Bible Study is for Catholics!

by Steve Ray on September 28, 2010

screen-capture-1For my appearance on Morning Air with Sean Herriott on Relevant Radio today.

I have often said “The Bible is a Catholic book. It is our heirloom. When I used the Bible against Catholics in my former life, I was picking fruit from a tree I did not plant.”

The Bible is a Catholic book written and collected, preserved and copied, codified and canonized by bishops of the Catholic Church. It is our book to read and study and learn. Today’s Catholic is called to take an intelligent, historical, and spiritual approach to the Bible.

QUESTIONS FOR ‘BIBLE CHRISTIANS’ that they can’t answer!

For excellent Catholic Bible studies (some of which I have written) visit CatholicScriptureStudy.com. Also check out my web page for Bible Study.

THISROCK1-07 sm.jpg

Steve’s article in THIS ROCK Magazine
“Should Catholics Attend ‘Ecumenical’ Bible Studies

My article Should Catholics go to Non-Denominational Bible Studies? appears in the January 2007 issue of THIS ROCK Magazine. In the article I recommend another article I wrote entitled  How To Start A Parish Bible Study. In addition, here are a load of other Bible Study resources–click here and here.

I also suggest you take a look at my:
Questions for ‘Bible Christians
and Is This A Real Catholic Bible Study?
and Can Bible Translations have Protestant Bias?
and Why We Need the Church for Bible Study
and You Can Join our Ecumentical Bible Study, but Catholics — Sshhhhh!

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How To Start a Parish Bible Study
beginning of Steve’s article

“The Bible is so thick and confusing. Mary dusted off the big book and tried reading it several months ago, but she thought it would be a huge help if she could find a good Catholic Bible study—a class where Catholics could study the Bible together.

“Mary visited a popular Bible study in town, but was humiliated when answering a question. The study focused on a verse in St. John’s Gospel. Jesus had said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” After reading this passage the teacher asked, “OK, what does this verse mean to you?”

‘Mary excitedly raised her hand—she knew that answer for that one! She said that Jesus was talking about the Eucharist, the Real Presence of Christ. The room fell silent. Then there were a few snickers and a few women even gasped. Then group grew uncomfortably quiet and everyone looked at the teacher….”

To read the whole article, click here.

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***** For the best Catholic Scripture Study program for groups in English or Spanish, visit CatholicScriptureStudy or call 1-866-887-2774. This is an easy do-it-yourself Parish Bible Study program. The studies are written by myself, Scott Hahn and Mark Shea.*****

Join a REAL Catholic Bible Study in your area, or start your own with
CATHOLIC SCRIPTURE STUDY INTERNATIONAL
I write the studies!

For Steve’s Catholic Bible Study
St. John’s Gospel: A Bible Study Guide & Commentary

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CCC 2653 (133)  The Church “forcefully and specially exhorts all the Christian faithful . . . to learn ‘the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ’ (Phil 3:8) by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures…. Let them remember, however, that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that a dialogue takes place between God and man. For ‘we speak to him when we pray; we listen to him when we read the divine oracles.”‘

Difference Between Protestant and Catholic Bible Study

“Bible Christians” (a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises:

  • 1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone;
  • 2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their own pope;  (No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation 2 Pet 1:21).
  • 3. The Bible is perspicuous (i.e., easy to understand) and it can be interpreted and understood by anyone.
  • 4. An individual can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves.

Catholics have a different set of premises that direct their study of the Bible.

  • 1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80 83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.
  • 2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85-88).
  • 3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15-16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.
  • 4. Individuals canshould read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20-21).

These basic differences place the Catholic and Protestant worlds apart even though they are opening the pages of the same book and accepting it as an authoritative revelation from God. The Catholic position is biblical, and has been espoused from the first days of the Church. The Protestant position is unbiblical (assumed from their tradition) and is of recent origin. The Catholic is in full continuity with historical Christianity; Protestants are in discontinuity.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lydia Davidson February 27, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Hi Steve,

Greetings in Christ.

Where can I learn to read the Bible in Greek? Also, could you recommend a good Greek Translation please.

Thanks,
Lydia

Sue March 8, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Where were these arguments when I was being converted from Catholicism back in the 70′s and 80′s? I get so discouraged when I think of how unapproachable many of my leaders or teachers were back then, but that was my personal experience. I’ve returned to the Church after many many years of good evangelical training in the Scriptures and carry a deep love for “Bible Christians”. Regarding some non-denominational bible studies, of course their desire is to evangelize should the opportunity arise, just as Catholics take the opportunity to evangelize, even if it is only by lifestyle sometimes. I don’t think we can criticize them for that. But there are some truly ecumenical organizations out there. I think being aware of underlying assumptions is the key, as you stated in the article regarding non-denominational bibles studies. I’m finding there are liberal and conservative ways to interpret scripture in Catholicism too. I’m not completely sold on some of the answers Catholic apologists give, but at least they’re answers worth considering. :-)

Dave Keene March 18, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Hi Steve

bad link for Questions for Bible Christians.

STEVE RAY HERE: FIXED; THANKS!

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