Bible scholars have developed a new edition of the Bible designed to help everyday Catholics overcome the notion that scripture study is particular to Protestants.
Bible scholar Mary Healy, general editor for “The Great Adventure Catholic Bible” published by Ascension Press, said it is intended to make the Bible more accessible to the Catholic laity and thereby encourage their daily communion with God through scripture. Healy asserted that while many Catholics have not grown up studying scripture and were instead led to believe that doing so was a Protestant practice, such thinking is not in line with the teachings of early church fathers. (RELATED: Chinese Government Reinterpreting The Bible For The Masses)
“As Catholics we’ve not had a culture of studying the Bible. Many Catholics were brought up with the idea that reading the Bible is something more Protestant,” Healy told Crux Now. “That’s actually a tremendous distortion that would have horrified St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas, any of the fathers of our church or theologians of our history, who recognized scripture as the word of God and the soul of theology.”
Healy hopes this new Bible will help change the way Catholics in general think about engaging with scripture in their personal lives. This Bible edition, released in August, features 70 key biblical events highlighted and placed in chronological order to help readers understand the narrative that runs through the books of scripture. It also features timelines, scholarly articles and color coding, among other tools to help readers make clearer sense of what they’re reading.
“Many Catholics that I meet feel that scripture is kind of inaccessible to them. They don’t feel like scripture is something they can pick up every day and read and have a conversation with God through it,” Healy said. “But this Bible is going to help people do that.”
Healy is a member of the Pentecostal-Catholic International Dialogue and serves on the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at the Vatican. She is also one of three women who Pope Francis appointed to the Pontifical Biblical Commission. The biblical scholar also noted the importance of scriptural knowledge to the mission of evangelization, saying that a lack of knowledge prevents Catholics from effectively sharing the good news of Christ with others. Lack of knowledge also leads to the spread of false gospels — a spiritual kind of “fake news,” according to Healy.
“In our world today, there is a plague of misinformation, of fake news, but more importantly of deceptions about who we are as human beings, about the meaning of life, about who God is,” Healy said.
“The time is ripe for Catholics to boldly, unabashedly, joyfully propose once again the glorious good news of Jesus Christ, and to do it not just repeating formulas from the past but to do it in a way that answered the needs of our contemporaries. People are desperately hungry for the truth. There is so much misinformation and disinformation and false Gospels, that we need to shine out the word of truth all the more brightly,” she added.
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