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How to Read the Holy Bible in One Year

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How to Read the Holy Bible in One Year

By: John Seiler

Summary: Catholics are encouraged to read the Bible. Here's how to do so in one year.

Keywords: Holy Bible, Holy Scripture, One Year Bible Reading, 1 Year Bible Reading, Read Bible in a Year, Scripture Reading

Despite what some opponents of the Catholic Faith say, Catholics always have been encouraged to read the Holy Bible.* "To become adult Christians you must learn familiarity with the scriptures," urged St. John Chrysostom more than 1,600 years ago. In 1920, in his encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, Pope Benedict XV instructed, "For St. Jerome...has by his earnest and illuminative defense of Catholic doctrine on Holy Scripture left us most precious instructions. These we propose to set before you and so promote among the children of the Church, and especially among the clergy, assiduous and reverent study of the Bible."

But the Bible can be intimidating, running to as many as 1,400 pages in some editions. Yet there are ways to read through it in a year as smoothly as possible.

The first thing to do is determine which Bible to read. Of course it should be a Catholic edition, which contains all the books of the Bible. Most of these editions can be read free online, or can be acquired for free or purchased for $1 or so as e-books. Or print editions can be picked up at a Catholic book store, a used book store or online. [Note: For more on bible selection, try here]

Protestants have cut out some crucial books, such as the Book of Wisdom and the two books of Maccabees [and they have also corrupted passages & included heretical footnotes / comments - traditionally, they may be viewed as "spiritual poison"]. So their bibles should be avoided. [Note: For more on this topic, try here]

Although the language is a bit archaic, a good Bible to start with is the Douay-Rheims version, as revised by Bishop Challoner, and with his notes that are valuable in inculcating the correct, Catholic interpretations. He was a bishop in England in the mid-18th Century when the country was becoming more tolerant of Catholics after two centuries of persecutions. So he had to instruct his flock in the differences between Protestant and Catholic ways of looking at the Bible...

Although I have read the Bible before, in recent years I have devised two ways of reading it through in one year. Each way takes about 20 minutes per day. By the way, if you get too busy, just read one chapter a day to keep going. Anybody can do that. Then pick up the next day with the usual number of chapters.

The first way: Start with Genesis, and read four chapters a day. In the Douay-Rheims-Challoner version, this takes you to 1 and 2 Maccabees at the end of the Old Testament. For me, reading that far left my soul parched and waiting for Jesus in the New Testament. Protestants make a big mistake leaving out Maccabees because it takes us right up to shortly before the events of the Gospels. Otherwise, there's a big gap of a couple centuries.

The second way: Do four readings each day...

1. Start the day with one Psalm. Each day read another Psalm. After 150 or 151 days (depending on the numbering), start over.

2. Start at Genesis and read the rest of the Old Testament, except the Psalms (which you already are reading).

3. Read one chapter of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. That way, Jesus is with you every day.

4. Read one chapter, sequentially, of Acts, the Epistles or Apocalypse/Revelation. That way, the apostles are with you every day.

The Bible is the Word of God, but also the basis of our Christian culture - or what's left of it in these P.C. times. It informs our literature and our art. So many of the stories are the most memorable you will read, such as King David defeating Goliath. Later, David laments when his wayward son is killed, "Absalom! Absalom!"

In the Gospels are Jesus' parables of the wheat and chaff and the seven wise and seven foolish virgins. Everything is so beautiful and loaded with meaning.

Finally, I recommend reading the Bible by itself (besides Challoner's comments) the first couple of times. Later, check out some orthodox commentaries. One I find excellent is Fr. Knecht's "A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture," a German work translated into English around 100 years ago. You may find it for $1 or less as an e-book, or buy a paperback.

Another treasure is Haydock's version of Challoner's translation, dating to the late 19th century. Haydock includes commentaries on almost every verse. Printed versions may run $70 or more, but it may also be available online for free.

After a couple of readings, you will know God's word better than almost anyone knew you besides our beloved priests.

Signature ImageSignature: John Seiler

An editorial writer at The Orange County Register for 29 years, John Seiler now writes freelance. His email: writejohnseiler(at)gmail(dot)com

* MCS Notes: Of course this pertains to to those who would profit by bible reading. Bible reading may not always be suitable for all persons (e.g. see here). Reminder: We do not endorse any publication, translation, author, publisher, etc.


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