Bible Study

I thought of a helpful illustration to explain why “cradle Catholics” are often unable to explain and defend the Catholic faith. The example has its weaknesses, but it does help get the point across.

As an American I asked myself this question: if some one trained to attack America intellectually approached me on the street and challenged my country, would I be ready and able to defend the USA? Would I know all the historical details, dates, and facts? Do I know the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court rulings or even the ancient documents that preceded the birth of our nation—the documents and events that formed the foundation for our government?

The answer is simple: “No, I would not be prepared.”

But I am an American. I love my country. I was born here and believe in the principles and love the freedom that are American. I know my country has many problems and I do not love everything that is American. But I would be unprepared to explain and defend the details and documents of my nation even though I love the USA and would readily stay an American citizen rather than join another country.

This is much the same as a “cradle Catholic” like those in the Philippines. They are often ashamed that they cannot defend the faith, but they are like me as an American. I was born American and never been in a situation where I had to defend my country in a rigorous intellectual debate. Filipinos have been Catholics for 400 years. They love their faith, the Lord Jesus, Mama Mary and the Catholic Church. But for 400 years they have been a Catholic nation and never needed to “defend” it. They only needed to love it and obey it.

But now the wolves are approaching their islands and making great inroads devouring the flock. The attack comes not only from cults and sects, but also from modernism and Americanism. They are pursued from every side. They are pushed to leave the Church, to join the cults and sects or to pursue pleasure, money, and sin.

Just like I would I need to take the time and energy to study my country and its history, so they are now required to learn their faith in a new and energetic way to defend the faith and their children. The time for comfort is over. The time to study and learn is here. No longer can the Filipinos—or anyone who has been born and raised Catholic—sit back and take the faith for granted. It is time for war! It is time for defense! It is time to get to work!

I do not criticize “cradle Catholics” for not knowing their faith. I understand the situation. But now we must begin rigorous study and learning—our children and our faith are at stake. We have no time to to waste. We are called to re-evangelize and defend Mother Church! God bless us all as we serve Our Lord.

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Great New Didache Bible from Ignatius Press

by Steve Ray on May 18, 2019

The Didache Bible Is Here, Article by Dr. Jeff Mirus

[Steve’s Comment]: I posted this a while ago, but want to make sure new readers are aware of this excellent new Bible with the right footnotes, maps, etc. This is my choice.

[Miras’ article]: This Bible uses the Second Edition of the Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version, widely regarded as the best translation available today. This means it was last revised according to the principles promulgated in Liturgiam Authenticam in 2001. The printing is well done—clean, clear and easy to read—and the accompanying commentary and additional resources are superb. However, the prospective reader needs to realize that this edition’s resources are primarily devoted to highlighting and clarifying the teachings and practices of the Church as found in the Word of God and as more fully articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

didacheRSVThis purpose was inspired by the Midwest Theological Forum’s Didache Series of religious education textbooks, and it makes this edition of the Bible the best one to use in connection with religious education, or by readers who want to understand both the teachings of the Church and their foundations in Sacred Scripture. It would not be the best edition for those who know Catholic doctrine very well and are now interested in exploring the origins and development of the Biblical books, the surrounding history with which the texts interact, or the full range of perspectives on the meaning of difficult passages.

The Didache Bible includes the following preparatory resources as front-matter:

  • Foreword by Cardinal Francis George on the general relationships among the Catechism, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, and Sacred Scripture.
  • Preface by Fr. James Socias of the Midwest Theological Forum on the fundamental purposes of this edition.
  • Introduction on Biblical inspiration and the various senses of Scripture.
  • A brief guide on how to read the Bible.
  • A brief summary of the major themes of all the books of the Old and New Testaments.
  • A chronology of the Old Testament.
  • A chronology of the New Testament.
  • A thematically-organized list of Scripture passages for personal meditation.

Of even greater interest are the resources which accompany each of the books. There is a one-page introduction to each book which covers authorship, dating, audience and main themes. Then, page by page as the Biblical text unfolds, we find:

  • Extensive commentary, verse by verse, on the meaning of the text and its significance for understanding Catholic teaching and practice.
  • Call-out boxes which briefly highlight key Biblical and theological concepts to aid the reader in understanding the full significance of the text.
  • Lists of related Biblical passages (these cross-references visually separate the text from the commentary).
  • Periodic full-page apologetical explanations of important Catholic concepts, teachings and practices, placed at appropriate points along the way. There are over 100 of these longer explanations.

Finally, following the last book of the Bible, the back-matter includes:

  • 24 full-color maps providing geographical orientations for both the Old and New Testaments.
  • A 44-page glossary of Biblical names and terms.
  • Index to the maps.
  • Index of apologetical explanations by title.
  • Index of apologetical explanations by subject.
  • A 23-page index of subjects, including Biblical names, which leads to the Biblical passages in which they appear.

I’ve attached two rough, home-made double-page scans. One shows pages from the Book of Genesis as an example of the presentation of the text, the Biblical cross-references, the extensive commentary, and the boxed highlights. The other shows pages from the Book of Revelation as an example of how an apologetical explanation (on the Rosary) interfaces with a page of text (again with its characteristic chapter and verse numbers, subtitles, cross-references and commentary).

The Didache Bible is currently available in a sturdy hardbound edition with two ribbons. I give this Bible my highest recommendation for all those who wish to understand both Sacred Scripture and Catholic teaching more fully, including the deep links between the two. I would say it is the best edition to give as a first Bible to Catholics who have not yet made an extensive study of their Faith. It is the ideal Bible for them to have when they go off to college or out into the world, where they will eventually be challenged—not least about the relationship between Sacred Scripture and the Catholic Church.

I have provided our usual Amazon link below, but the Bible is currently on sale directly from Ignatius Press. I am checking on the availability of the deluxe leather-bound edition that was also originally planned.

The Didache Bible     $35.00

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7 Reasons to Study the Cultural Backgrounds of the Bible

May 17, 2019

7 Reasons to Study the Cultural Backgrounds of the Bible Posted by Cierra Klatt 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 […]

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How We REALLY Got the Bible – the Facts Simply Presented (print this out, hand it out)

May 16, 2019

This is just one page of Bob Sullivan’s excellent little tri-fold handout to explain how we got the Bible. It is from the Catholic and historical perspective without all the Protestant biases and twisting of history. I think you enjoy the whole thing which you can see here. You can print this out, fold it […]

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The Eucharist: the Flesh Profits Nothing

May 12, 2019

Since we are in Capernaum today, I decided to share a few words related to the site. I was recently asked a related questions questionic Answers Live. Capernaum is where Jesus said “Eat My Flesh; Drink My Blood.” I thought it would be appropriate to answer an e-mail I received a while ago from a man named […]

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What Translation of the Bible Should You Use?

May 10, 2019

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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The Technology of Scripture Study: The Middle Ages (and a hilarious video at the end)

April 30, 2019

“I am an ecclesiastical historian by training and a Bible software guy by trade. Which, I think, puts me in the unique position to write about the history of the intersection of technology and Scripture study in a series of posts.” Written by my friend Andrew Jones PhD: “We might start with a description of […]

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Bible Study: Differences between Catholics and Protestants

April 23, 2019

Protestant “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 […]

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How To Read & Interpret the Bible Figuratively: So Impressed with this Article I’m posting the whole thing

April 6, 2019

If you do not subscribe to The Catholic Thing, I suggest you do. Every day a short article about theology, the world, the family, politics, the Church. Such a wide swath of conservative, biblical and Catholic thought. It helps clear the head each day. Thanks to James Matthew Wilson for this delightful article “Go Figure!” […]

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Freedom for Catholics to Interpret the Bible

March 20, 2019

The Freedom of the Catholic Biblical Exegete / Interpreter DECEMBER 2, 2017 BY DAVE ARMSTRONG Bible Passages that the Church has Definitively Interpreted Contrary to the bogus claims of some anti-Catholic Protestant polemicists I have run across, Catholics are not at all obliged to read the New American Bible translation (nor the revised English Vulgate, such […]

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Bible Study: Playground or Minefield?

January 10, 2019

Imagine children running and tussling unsupervised in a playground. Now imagine the playground surrounded by deadly dangers: a sharp cliff dropping down a thousand feet to one side, a field of land mines, poisonous snakes in the sand, and a bog of quicksand on the other sides. With anguish you watch the children decimated as […]

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Jesus Was A Jew and Why You Can’t Understand the Bible without Knowing That

December 28, 2018

Since we are at the Western Wall today, where the Temple stood in Jesus’ day, it is appropriate to discuss this. Jesus loved the Jewish Temple and called it his Father’s house. ************************************************ Jesus was a Jew. This fact may escape the casual reader of the New Testament, but it is crucial to understanding Jesus […]

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Ready to Start Studying the Bible in 2019? It’s Time to Prepare Now!

December 23, 2018

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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Catholic Church: “Don’t Read the Bible!”

December 1, 2018

We often hear that the Catholic Church has forbidden the reading of the Bible! Have you heard this? Yeah, me too! But, this is another one of those big myths which has worked its way into the popular dialog but one that has not been proved from Church teaching and documents. There are two good […]

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The Bible out of Context: “Saved by Faith Alone”?

November 13, 2018

When reading the Bible devoid of its historical and textual context, there is no context except the context which any person might supply for it. or put otherwise, A text without a context is a pretext. I always get frustrated when self-proclaimed Bible students or teachers start pontificating about the meaning of the Bible and […]

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