speak. They are removed from the larger story of salvation. If you don’t already know the story, it won’t make much sense. It is like having J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy placed before you and each day you read a chapter here and a chapter there from one of the three books. How long would it take for you to read the entire trilogy and put the story together? A very long time if ever!

That is why the Great Adventure system is so valuable. By reading the Bible as a story, you see the whole picture. This way, when you hear the readings at Mass, you know where you are in the story and you know where you are in your story. If you can’t make it to one of the Great Adventure studies, there is a 90 day reading plan that takes you through the narrative books of the Bible and will help you see “the big picture”. After reading the Bible as a story, you can go back and see where the remaining books fit in. If you want to completely change the way you understand Scripture, the Mass, and your Catholic Faith, learn the story of Salvation by reading the Bible as a story first!! Send me an email if you would like a PDF of the 90 Day Reading Guide!

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