Online Catholic Bible Study
What is Bible Study?
Bible Study refers to the study of the Holy Scriptures. While the term is often used by Protestants, Catholics should engage in daily Scripture reading and they should study the Scriptures in order to better understand the meanings in them.
Does the Church Encourage Catholics to Read the Bible?
It is often falsely believed by non-Catholics that Catholics are discouraged from reading the Bible. This is not the case. In fact, the Church grants great spiritual benefits to those who engage in Scripture study. It was St. Jerome, a Catholic saint, who first compiled the Bible! Jesus Christ, our Blessed Redeemer, did not write the Bible and leave it with His Apostles. The Bible came approximately 300 years into Christianity. The Church has always taught that Tradition and Scripture are the two means of divine revelation. And this makes sense since there was no Bible for over 300 years into Christianity!
Catholics are taught not to independently interpret the Bible but, we are encouraged to read the Bible. During the Middle Ages, most people could not read so the word of God was taught verbally and through pictures. Indeed, that is one reason we have beautiful stained glass windows in Cathedrals. Yet even from the earliest days of the Church, the Church Fathers encouraged their followers to read the Bible. Even in relatively recent history, the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu by Pope Pius XII in 1943 encouraged Catholics to read and study the Bible.
Why Can't Catholics Interpret the Bible?
First, the Bible contains many different types of texts since it was written by many different authors over hundreds of years. While some passages are meant to be read literally, others are meant to be read metaphorically or even in a different sense. We don't know how to read the Bible without training. So we should look up to nearly 2,000 years of Catholic tradition which has examined, debated, analyzed, and prayed on the Scriptures. We know what the Scriptures mean by virtue of the Church who teaches us what they mean.
It is not possible for one passage to have contradictory meanings. Something can't be both true and false at the same time. But if everyone read the Scriptures and interpreted them as they personally saw fit, we would have different and contradictory views on the same truth taught by Christ. That isn't possible. It logically doesn't make sense! So, it's vital that we learn what the Scriptures actually mean and we can do this through Catholic Bible study.
How Can I Study the Bible?
In addition to the Catechisms, which contain many Scriptural references and can help us understand the Faith with a basis in Scripture, it is also praiseworthy to read the Bible along with a Bible Commentary. We highly recommend the Haydock's Bible Commentary. Pair it with your reading of Scripture
How Can I Get a Bible?
Are There Online Catholic Bible Studies?
Yes! CatechismClass.com produces a number of courses for children, young adults, and adults and all of which follow a unique 7 step approach:
- Introduction. Description of the Lesson Topic.
- Opening Prayer.
- Scripture References for the Topic (we always include Scripture in our lessons).
- Catechism References as they relate to the lesson's topic, which almost always have a reference to Scripture.
- Integration. A Personally written section that explains and expands upon the Scriptures and Catechism in light of the Church teaching, beliefs, writing of the saints, et cetera.
- Activity to Live out the Lesson's Teachings.
- Closing Prayer.
What Scripture Translation is Used by the CatechismClass.com Lessons?
The adult courses use the Douay Rheims and the children's courses use the RSV-CE. These are both approved Catholic Bible translations. From a convert's perspective, many adults find greater benefit from the Douay Rheims because its style more closely mirrors that of the King James Version.
How Can I Sign Up for an Online Bible Study?
Explore the CatechismClass.com Course Catalogue to find affordable, complete, and convenient online Scripture study courses for Catholics. Our Adult Faith Formation Course or our Introduction to Catholicism Course would both be ideal places to start.