Bible Study

Screen Shot 2017-11-24 at 12.50.42 PM7 Reasons to Study the Cultural Backgrounds of the Bible

Posted by  on 09/06/2017 in Olive Tree Blog

1. Understand the audience: Grasping the original audience’s perspective helps us understand the setting to which the inspired authors communicated their message.

2. Understand how the text communicates: A text is ideas linked by threads of writing. Each phrase and each word communicates by the ideas and thoughts that they will trigger in the reader or hearer.

3. Biblical writers made assumptions: Biblical writers normally could take for granted that their audiences shared their language and culture; some matters, therefore, they assumed rather than stated. Think about what happens when later audiences from different cultures read the text without the same un-stated understandings as the original audience.

2006AA75524. Understand the differences: We can see the differences between [ancient people] and us. To better understand how they would have interpreted what was being shared to them.

5. Understand what issues were being addressed: When we hear the message in its authentic, original cultural setting we can reapply it afresh for our own different setting most fully, because we understand what issues were really being addressed.

6. Prevent imposing your own culture: If we know nothing of the ancient world, we will be inclined to impose our own culture and worldview on the Biblical text. This will always be detrimental to our understanding.

7. Fill in the gaps: As each person hears or reads the text, the message takes for granted underlying gaps that need to be filled with meaning by the audience. It is theologically essential that we fill [the gaps] appropriately.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this beautifully as follows:

109 In Sacred Scripture, God speaks to man in a human way. To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words.

needle110 In order to discover the sacred authors’ intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating then current. “For the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing, in prophetical and poetical texts, and in other forms of literary expression.”\

Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 2000), 32.

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Steve Ray Uses Verbum Catholic Bible Software

by Steve Ray on January 6, 2021

All of my books, DVD’s, pilgrimages, talks – all of it was researched using Verbum Bible Software. To check it out visit www.Verbum.com/steveray.

Pick your package and the library of your choice and use Promo Code STEVERAY8 for a 10% discount.

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Bishop Boyea of our Lansing Michigan Diocese has been very creative with a well-prepared and well attended “Year of the Bible” program to encourage his faithful to read the Bible daily with him. He also has added many “intro’s” from Bible teachers in the area. He included me for Matthew 5 and John 6.

Here is my intro to Matthew 5. If you are interested in joining this worthy initiative, it is not too late to jump in with our bishop and over 10,000 participants. Click here for more information.

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50+ of the Best Catholic Bible Experts Conference

December 7, 2020

50+ of the top Bible scholars and teachers yours for FREE. January 8-10. The conference is entitled “Take & Read: A Journey into the Bible.” To register for free and learn more, visit https://www.virtualcatholicconference.com/Bible2021 Check out the list of committed speakers below.  

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What Translation of the Bible Should You Use?

August 23, 2020

No translation is perfect. Translating ancient and foreign languages into English is not as easy as it would seem. There are ambiguities and linguistic hurtles. Picture a sliding scale from left to right. Every translation fits somewhere along that scale. At one end of the scale literal  translations and on the other extreme are dynamic […]

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Test Drive It! A Catholic Library Synced on my Laptop, iPad, iPhone AND the Cloud for access anywhere

June 11, 2020

I’ve waited 20 years for this. I have the fantastic Verbum Catholic and Bible Software. They are doing it right! It is thoroughly Catholic — to my great joy. It continues to grow in resources and power. It is on my computer 24 hours a day! But now the icing is on the cake! They […]

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Why Do I Love Logos (Verbum) So Much? Watch this…

June 1, 2020

I use Verbum every day – on my iPhone, my laptop, my computer and on the web. After watching this short video demonstration you can visit the site to learn more at www.Verbum.com/SteveRay, Use Promo Code STEVERAY10 for a 10% discount. You will LOVE this program for computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones or even just on […]

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How do YOU Read the Bible?

January 24, 2020

A Little Poem about Reading/Studing the Bible in Context I supposed I knew my Bible, Reading piecemeal, hit or miss, Now a bit of John or Matthew, Now a snatch of Genesis, Certain chapters of Isaiah, Certain Psalms (the twenty-third), Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs — Yes, I thought I knew the Word! But […]

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Verbum – Couldn’t Live without It! Now Updated and Free!

January 9, 2020

I have been using Logos Bible Software since 1990. It is now light years better and with separate CATHOLIC software called Verbum. It works off the internet, on a desktop or laptop (Mac or PC), tablets or smartphones – both Android and Apple. It seamlessly syncs between all your platforms. Catholics should be the best at Bible Study […]

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Ready to Start Studying the Bible in 2020? It’s Time to Prepare Now!

December 27, 2019

Since I was 17 years old, studying the Bible has been my passion. Now as a Catholic it has increased 100%. Back in my youth, I could never have anticipated the wealth of materials for study that I now have at my fingertips. I recommend two great Catholic resources: FIRST, Catholic Scripture Study International. I […]

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Cartoon on Protestantism and the Bible

November 21, 2019

When I look back on my experience I find this cartoon has a ring of truth. There were many verses of the Bible that I either didn’t realize existed (though that may seem strange) or that we just ignored. Other verses did not fit our Protestant theology so we kind of set them aside or […]

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Biblical Measurements and Units

November 11, 2019

Cubits, a spam, and ephah and a bath. What do all of these mean in the Bible? Here is a helpful chart taken from Verbum.

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Sherlock Holmes: Is this a Real Bible Study?

October 9, 2019

The Case for you – Sherlock Holmes: Stan filled the fireplace and lit the oak logs to make the living room cozy for the arriving guests. The Bible Study had been announced at Mass, and now suddenly it was here. Stan and Suzie had been Catholics all their lives, but they had never really studied […]

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Differences Between Catholic and Protestant Approaches to the Bible

September 17, 2019

“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 […]

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Why Steve Ray Loves Verbum Software

September 15, 2019

Steve Ray here. I can’t tell you how much I love and use Verbum Catholic Software. It has replaced many of my physical books and the power of its search and research has to be seen to be believed. It is on my iPhone, laptop, desktop and on the cloud. Here is a 55-second promo […]

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Should Catholics Attend Non-denominational or Ecumenical Bible Studies?

August 26, 2019

Every day, Catholics are invited by coworkers, neighbors, and even family members to “ecumenical” Bible studies. Should they go? Certainly all of us would benefit from more study of Scripture, but as someone who has been a part of a number of Protestant Bible studies—I’ve even taught them—I discourage Catholics from attending them because of […]

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