Reading the Bible v. having it read for you

I read a lot of blogs where there are discussions about various books in the Bible.  It’s really interesting.  I grew up in the Catholic tradition, and went to CCD when I was little from the time that I was in elementary school until about 8th grade, when I was confirmed. We had priests and nuns, with the priests being the primary person that conducted masses and took our confessions and did the marriages and last rites etc.  They were also the primary interpreters of the Bible.  During our education or indoctrination into the religion, however you want to look at it, we were never encouraged to read the Bible for ourselves in part because the tradition calls for someone to read and tell us what it says.  Now that I think about it, that’s another reason I didn’t like Catholicism particularly. Taking away independent thought in some way, by keeping the masses in the dark, doesn’t quite sit right with me.



3 thoughts on “Reading the Bible v. having it read for you

  1. Melissa,

    I’m so sorry that you had that experience. That hasn’t been my experience with Catholicism at all at least post eighth grade. I have been a member of four different Catholic Faith communities and the RCIA sponsor for two friends. Every community that I have taken part in has opportunities for Bible Study and actively encourages their members to participate. As part of the RCIA process the candidates read and discussed scripture at every meeting. It is true, that perhaps historically the church has tended toward the hierchical model of scriptural interpretation you described, and many of the Catholic saints, worked to change this.

    At this season of my life, I don’t have time for a group bible study, but I try to set aside time for scriptural reflection. I rely on a Jesuit podcast which gives my an opportunity to settle myself and meditate on a scriptural passage. I also appreciate my time at mass. I have heard the same reading cycles for the past 36 years, but every time I go to mass I get some fresh insight. I may not always agree with the priest’s interpretation but it gives me a starting point for a dialogue with God. All priests must have extensive course work in Theology, so I find that they usually have a unique interpretation of the passage and can often give me some historical background that I’m unaware of. Lay ministers also interpret the scripture in their communion services. My mom did this at a local nursing home for several years.

    Anyway, I have the flu and am off to bed, but I just wanted to chime in with a different perspective. If you ever decide to give the Catholic church a second chance, I hope you will find comfort and challenge in the scripture and a faith community that allows you independent thought.


  2. Hi there…thanks for commenting on my blog earlier.You may be surprised what creativity you hold!

    I wanted to comment on the bible reading…this is a great post. And very thoughtful. The bible is God’s Word for YOU…for ALL of us. It is for you to read personally…

    But there was a time (and you’ll read of it in the bible) when the religious were the only ones allowed to read the bible. There are several reason for this…but the bottom line is that the catholic religion adopted this…and it’s stuck.

    The bible is amazing…scripture is alive…and it is for you. I would suggest getting yourself an NIV study bible bible and going for it!! You won’t regret it! Have a great day…Michelle

  3. As a fellow northeastern Catholic, I chuckled when I read this. Mr. A. and I have this discussion all the time – it still amazes me to realize just how much your pastor truly shapes your perception of Catholicism, especially the one you had in childhood. Father Keyes always encouraged us to find our own truths, and our own way – positioned himself as the guide if we needed one, the fellow journeyer if not.

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