1. The Bible is the Church’s book.
The Bible was written by men of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church, by the same Spirit, determined which books to include in the official Canon. The Bible tells our family story, from Creation through the early Church, with some previews of what’s to come.
2. The Church urges us to read the Bible.
Really. The stereotype of the Catholic Church suppressing Bible reading is false, a misreading of history. Vatican II included an entire constitution, Dei Verbum, on the Bible. “The Church ‘forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful. . . to learn “the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ,” by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures.’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #133, quoting Dei Verbum and Philippians 3:8).
3. The Bible teaches us about Christ.
St. Jerome wrote, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” If you want to know what God is really like and what He requires of us, you will read what He told us about Himself.
4. The Bible contains the world’s greatest literature.
If you’ve ever studied classic novels and been awed by their intricacy, try reading the Bible. Numerous authors from different times and places cover the same themes, types and anti-types, prophecies and fulfillment. And what poetry surpasses the Psalms for portraying the movements of the human heart–or for sheer beauty?
5. Cultural literacy requires knowledge of the Bible.
You can’t understand The Grapes of Wrath if you don’t know about the Scripture the title refers to. C. S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength makes no sense without reference to the Tower of Babel. On this blog, we’ve seen how even Peter Rabbit contains biblical themes. And what could you make of Haydn’s Creation or Strauss’s Salome?
6. Biblical references permeate the Mass.
“Glory to God in the highest.” “Behold, the Lamb of God.” “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.” These and many more direct and indirect quotes from the Bible fill the liturgy. Can you understand them, if you don’t know where they come from?
7. Prepare yourself for Mass by studying the Bible readings first.
This is one of the best ways to keep in step with Holy Mother Church throughout the liturgical year. Learn the context of the readings. Use a good Catholic commentary to help you understand them.
8. The Gospels are the best source for Christian meditation.
The saints tell us that the Bible exceeds all other spiritual books, even their own. Prayerfully read about the life of Jesus and learn to love Him.
9. Impress your Protestant friends.
Okay, I’m kidding. But if you know the Scriptures well, you’ll be less likely to be led astray by well-meaning “Bible Christians” who use proof texts to argue that the Catholic Church is wrong. Or those from pseudo-Christian religions, for that matter. Instead, you may be able to teach them something.
10. The Bible provides ammunition against temptation.
If you’re confronted by a sudden temptation, it helps to have a Bible verse ready to repeat to yourself. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”(Philippians 4:13) is a good one. Or, “No temptation has seized you, except that which is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Try, “You have not yet resisted to the pointing of shedding blood” (Hebrews 12:4). Memorize a few verses about the sins that haunt you. Memorize a few short cries for help.
Add your reasons for reading the Bible below.