One common myth about Catholics is that we don’t study the Bible. It’s especially popular among our Protestant brothers and sisters. According to the view, Catholics pray to Mary, go to Mass, serve the poor, and play tons of Bingo but they rarely engage the written word of God.
I held the same misconception for years as a Protestant. But five years ago, when I began exploring Catholicism, this myth was one of the first to fall. I read documents like Dei Verbum, Vatican II’s magnificent treatise on Divine Revelation which had several chapters on Sacred Scripture and encouraged a renewal in Bible scholarship. I discovered giants of the Word like St. Augustine, St. Jerome, and the early Church Fathers. I encountered modern Catholic Scripture scholars like Dr. Raymond Brown, Dr. Scott Hahn, and Daniel Harrington. And I met many Catholics who heard the Bible proclaimed at Mass then went home and studied it some more.
His Great Adventure Bible study has helped thousands of Catholics understand the bigger Story of Scripture and many have been aided by his books like Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible (Ascension Press, 2010).
Jeff’s most recent project is Walking Toward Eternity (Ascension Press, 2012), a multi-volume DVD series designed to help Catholics live their faith and master the virtues.
Jeff sat down with me at the recent Catholic Marketing Network expo to discuss his relationship with Scripture, his Great Adventure Bible study, and his recommended books on the Bible.
Watch or download our interview below:
Download the interview here (9 minutes)
0:59 – The role of Scripture in Jeff’s life
2:41 – Insights from Verum Domini (The Word of the Lord)
3:16 – Pope Benedict XVI on “lectio divina”
4:19 – What is the Bible Timeline study resource?
6:06 – What are the best Catholic books on Scripture?
Jeff’s Recommended Books on Scripture
- Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration by Pope Benedict XVI (Ignatius, 2008)
- Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection by Pope Benedict XVI (Ignatius, 2011)
- Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Jeff Cavins and Tim Gray (Ascension Press, 2010)
- The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures by Dr. Edward Sri (Ascension Press, 2009)
- Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina by Dr. Tim Gray (Ascension Press, 2009)
Q: What were some of the key insights from Pope Benedict’s recent exhortation on Scripture, Verum Domini (The Word of the Lord)?
Well, I think the Holy Father was introducing people to the Bible in a fresh, lively way. This is, as you mentioned, part of our Tradition. We’re “people of the Word”, not “people of the Book.” So we’re not told not to read the Bible. We’re told to engage the Bible—to immerse ourselves in the Bible.
Pope Benedict XVI, in this wonderful document, talks about [the Bible as] a great conversation. When we get together with God, and we open up the Word of God, He begins to speak to us and we begin to speak to Him.
In that document, [the Pope] talks about “lectio divina”. Lectio divina is divine reading, an ancient art of encountering God’s Word where you begin to read it, you begin to meditate upon it, you begin to pray, and you begin to contemplate. In that process, you ask God questions about the Word and He begins to speak to you. The hope is that there will be that conversation, and that you will put it into practice and the fruit will follow.
You can follow Jeff and his work at JeffCavins.com and learn more about the Great Adventure Bible study at BibleStudyForCatholics.com.
How do you study the Bible?