For the past five or so years I have had an interest in a bible study program, but I admit to you, my friends, that I am afraid. I'm afraid to join a bible study group because I have a fear of misinformation. I have this notion (albeit wrong I'm sure) that lay people who hold bible study groups interpret the bibles themselves. Now you may think I'm a little neurotic and you'd probably be correct, but there it is anyway. I won't go. Can't do it. If I could find a bible study that is led by a trusted priest, I would go. But our priests are pretty busy these days and few are holding bible study programs.
And so, I created my own personal daily bible study method that I feel called to share with you, in case you have the same irrational fear, or just can't fit bible study into your life right now.
I start my daily bible study with the daily Mass readings. I use the Magnificat every day, which my mother-in-law lovingly subscribes to for me, but you can find the daily readings in other places. The USCCB has them, EWTN has them, and I mentioned yesterday that there is a free Magnificat app for your iPod/iPhone*. You can just Google "daily Mass readings" and you'll find sources, but stick with something you know to be authentic.
So, start with the Mass readings, and then add a study bible -- again, something you know to be authentic. I use this Ignatius press version of the RSV New Testament (that means I am only studying the New Testament right now) and I really love the way it's written. It's the only study bible I have every used, so I have no comparison, but it's very clear and very informative. If you know of a good electronic bible study source (Catholic, of course) please leave a comment and let me know what it is. I think the way moms have so much running around to do each day, having it all accessible at any time would be very helpful.
Now, grab your Magnificat, or sit down with your computer, iPhone, whatever device you are using to obtain your daily readings and note the first reading. Then, turn to your study bible and read the reading, along with the commentary. Do that for the first reading (and second if it's Sunday or a holy day) and then the Gospel. In about ten to 20 minutes you will have studied the daily readings.
Do that every day and in a year you will have studied quite a bit of the bible. In two years you will have covered all of the different daily readings, and in three years you will have covered all of the different Sunday readings -- in just 20 minutes a day. I realize that does not cover all of the bible, but you can always go back and read the in-betweens when you've finished.
And that, my friend, is my thought for the day. ;-)
* I double checked the iPhone app and found it is free for the month that you download and then $1.99 a month after that. It is free for subscribers. Or you can subscribe for a year, digitally, for $20. Either way it is much less than the printed subscription price of $45. Of course, the other daily reading links are free.