A Case for Bible Fundamentals (vs. Fundamentalism)

[UPDATE 5/26/15: In June 2014, Liguori Publications purchased Catholic Update and other parish resources from Franciscan Media. As such, the text for any post I’ve published utilizing Catholic Update or Scripture From Scratch is no longer available to view for free online, however, I will do my best to provide links to purchase hard copies, which are available at the Liguori Publications website.]

If you’ve been following this blog from the very beginning, you may have noticed that a theme I return to quite often is the need for everyday Catholics to understand how to read Scripture.

This is why I’ve chosen And God Said What? An Introduction to Biblical Literary Forms by Margaret Nutting Ralph for the February giveaway. On Monday at 2:00pm EST, you’ll get chance to win your very own copy of this invaluable resource. (Click here to learn how the monthly giveaway works.) BONUS: There’s even an entire series of PowerPoint slides courtesy of Fr. Steve Shott, OSFS if you want to offer this as a course for you Adult Faith Formation ministry!

Too often, the most vocal and engaging advocates of reading the Bible speak from a perspective that is inconsistent with the Catholic understanding of how to read Scripture (i.e., a fundamentalist perspective). Many Catholics who are enthusiastic about reading the Bible often turn to these voices for inspiration — and while I am an advocate for learning from fellow Christians, it is just as important for us, as Catholics, to understand our roots, and how we as a community have approached the reading and study of Scripture.

This is not to say that the purpose of this knowledge is to “arm yourself” so that you can argue about Scripture with a fundamentalist. Far from it. (Scripture scholar, Raymond E. Brown wrote an excellent article about the fallacy of arguing over individual biblical texts with a fundamentalist. And in all seriousness, when do arguments about Scripture ever turn out well?)

Rather, the point is for Catholics to learn how to read Scripture so that they might clearly understand Christ’s challenge to us as his disciples. (It goes without saying that this is all stems out of a personal relationship with Christ — a topic which I hope to explore in a future post.)

Want to read a sample of Margaret Nutting Ralph’s writing? Click here.

Thinking of having a small group study on how to read Scripture? Click here or here.

Image courtesy of Janaka Dharmasena / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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4 Replies to “A Case for Bible Fundamentals (vs. Fundamentalism)”

  1. “…the need for everyday Catholics to understand how to read Scripture.” Yes. I’ve been teaching 6th-graders their Catholicism straight from the Bible for about 5 years now. The kids have a good time, and they learn Faith and Scripture as a unified whole..

  2. “…the need for everyday Catholics to understand how to read Scripture.” Yes. I’ve been teaching 6th-graders their Catholicism straight from the Bible for the last 5 years. The kids learn Faith and Scripture at the same time.

    1. That’s awesome! Forming our young people is definitely one of the key ways to build the foundation for a love of Scripture. Unfortunately, I think many Catholics’ understanding of Scripture remain at an 8th-grade level (i.e., when most are confirmed), and they don’t realize that faith formation (Scripture being a central piece) is ongoing. There’s so much growth/development that takes place even up through our 20’s/30’s that it’s a shame that people don’t keep updating their faith and knowledge of Scripture.

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