More on Reading the Bible


More on Reading the Bible

In the comment directly below (thanks to a blogger outage, I was unable to post most of what I wanted to yesterday), Tom asks a question about NAB study Bible. Here's my take on study bibles:

You might look into the Ignatius Study Bible in pieces--if you've a mind to start immediately or you want a sampling, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts are available. I have found it reasonably useful, although some of the guides seem unreasonably literal. For example, in Matthew commentary about leprosy, the authors point out the Levitical law regarding leprosy of person, clothes, and house. While these are truly Levitical, a house cannot have leprosy. In addition the commentary notes only the exterior features of the disease saying that sins makes us leprous. True enough, but the real horror of the disease is the eventual destruction of the peripheral nervous system that cuts off any ability to perceive the world. In an analogical reading, this is by far a better sense of what sin does to us--it desensitizes or destroys our ability to perceive God in the world and in our lives.

Okay, so there are some minor inadequacies. But I think that for most people, these will be a stunning revelation in the mode of Catholic Study Bibles. Given my long history of Study Bibles, I don't find this particularly great, but it is head and shoulders above much of the rest.

As for Frank's suggestion--which I think a good one. You might want to look at Stephen Ray's Gospel of John study available from Ignatius. It's lengthy, it looks to the thorough, and it is a great gospel to have a good guide to. My problem with most study bibles is that they tend to distract me from what I believe to be the main purpose of bible reading--to expand the reach of my heart and make me more able to imitate Jesus through knowing Him. Often I become distracted (as in the case above) by small absurdities in notes, or by commentary that seems to come out of left field. Bible Study should be given a separate time from reflective or meditative Bible reading--I don't think the two are compatible in the same time period. I DO believe that they are complementary, at least inasmuch as one Bible Study gives one a firmer foundation on which to base reflection and meditation, and Lectio or Meditation helps increase the hunger for knowing clearly what God is asking.

Hope this is helpful.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 28, 2002 7:05 AM.

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