September 22, 2009

The Bible

What is the Bible?

A collection of stories, poems, wise sayings, doctrine and letters that we regard as the word of God through the abilities of human authors.

– adapted from the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation – Vatican II

What is it used for?

Christians find their lives expressed in the Scriptures. This is especially true in the Psalms and the Gospel accounts of the Passion of Christ. The Bible contains a great deal of wisdom as well and is “useful for teaching.” Praying the Scriptures means reading them in a more leisurely way, with a conscious effort to join our reading with what God is trying to tell us. We sometimes may pause in our reading and become lost in a prayer sparked by quiet reading of the text.

What does “without error” mean?

As Catholics, we believe that the Scriptures are without error. This does not mean that we take the Bible literally in every case. It means that we can completely rely on the Scriptures to faithfully be God’s Word to us. In other words, the Scriptures will not say something about the nature of God, our relationship to Him or how we should live that is incorrect.

What should we not do with the Bible?

  • The Bible is not a fortune-telling machine. Using Scriptures to predict the future or determine when the end of the world will occur is generally wrong.
  • Taking Scripture verses out of context sometimes distorts their meaning. Scripture is made to be taken as a whole or at least in context

What should we do with the Bible?

  • Read it! St. Augustine said that ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of God.
  • When someone gives you a verse to read, always read the verses before it and after it.
  • Read it again! We should be refreshing the memory. We need to be reminded. Speak the truth to one another in psalms, hymns and inspired songs. (cff Ephesians and Colossians)
  • Pick a theme, and try to find it all through Scripture. Try finding all the references to friendship, love, patience, marriage, death, etc…
  • Enjoy it! Pass it along to your children, and tell the stories. Our children’s favorite is Elijah and the Prophets of Baal. The link points to a modern telling.

Can I read the Bible or search it on the web? is very good, and it has translations into many languages. is the New American Bible, which includes the books removed during the Reformation. It is the English translation used in the Mass.

Can I ask you a question?

Sure, hundreds of people do. A few of the questions and answers are here. Or you can e-mail us at the address below.

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