Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Few Additional Comments on the Catholic Bible: Personal Study Edition

I want to first off thank Geoffrey for last week's review of the Catholic Bible: Personal Study Edition (CBPSE)from Oxford. Since then, I have received a copy, in the burgundy bonded leather version. I thought I would make a few points to supplement what Geoffrey contributed last week.

I will list them below, in no particular order:

**As Geoffrey pointed out, this edition has a ton of information, so don't let the description of "this is a beginner" study Bible fool you. Oftentimes, I think the CBPSE tends to get overlooked in comparison with its older brother the Catholic Study Bible. Yet, it does retain a fair amount of the same material found in the CSB reading guides, while supplimenting it with quite a few more charts and diagrams that the CSB does not include. While I haven't had a chance to compare the two reading guides exhaustively, I can say that my reading throught Joshua, Judges, and Ruth indicated to me that the essential material found in the CSB was also found in the CBPSE. One thing that is unique to the CBPSE reading guides is that at the end of each Biblical book are found questions for discussion and reflection, much like those found at the end of the individual volumes of the ICSB.

**Also it needs to be repeated that the reading guides in the CBPSE are keyed to the NABRE translation, unlike the current CSB. This was obvious to me when examening the reading guide for Leviticus on page 76, where the offering of Leviticus 3 is called a "communion" offering, which the NABRE goes with, and not the previous NAB "peace" offering. While I am sure that the may be a few places where things slipped by the editors, I think I may have spotted one, overall it is up to date with the NABRE.

**The CSB totals 1949 pages, while the CBPSE comes in at 2029 pages.

**The CSB has a additional helpful introductory articles, including ones on "The Biblical Texts and Their Background", "Bible History and Archaeology", and "The Challenges of Biblical Translation". The introductory articles in the CBPSE are bit more basic and less technical.

**Both editions contain an essay on the lectionary, full lectionary calendar of readings, a concise concordance, glossary, in-text maps, and New Oxford Maps in the appendix.

**In the appendix of the CBPSE is found a one page essay on Catholic interpretation of the Scriptures according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and a four page listing of Catholic beliefs in the Bible. The latter includes references for the Sacraments, the cardinal and theological virtues, faith and works, among others.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bishop Jenky and the St. Michael Prayer

Bishop Jenky of Peoria has asked all priests in his diocese to "insert the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel into the intercessions at Sunday Mass to pray for Catholics’ freedom" in response to the Obama Administration's (or HHS) recent imposition that contraception coverage be mandated at most religious institutions, including Catholic hospitals. The fine bishop then goes on to urge his flock by saying: "Have faith! Have courage! Fight boldly for what you believe! I strongly urge you not to be intimidated by extremist politicians or the malice of the cultural secularists arrayed against us.” You can read more about this story here.

I like the way this bishop thinks, since including the St. Michael prayer each week will allow the people of his diocese to: 1) Be reminded regularly of what is going on in regards to this issue, 2) Be involved by "fighting boldly" through the power of prayer. My parish has always prayed this prayer at the end of Mass, but perhaps I will incorporate it into my daily prayer intentions on this pressing issue.

A couple of notes on the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel:

1) St. Michael is found in Scripture in the books of Daniel, Jude, and Revelation.

2) Scriptural illusions to the prayer can be found in 1 Peter 5:8-9 and Revelation 20:10, among others.

The Prayer:
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits
who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Mondays with Verbum Domini

This week's selection focuses on a topic directly related to this blog. (Emphasis mine).

Translating the Bible and making it more widely available

The inculturation of God’s word is an integral part of the Church’s mission in the world, and a decisive moment in this process is the diffusion of the Bible through the precious work of translation into different languages. Here it should always be remembered that the work of translation of the Scriptures had been undertaken “already in the Old Testament period, when the Hebrew text of the Bible was translated orally into Aramaic (Neh 8:8,12) and later in written form into Greek. A translation, of course, is always more than a simple transcription of the original texts. The passage from one language to another necessarily involves a change of cultural context: concepts are not identical and symbols have a different meaning, for they come up against other traditions of thought and other ways of life”.

During the Synod, it was clear that a number of local Churches still lack a complete translation of the Bible in their own languages. How many people today hunger and thirst for the word of God, yet remain deprived of the “widely available access to Sacred Scripture” desired by the Second Vatican Council! For this reason the Synod considered it important, above all, to train specialists committed to translating the Bible into the various languages. I would encourage the investment of resources in this area. In particular I wish to recommend supporting the work of the Catholic Biblical Federation, with the aim of further increasing the number of translations of sacred Scripture and their wide diffusion. Given the very nature of such an enterprise, it should be carried out as much as possible in cooperation with the different Bible Societies.
-Verbum Domini 114

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Red "Barron" Takes His Aim at "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus"

Students in my Catholic Apologetics class are analyzing the "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus" Youtube video and looking at the best apologetic responses. Fr. Barron, as usual, provides a fine commentary.

Friday, January 27, 2012

More Info on the HarperOne NABRE

Set to be released sometime in April, HarperOne has slowly been releasing information about their NABRE edition. As mentioned in a post last year, this edition will come in imitation leather, hardcover, as well as an ebook format. It will contain the NABRE text, notes, and cross-references. The size of the print edition, 6 1/4 x 9 1/4, makes it quite comparable to the thinline Bibles HarperOne released in the NRSV translation. Unlike that edition, recent information released by HarperOne indicates that the NABRE edition will come with full-color maps. Below is the latest information from the HarperOne site:

The New American Bible revised edition is more than a mere Bible translation. Authorized by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the New American Bible seeks to provide the best resource for understanding the church's sacred Scripture.

To begin with, the translation beautifully and accurately conveys the word of God in English, using the most recent scholarly resources available and translating directly from the original languages. While the Bible plays a central role in the church's life, it is also important to remember that it is an ancient book written over several centuries. It carries a rich tradition of interpretation over even more centuries.

That is why the many scholars and church teachers who worked years on this project did more than provide a clear and accessible translation; they also sought to provide additional help and guidance for those who truly want to understand what they are reading:

*Each book of the Bible begins with an introduction, providing the historical context of the work, its literary style, its main themes, its use in the history of the church, as well as an outline of the contents.

*As you read the Scriptures, notes have been provided at the bottom of the page offering explanations for particular passages, terms, and concepts.

*Since Scripture often refers to itself, a system of cross-references are provided so you can see where else historical figures, particular stories, or similar concepts are also treated in the Bible.

*At the end of the Bible, sixteen pages of color maps are provided to help orient the Bible's stories in their geographical context.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Geoffrey's Review for January

This month, permanent guest blogger Geoffrey has prepared a concise review of Oxford's Catholic Bible: Personal Study Edition 2011.

This is not a study Bible for the timid and can be quite dense in places, but for those dedicated souls willing to slog through it and put their heart and soul into truly internalizing its scholarly riches, the rewards far outweigh the work.

As far as scholarship goes, the Catholic Bible, Personal Study Edition is "middle of the road"--neither overly conservative nor overly liberal. Essential truths of the faith are affirmed, but in a positive way that respects other points of view and emphasizes a historical-critical approach to Scripture without neglecting theological and inspirational methods of reading. Moderates like myself will feel right at home, however, those who are seeking a more traditional interpretation of Scripture should probably look elsewhere, such as Dr. Scott Hahn's magnificent series of commentaries.

Format-wise, I was afraid the two-column layout of the text would prove regrettable, but after spending time with my new Bible, I've actually come to like it. Essays and side notes are separated from the main text in clean, simple ways which are very pleasing to the eye. Also, all study materials, unlike in the Oxford Study Bible, have been updated to conform to the NABRE text. The font is also a decent size. The only negative thing I can think of is that the pages are a bit thin, so I'd imagine habitual notetakers will be disappointed; I have a taboo against writing in Bibles, so I don't really care.

If you're a Scripture student going for a degree in religion or history, or if you're preparing to enter the clergy, or if you simply desire to become a hardcore hobbyist, this Bible is essential, just as it purports to be. What are you waiting for? Buy it!

Some features of this edition include:
•Available in hardcover, paperback, and bonded leather
•Marginal references in the biblical text that point to specific pages in the Reading Guide are screened for greater visibility
•A 25-page glossary defines biblical terms with which students may not be familiar
•A 36-page section of authoritative, full color New Oxford Bible Maps (with place name index)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The word of God and the means of social communication

Linked to the relationship between the word of God and culture is the need for a careful and intelligent use of the communications media, both old and new. The Synod Fathers called for a proper knowledge of these media; they noted their rapid development and different levels of interaction, and asked for greater efforts to be made in gaining expertise in the various sectors involved, particularly in the new media, such as the internet. The Church already has a significant presence in the world of mass communications, and her magisterium has frequently intervened on the subject, beginning with the Second Vatican Council.[360] Discovering new methods of transmitting the Gospel message is part of the continuing evangelizing outreach of those who believe. Communications today take place through a worldwide network, and thus give new meaning to Christ’s words: “What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops” (Mt 10:27). God’s word should resound not only in the print media, but in other forms of communication as well. For this reason, together with the Synod Fathers, I express gratitude to those Catholics who are making serious efforts to promote a significant presence in the world of the media, and I ask for an ever wider and more qualified commitment in this regard.

Among the new forms of mass communication, nowadays we need to recognize the increased role of the internet, which represents a new forum for making the Gospel heard. Yet we also need to be aware that the virtual world will never be able to replace the real world, and that evangelization will be able to make use of the virtual world offered by the new media in order to create meaningful relationships only if it is able to offer the personal contact which remains indispensable. In the world of the internet, which enables billions of images to appear on millions of screens throughout the world, the face of Christ needs to be seen and his voice heard, for “if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man”.
-Verbum Domini 113

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Popular Catholic Bible Myths: The NAB(RE) is a Paraphrase

Today, I am beginning a new series of posts that will appear periodically on this blog. This series will be known as "Popular Catholic Bible Myths". Many of these "myths" are perpetuated on websites and discussion forums, where there is a tendency to circulate and restate popularly held beliefs that may not be accurate.

Today's Myth: The NAB(RE) is a paraphrase or mostly dynamic equivalence translation

I have found that this myth is assumed by quite a few people who discuss Bible translations at the various Catholic forums and websites. Go to any discussion forum thread about Catholic Bible translations and you are likely to find a few people dogmatically declaring the NAB(RE) to be a paraphrase or highly dynamic translation, compared to the more "noble" RSV or Douay-Rheims. Most notably Catholic Answers, which typically has reliable information, makes the following observation in their translation guide:

"Then there are mostly dynamic translations such as the New International Version (NIV) and the New American Bible (NAB)."

Yet, if you spend a little time with the NAB(RE) it becomes clear that it tends to be more formal/literal than dynamic. Is the NAB(RE) as formal/literal as the RSV? By no means. But it is not far off either, and certainly more literal than the majority of Bibles that have been produced during the past 40 years.

Here is what the translators had to say about the NAB(RE), beginning with the preface to the recently revised NABRE 2011 Old Testament mentions:

"In many ways it is a more literal translation than the original NAB and has attempted to be more consistent in rendering Hebrew (or Greek) words and idioms, especially in technical contexts, such as regulations for sacrifices."

Even back in 1986, the translators of the revised NAB NT devoted quite a bit of space to make the point in the preface:

"The primary aim of the revision is to produce a version as accurate and faithful to the meaning of the Greek original as is possible for a translation. The editors have consequently moved in the direction of a formal-equivalence approach to translation, matching the vocabulary, structure, and even word order of the original as closely as possible in the receptor language. Some other contemporary biblical versions have adopted, in varying degrees, a dynamic-equivalence approach, which attempts to respect the individuality of each language by expressing the meaning of the original in a linguistic structure suited to English, even though this may be very different from the corresponding Greek structure. While this approach often results in fresh and brilliant renderings, it has the disadvantages of more or less radically abandoning traditional biblical and liturgical terminology and phraseology, of expanding the text to include what more properly belongs in notes, commentaries, or preaching, and of tending toward paraphrase. A more formal approach seems better suited to the specific purposes intended for this translation."

In addition, the USCCB NABRE site states plainly that the "NABRE is a formal equivalent translation of Sacred Scripture, sponsored by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, using the best manuscripts available."

There are of course instances where the NAB(RE) translates a phrase in a more dynamic-equivalence style, see the "mighty wind" in Genesis 1:2 as an example. But overall, sentence structure and vocabulary tend to follow a more formal equivalence philosophy.

It must be acknowledged that a major problem the NAB(RE) has faced over the years was that it was particularly uneven after the publication of the revised Psalms in 1991. Most people experienced with an edition of the NAB which had a mediating Old Testament translation completed in the 50's and 60's with no inclusive language, a revised New Testament which was far more literal than the original OT and NT with moderate inclusive language, and then a revised Psalter which used both vertical and horizontal inclusive language. It is no wonder that confusion has arisen over this translation.

Fortunately, the most recent New American Bible Revised Edition, published last March, has resolved a number of the problems of the previous edition. It is, overall, a more even translation, both in its translation philosophy, but also its use of inclusive language. There are, of course, no perfect translations, but the current NABRE is superior to the original, while only being slightly less literal than many of the formal translations, like the RSV, NRSV, and ESV.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Prayers for Scott Hahn

Follow the below link for why:
Prayers for Scott Hahn

Review: Oxford NABRE Concise Concordance

Although Oxford University Press dropped the ball in regards to their Catholic Study Bible NABRE by not keying the reading guides to the NABRE text, they have done a fine job with the release of the The New American Bible Revised Edition Concise Concordance. Although some retail bookstores have a publication date of mid-February, I received mine yesterday from Amazon.com. This concise concordance, printed in the USA, covers all 73 books of the Catholic canon, with 40,000 references and 5,890 key words. This is not an exhaustive concordance, like the RSV edition from Emmaus Road, but it does cover the most significant words needed for "personal and professional Bible research (v)" found in the NABRE. Also, there are capsule biographies for 435 of the most prominent personalities of the Bible.

Those of you who have the original NAB Concise Concordance will be quite familiar with this product's page layout. If you are interested in seeing this for yourself, Amazon.com does preview some pages which you can see here. It comes in a hardcover edition, with glued binding. The book's dimensions, coming in at 9.1 x 6.6 x 1 inches, make it very easy to carry with you to class or Bible study.

All in all a very good and helpful Bible study tool. While not being an exhaustive concordance, which I think the NABRE needs, it certainly is more thorough than the one found at the end of the Catholic Study Bible by Oxford. It will also be an aid for those of you who use the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible, which doesn't include a concordance. Hopefully we will continue to see more study tools released that are keyed to the NABRE.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spot Check of This Past Sunday's Second Reading

So, are you able to pick out which of the following translations of 1 Corinthians 6:13-15;17-20 is the NABRE, NRSV, or RSV? Which do you prefer and why? Remember, no cheating!

"The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body; God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with him. Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body."

"The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

"The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body."

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mondays with Verbum Domini

Sacred Scripture in the variety of artistic expressions

The relationship between the word of God and culture has found expression in many areas, especially in the arts. For this reason the great tradition of East and West has always esteemed works of art inspired by sacred Scripture, as for example the figurative arts and architecture, literature and music. I think too of the ancient language expressed by icons, which from the Eastern tradition is gradually spreading throughout the world. With the Synod Fathers, the whole Church expresses her appreciation, esteem and admiration of those artists “enamoured of beauty” who have drawn inspiration from the sacred texts. They have contributed to the decoration of our churches, to the celebration of our faith, to the enrichment of our liturgy and many of them have helped to make somehow perceptible, in time and space, realities that are unseen and eternal. I encourage the competent offices and groups to promote in the Church a solid formation of artists with regard to sacred Scripture in the light of the Church’s living Tradition and her magisterium. -Verbum Domini 112

Thursday, January 12, 2012

EWTN Bookmark: Hahn and ICSB

Thanks to an anonymous reader for alerting me to this. It seems that Dr. Hahn thinks the entire ICSB will be completed by 2014 or 2015. Let's hope so.

The beginning of this interview I found most helpful, where Hahn essentially compares the ICSB to the NIV Study Bible. He notes, rightly so, that there are no Catholic study Bibles that have that mix of being both academic and theological, like the NIV Study Bible. I think we would all agree that the Catholic Study Bible from Oxford is clearly more academic.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

BLT, Bible Translations, and Job

Theophrastus, who is a frequent commentator on this blog, has begun a series of posts on his blog looking at fourteen Bible translations in light of the Book of Job. You can check out the beginning of this series here. This should be a fascinating series.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Come and See Bible Study Series

The Come and See Catholic Bible Study Series is a resource I have not talked much about on this blog, but one that I highly recommend. I have found it to be most helpful for those in the beginner-intermediate level of Bible study. Many of these editions are at least 20 lessons long, beautifully produced, and include video instruction as well. For a quick look at the available studies, go here.

The author of the Wisdom study edition, mentioned above on EWTN Bookmark, is Bishop Jan Liesen of the Netherlands. I have had the blessing of hearing him teach on a number of occasions, back when Renewal Ministries held their School of Bible Study. He is a wonderful Scripture scholar and a humble servant of Holy Mother Church.

Mondays with Verbum Domini

Knowledge of the Bible in schools and universities

One particular setting for an encounter between the word of God and culture is that of schools and universities. Pastors should be especially attentive to this milieu, promoting a deeper knowledge of the Bible and a grasp of its fruitful cultural implications also for the present day. Study centres supported by Catholic groups offer a distinct contribution to the promotion of culture and education – and this ought to be recognized. Nor must religious education be neglected, and religion teachers should be given careful training. Religious education is often the sole opportunity available for students to encounter the message of faith. In the teaching of religion, emphasis should be laid on knowledge of sacred Scripture, as a means of overcoming prejudices old and new, and enabling its truth to be better known. -Verbum Domini 111

And I say Amen! (Emphasis mine)

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Reader Question

From time to time I receive a question from a reader that I think would make for an interesting discussion on this blog. The following comes from a reader who is the DRE of a parish and in charge of the parish's RCIA program.

He provides a little background information before getting to his main two questions:

One of my DRE joys is being chief catechist and bottle-washer for RCIA. Each year we provide everyone in the process a Bible and a CCC. The small white Doubleday hardback of the CCC is fine and not excessively expensive. The Bible, for the past 10years, has been the NAB in the Fireside Study Edition with flexible cover.

It met all our criteria:

1. We wanted everyone to have the same edition for our classes because we use the Scripture a lot for instruction and being able to give out page numbers saves us oceans of time in a class that is usually 95% Bible illiterate. They know a lot more about how to find their way around a Bible by the time Easter comes, but use 10 references in a class and wait for everyone to locate 2 Maccabees, then 1 Corinthians, then…well, we did that one year and vowed never again.

2. Translation as close as we can get to what they will hear year after year in the Mass. And a translation that is standard for Catholics in the US. [It irritates me no end that the bishops don’t insist that our liturgical texts and personal Scriptures agree, but that’s a different topic.]

3. Easy of use.

a. Those page numbers we need are prominent and easy to find in the upper right and left corners of each page.

b. Equally important, the verse numbers are also prominent and easy to see (bolded throughout the text, all along the left in poetry).

c. It also has blacked-in tabs along the sides, which helps us help them begin to locate some larger books (such as Psalms) we use each meeting.

d. Reasonable size print. Good contrast between print black and page whiteness.

e. Footnotes on the page with the verses they refer to. Ditto with cross references.

f. Paper quality and thinness that allows a 1400 page Bible and 200 pages of extra materials to measure 1.25 inches thick. Handy to carry, not too heavy, too.

g. The 200 extra pages include Dei Verbum, brief intro to how we got the Bible, chapter and verse divisions, etc., in the front. At the back it has an encyclopedic dictionary chock full of useful Catholic definitions, devotions, and general knowledge, 3 year reading cycle, and maps.

4. Quality—made to last for many years. It’s not a top-of-the-line Bible, but it is far from shabby or disposable-looking. A paperback Bible is no way to show them we consider the Bible important. We like to send them off with this basic formation tool in a near-permanent form.

5. Affordable. Buying in bulk we could get them for around $16-$18 apiece (plus shipping).

1) What do others use for RCIA?

2) What, if anything, are they going to do now that all the publishers are issuing new Bibles NABRE-form?

Thursday, January 5, 2012


One of the more recent editions of the NABRE to be published comes from the American Bible Society. Available in both hardcover and paperback, the ABS NABRE is a fairly cheap edition if you are looking to have this translation on your bookshelf. On the ABS site, the hardcover goes for $16.49, while the paperback is only $7.25.

The hardcover is 5 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches, encompassing 1440 pages. While the binding is glued, the Bible itself sits open nicely. The overall page layout is the standard one you see with most NAB's or NABRE's, although I would say the print is bit smaller than usual. While this makes reading a little more difficult, the payoff is that there is plenty of room at the top and bottom of each page for personal annotations. (See photo) The Bible paper is a basic white, quite similar to what you would find in the older RSV-CE hardcover/paperback published by Ignatius.

Along with the standard NABRE text, notes, and cross-references, the ABS NABRE includes the lectionary readings for both weekdays and Sundays. Also there are two sections of maps included in the appendix. The first section includes four black and white maps covering the ancient world, the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, Palestine in the Time of the Maccabees, and Palestine in New Testament Times. Immediately following these maps there are eight additional full-color maps which chart the Empires at around 1300 BC, Egypt and Sinai 1400-1200 BC, The United Kingdom of Israel in the Time of Kings Saul, David, and Solomon 1000-924 BC, Jerusalem in OT Times 960-44BC, Palestine in the Times of the Maccabees 175-63BC, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus, and Paul's Third Journey and His Journey to Rome. I found it quite odd to have to different sets of maps, one in color and the other in black and white. (I should note that the wonderful Cambridge NRSV w/Apocrypha does the same.) Also, if you are going to chart Paul's Third and Fourth Journeys, why not include the first two?

Again, this is a very basic edition of the NABRE. I certainly appreciate the low price for it, along with the margin space for notes. Is this the best edition of the NABRE out there? By no means! Or rather "of course not!" I have a few questions, in particular, about its durability, particularly since this is the first ABS Bible that I have ever owned. We shall see!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Best Books of 2011 and Beyond

Of all the "End of the Year" best books lists that are published each year at this time, my favorite has always been the one from Ignatius Insight. I appreciate seeing what books many of these fine Ignatius Press authors have read during the past year. After reading the list, I find myself desiring to find more time in life to be able to read a mere fraction of the books listed. But alas, that is not my lot in life at this point, so I must follow the wise words of Gandalf the Grey: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

With that said, I would like to try, once more, another book study. One which we will finish! :) Do we have any recommendations? Whatever book is chosen, we will focus on reading one chapter per week, in order to bring about, hopefully, greater discussion. Your contributions are essential for this to be fruitful!

Here are a couple of suggestions from me, although I am open to other recommendations:

Simply Jesus, NT Wright

The Meaning of the Bible, Knight and Levine

Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians by Bailey

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What are Your Bible Plans for 2012

So, any of you planning to read the whole Bible in 2012? How about using a new daily devotional you received for Christmas? To be fair, I am not big on New Year's Resolutions, but I do find myself trying to place a greater emphasis on this or that aspect of my spiritual life at the beginning of each year.

So here are my plans:

1) I am going to continue to use the Liturgy of the Hours as my foundation for daily prayer. I had picked it up again starting in Advent. In the past I have used the older Little Office of Our Lady, which I am sure I will use from time to time. However, I want to really focus on praying with the Church each and every day, particularly Lauds and Vespers, along with Compline.

2) I am going to use the NABRE as my daily reading Bible. I did something similar to this a few years back, when I went with the NRSV for an entire year. I found that I was able to truly get a better grasp of the translation and why certain decisions were made. It will also allow me to get more familiar with the NABRE notes, which are often more debated than the translation itself. So, I hope to share some of my NABRE reading experiences with you throughout the year.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mondays with Verbum Domini

The Bible, a great code for cultures

"The Synod Fathers greatly stressed the importance of promoting a suitable knowledge of the Bible among those engaged in the area of culture, also in secularized contexts and among non-believers. Sacred Scripture contains anthropological and philosophical values that have had a positive influence on humanity as a whole. A sense of the Bible as a great code for cultures needs to be fully recovered." - Verbum Domini 110