Inspired by Archbishop Richard Smith’s pastoral letter, Living in the Word of God, I’ve recently been encouraging students and adults alike to spend more time reading their Bibles. I believe we would all benefit by making a commitment to read at least one chapter from the Bible every day, and this post is a resource to help people do just that.
Here’s three simple tips to help you get started:
1. Obviously, if you want to read the Bible, you need a Bible. The Catholic Youth Bible is a great print edition for students, while I personally use the Didache Bible at home. Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire multi-volume Bible is also an excellent resource. If you prefer to work from your devices, Olive Tree has an excellent app that works across all platforms. NOTE: If you’re buying or downloading a Bible, keep an eye on the edition – both to ensure you’re reading a good translation and that all the books are included. Good Catholic translations include the New American Bible (NAB), The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB), the Revised Standard Version (RSV), or the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) – which is the edition we use for readings at Sunday Mass in Canada.
2. If you’re going to read the Bible, it helps to know where to start reading. While there are many Bible Reading plans (the Great Adventure Bible Study is one of my favorites, and I created a video study to go with it a few years ago), the easiest thing to do is to read the New Testament first. If you read one chapter per day, this will take you 9-10 months. (Reading at this pace would mean about 4 years of reading 1 chapter per day to get through all of the Bible.) Reading the New Testament first will help you understand the Old Testament, as many events in the Old Testament make much more sense if you know where you’re headed. I also have a handy checklist to keep track of what you’ve read, chapter by chapter:
- I’ve found Dr. Scott Hahn’s book, A Father Who Keeps His Promises and Jeff Cavins book Walking with God to be exceptionally valuable tool in to help me make sense of the Bible.
- Fr. Mike Schmitz recorded a podcast, the Bible in a Year, where he reads (and explains) the whole Bible to you in 365 episodes.
3. Finally, there is great value in learning to pray your way through the Bible, rather than just reading your way through it. There’s a simple process for praying with Scripture called Lectio Divina. Good books to help you with this include Pathway to Our Hearts by Cardinal Thomas Collins and The Better Part by Fr. John Bartunek. I’ve also got a small handout based on the work of Cardinal Collins & Fr. Bartunek which you are more than welcome to use:
Know that I am praying for you as you begin, begin again, or continue this journey of living in the Word of God!