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Kempis on: Reading the Holy Scripture

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.


A quote I use, it seems, daily. St. Jerome is quoted as saying, "Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ." In addition, St. John Bosco adds, “Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book."

Holy Scripture is THE book. And, in my opinion, "Imitation of Christ" is number two. (Of course.)

I become a little perplexed when someone tells me they don't read the Bible. I'm friends with a man who is a very good Catholic Christian, with tons of charity, but doesn't read Holy Scripture. I was once like that, but found I really didn't know Christ at all. When I began studying the Bible, I challenged my level of intellect... questioning whether I could comprehend something so intense. So, I purchased a concordance and then commentaries to help me better understand what each book's author was trying to convey. I can say with conviction, there is no reason for anyone to not read Holy Scripture. (As the old saying goes, "If I can do it, I expect everyone to do it.")


Truth, not eloquence, is to be sought in reading the Holy Scriptures; and every part must be read in the spirit in which it was written... to seek profit rather than polished diction. We ought to read simple and devout books as willingly as learned and profound ones and ought not to be swayed by the authority of the writer, whether he be a great literary light or an insignificant person, but by the love of simple truth.

Why should we read and meditate on the Bible? As St. Jerome said in his quote above, we must get to know Christ and Holy Scripture is the best way. If we don't know Christ:

  • We won't know faith, love, and hope... the three theological virtues.

  • We won't know the commandments... the 10 in the Old Testament and the 2 greatest in the New Testament.

  • We won't learn the Beatitudes

  • We won't learn how closely related we are to our Jewish brothers and sisters.

  • We won't know the saints.

  • We won't know our Blessed Mother.

  • We won't be able to understand the hundreds of Catholic books.

  • We won't know how to follow in Jesus' footsteps because we won't be able to recognize them.

  • And if we don't know/learn this short list, we won't know how to get to heaven. Do to our infallibility, we can't possibly figure out how to stay on the narrow path by ourselves. (Matthew 11:30 - "For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.

I've had people claim they can get the scripture through Sunday homilies. Really? That is difficult based on two things: 1. During Ordinary Time your parish priest is allowed to preach on almost anything, not directly on the Sunday readings. 2. Inerrancy!

  1. If Ordinary Time, your parish priest may elect to speak about the parish's finances, building considerations and things in general not related to the readings for a particular Sunday. Meaning, you miss out.

  2. This is not an indictment of priests, so watch how you misquote me. I've heard many homilies where I've asked, "Huh?" In a parish we were with for over 30 years, I heard a homily, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception no less, where the subject matter was regarding a Hollywood actress overcoming addiction. In the same parish, we had a deacon that I don't know if he ever read scripture. I'm a fair guy, but he was pretty bad. My point is, man is fallible, he will make mistakes.

Inerrancy: The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks to this:

The inspired books teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures” (CCC 107, quoting the Vatican II document Dei Verbum 11).

(If you would like to read more, please follow this link to Catholic Answers, Jim Blackburn, 1/1/2014, "Is Scripture Inerrant?".)


Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord remains forever. God speaks to us in many ways without regard for persons. If you would profit from it, therefore, read with humility, simplicity, and faith, and never seek a reputation for being learned. Seek willingly and listen attentively to the words of the saints. (my emphasis)

I do not wish to be a scriptural crackerjack. The old adage, "keep it simple, stupid" has worked for me for a long time. To compensate for my wee, little brain, I read complimentary books that explain scripture.

Case in point: After reading a trilogy of books by Dr. Marshall Taylor, ("The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity", "The Catholic Perspective on Paul: Paul and the Origins of Catholic Christianity" and "The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholic Christianity") , my eyes were opened wide to how much Christianity paralleled the Old Testament. In fact St. Augustus is quoted: "The New Testament is hidden in the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament."

But, don't take my word for it. Consider these authors.

Romans 10:17

Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

Joshua 1:8

Do not let this book of the law depart from your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may carefully observe all that is written in it; then you will attain your goal; then you will succeed.

Hebrews 4:12

Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.

Psalm 119:11

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Nehemiah 8:3

In the square in front of the Water Gate, Ezra read out of the book from daybreak till midday, in the presence of the men, the women, and those children old enough to understand; and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law.

Not widely accepted is the fact that the Bible is Catholic. The Old Testament was written before the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. It was Catholic when it was determined in the late 300's, the process culminated in 382 as the Council of Rome, which was convened under the leadership of Pope Damasus, promulgated the 73-book scriptural canon. The biblical canon was reaffirmed by the regional councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397), and then definitively reaffirmed by the ecumenical Council of Florence in 1442. Finally, the ecumenical Council of Trent solemnly defined this same canon in 1546, after it came under attack by the first Protestant leaders, including Martin Luther. (Taken directly from Catholic Answers)

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

God Bless you

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