Elizabeth Klein is an Assistant Professor of Theology at the Augustine Institute, which serves the formation of Catholics for the New Evangelization through academic and parish programs. As part of its work, the institute helps Catholics to read the Bible in a year. Below, Klein shares tips on how to incorporate more Bible-reading into your daily life.
Why should Catholics read the Bible?
St. Jerome says, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ;” therefore, we as Catholics believe it is Christ’s voice that speaks in the Old Testament and New. God speaks to us in a privileged way in his Word, which is why we celebrate the liturgy of the Word and of the Eucharist together every Sunday. There is no better way to fall in love with God again than to listen to him speak in the inspired Scriptures.
What tips can you offer readers to help them read the Bible in a year?
One of the most helpful things you can do, if possible, is to find a friend or family member willing to read along with you. We, as Catholics, love to read the Bible in a community — both our current church community and the communion of the saints!
Because of that communion, we don’t have to go it alone, even if we are reading the Bible on our own. We have a rich tradition and other faithful Catholics to help us along the way. The Augustine Institute’s Bible in a Year divides up the reading and includes short reflections. Fr. Mike Schmitz also has a podcast on reading the Bible in one year. Another helpful approach is to grab a Catholic commentary when you run into a difficult passage, in order to gain some insights.
Lastly, don’t get overwhelmed. Even if you don’t understand every word and struggle through parts, know that that is completely normal. The Bible is both an ancient text and the Word of God, so it has many layers of meaning that can take a lifetime to work through. Let the mystery of God’s Word invite you into contemplation of him year after year, knowing that there are good answers to your questions in the heritage of the Church — even if it takes a long time to search out all those answers for yourself.
The Bible is likely the longest text we’ll ever read. Any advice for when motivation is waning?
Well, first, ask God for the grace of perseverance! Then, maybe reflect on or share with others some of the insights you’ve gained from your reading, and that might give you a little inspiration to keep going. Finally, if you miss a few days of reading, don’t sweat it. Just get back into the habit; if you don’t finish until one year and nine days, who’s counting?