Thursday, October 04, 2012

I missed the first week because I was off listening to Fr. James Martin, SJ at a church in Hamilton, NJ.

Tonight, a quiet man sat next to me. I asked whether he was a deacon and he insisted that he was not. He had a brand new King James Version of the Bible with him that he said he had just picked up at Barnes and Noble. It was a Red Letter Edition, but I don't think Thomas Nelson makes any other kind. He said he was new to Bible study but thought he heard too little Scripture at mass. He wants more. He showed me how easy his Bible was to read and understand. Aware that the KJV isn't esteemed for its intelligibility to today's reader, I thought he had, perhaps, the Amplified Version instead. But after looking over a couple of pages, I could see it was not the Amplified Version, just a large print edition. I said nothing negative about his book, only that it was very nice and easy-to-read.

On my other side was a talkative woman who showed me her Bible, Tyndale's "One Year Bible" in the New Living Translation. I've never actually cracked the cover of this edition before tonight and, when I did, I was a bit horrified at its sequence. It's a calendar, basically, with Scripture passages assigned for each day of the year. So, one can't flip to the end of the book and find The Revelation or turn over to the front and find Genesis. It's all mixed up instead. How strange to bring such a thing to a Bible study! No need, really, because we're working from the "Synopsis of the Four Gospels" presently. Handouts of the text are provided for whomever doesn't have Aland's book.

Towards the end of the discussion, the quiet man next to me spoke up to the group, asking about "biblical inspiration," as a phrase he'd read about or heard batted about. Now, last night, I attended a presentation from Msgr. Benwell on the Origin and Nature of the New Testament and he presented two understandings of "biblical inspiration." I'm not very clear on it myself. I just know what it's not. So, the diversity of views was mentioned and a couple of paraphrases from Dei Verbum were given.

After the evening, the quiet man told me he'd attended a Bible study at a nearby Independent, Fundamental Baptist (IFB) church. I had some acquaintance with the church because my children attended Vacation Bible School there last summer. I also tried to attend their women's Bible study on Wednesday mornings but it was too social for my tastes. Oh, yeah, and too fundamentalist. His complaint was that the pastor covered only two verses the entire time. He said, at that rate, he'd die before he got very far. Covering only two verses could be bad or could be good. Taking tangents and getting sidetracked aren't good. But really covering those verses and maybe flipping to other verses could be really good. I wasn't there so I don't know. But I asked him whether he would go back again and he indicated that he would not. I hope he returns to ours next time.


RAnn said...

I think many Catholics could use a quick course on Bible translations and basic Bible reading.

Moonshadow said...

Maybe but that's my frustration: we spend all our Bible study time talking about the Bible instead of reading it.

Barbara Schoeneberger said...

Good point, Moonshadow. I've never been to a Bible study class myself. Maybe a way to look at the Bible is to say we are praying the Bible when we read scripture, and study is "about" the Bible. I think I get the most out of scripture myself by reading the Bible and then commentaries by reputable Catholic authors.

kkollwitz said...

My wife & I used to teach Bible-based RCIA. Each week the class knew what to read for next week's class, so generally classtime was spent on analyzing what had already been read at home; not re-reading it all.

Moonshadow said...

And hopefully, everyone did their homework, kkollwitz.

My preference in this particular Bible study group is to read together a section and discuss whatever strikes us. Ideally, participants read the sections ahead of time and come prepared. But the time isn't wasted if they haven't.