FEATURED RESOURCE: NAB Catholic Serendipity Bible for Personal & Small Group Study

Today’s featured resource, the NAB Catholic Serendipity Bible for Personal & Small Group Study, was highly recommended to me by someone who used it often in her capacity as RCIA Coordinator. This is also a great tool for those who facilitate a small group, especially in those times when you’re looking for some good discussion/reflection questions for the upcoming Sunday readings, or simply want to structure a study around a particular theme like “Real Beauty: Living in a World of Glitz” (see p. 18) or “Key Events in the Old Testament” (see p. 21). While the NAB Catholic Serendipity Bible has been out of print for some time (the revised edition was last published in April 1999), there are still used copies available from Amazon here:

I snatched up a used hardcover copy of my own in January 2013 for less than $15, and thought it was a great deal considering the mileage I could get out of it. Also, the fact that there is a limited supply left out there might be another incentive for you to go out and buy a copy for yourself.

Here’s an example of what kinds of discussion questions are provided in the margins. These questions are considered the Advanced Option (there are 2 options of study for every course: Beginner and Advanced):

The Parable of the Lost Son (Lk 15:11-32)

SOURCE: Becker, Verne, Gospel of Luke margin questions in NAB Catholic Serendipity Bible for Personal and Small Group Study, ed. Lyman Coleman (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Corporation, 1999), 1611-1612.

START / 15 min.

  1. Did you ever run away from home? Where did you go? What happened?
  2. Who was (or is) the “obedient type” in your family? The “wild one”? Which were (or are) you? How did (or do) these types get along?

STUDY / 30 min.

  1. What stages does the younger son go through on his pilgrimage (vv 13-16)? What brings him to his senses? What does he realize then? With what sort of attitude does he approach his father?
  2. How does the father receive his son? Why?
  3. How does the older brother feel about his younger brother’s return? Why? How does the father answer the older brother’s objection (v 29)?
  4. What’s Jesus’ point with his parable? What does this story teach about sin, repentance, and God’s love?
  5. In summary, how do these parables answer the Pharisee’s objection in verse 2?
  6. What does Jesus want to teach the Pharisees in verses 25-31? In light of the context (v. 2), why does Jesus leave the story open-ended as to how the older brother responded to his father’s plea?

SHARE / 15-45 min.

  1. Comparing yourselves to the two brothers in this story, who are you most like? Why? Are you quietly “at home”? Living only for today? Paying the consequences for yesterday? On the way home? Whom would you have identified with 10 years ago, or in your youth?
  2. How have you experienced God as similar to this father?
  3. When have you been like the older brother, quietly resentful of God’s lavishness to less deserving people? Why?
  4. Consider verse 31. What does God have to give you that you have not taken?

Details from the publisher, Zondervan Publishing Company:

Hot coffee, donuts, and hearts that are hungry for more than just snacks —  all the makings of a great Bible study group. Get the most out of your times together with the NAB Catholic Serendipity Bible.

 Everything you need is here in one practical, flexible, and easy-to-use package:

  • New American Bible (NAB) text with deuterocanonical books.
  • Thousands of penetrating study questions.
  • 60 course plans for 10 different kinds of groups.

The NAB Catholic Serendipity Bible includes all the outstanding features of its counterpart, The NIV Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, and expands them to include the deuterocanonical books. You’ll find:

  • 200 general group studies and 60 course plans address the needs of ten different groups: men, women, singles, youth, recovery, and more — and cover topics ranging from discipleship to intimacy to spiritual formation to employment to growing older, to abuse, grief, and loss, and much more.
  • Open-dig-reflect questions help group members discover each others’ hearts as they get to the heart of God’s Word — and together learn how to apply it to their lives. [Note from LitW: Questions in the margins use the following format. This makes much more sense once you take a look at the Amazon preview.]
    • [COFEE CUP ICON] to start / 15 min.: starts the meeting with an easy, icebreaking question.
    • [BOOK ICON] to study / 30 min.: helps participants dig into the Scripture with questions designed to get them thinking and forming their own opinions.
    • [HEART ICON] to share / 15-45 min.: questions help group members apply the Scriptures to their own lives.
  • Two-color course study pages make this study format effective, thorough, and easy to use.

Bearing the official Roman Catholic imprimatur, The NAB Catholic Serendipity Bible is the ideal choice for groups that want to search out the riches of God’s Word, for individuals who want a superb personal study Bible, and for leaders who may not have the experience, but have the heart for conducting group Bible studies that make a difference.

In fact, with the “ready-made” NAB Catholic Serendipity Bible, the only thing you’ll have to prepare…is the coffee.

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