5. How, what, when, why do you find yourself reading the Bible? (4 questions there)
5. How: How do I read the Bible? Hmm. I’m not sure what kind of a question that is. Thoughtfully, I guess. Depending on what I want from it, I’ll read larger or smaller sections. Some people read the Bible cover to cover over the course of a few days or weeks. I tried it one time and it wasn’t for me.
What: What do I find myself reading in the Bible? All sorts of things. It depends on what I’m looking for. I like reading Proverbs in huge chunks, because not only is it very insightful, but some of them are fairly amusing. My favorite book is probably the letter of St. Jude, so every so often (at least once a year) I re-read it. My favorite psalm is 22.
When: At this point, I’ll use the Bible as a reference guide. I’m familiar enough with the major stories, parallels, and insights that I don’t feel the need to pick it up, flip it open, and go. Sometimes I’ll do that anyway though.
Why: I read the Bible for information, consolation, guidance, teaching, corroboration, and encouragement. Honestly, reading the Bible is not a major part of my spiritual life. I should probably incorporate it more, but I don’t feel the need to since everything else I do steeps me in Scripture either directly or indirectly anyway.
A note about the Blue Bible Books: This is my name for the four blue binders fill of the Children’s Crusade booklets. They were made in the 1950s by two Maryknoll Sisters who visited the Holy Land before the order went off the deep end. The booklets start with some explanations of God, and then proceed to the bulk of the work, which is the Bible rewritten for Catholic children. It includes discussion of how different Bible passages are connected, how the Bible and Catholic beliefs intertwine, and also some question-and-answer sections with the priest who guided the project, Father Ginder. After the Bible stories, the booklets alternate recounting the lives of many major saints with sections of a sort of Catholic encyclopedic dictionary. I read the Blue Bible Books cover-to-cover hundreds of times. They are very old and threatening to fall apart, but they are still the most valuable Catholic biblical resource I have ever come across, because even though they were written for children, they were written at a time when people knew that children could understand very sophisticated concepts as long as they were adequately explained. Therefore, there is no watering down, whitewashing, or omission of “difficult” subjects.
Someday I will find the complete collection in better condition, buy it, and scan all the pages so that when the original eventually wears out, as all material things do given enough time, it will still be preserved for ages to come.