Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ

This week we celebrate National Bible Week and invite all Catholics to deepen their faith, encountering Christ in Scripture and allowing His Word to shape their hearts and minds.

By: John Knutsen, Guest Contributor

Why should Catholics study the Bible?  Saint Jerome provided the best reason centuries ago: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”  Here are 10 great resources to help you deepen your understanding of Sacred Scripture during this National Bible Week and beyond:


Ignatius Catholic Study Bible
A very readable commentary compiled and edited by Dr. Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch.  It includes the RSV Catholic translation of the Bible, a very useful introduction to and outline of each book, extensive study notes, topical essays and word studies as well as authoritative interpretations from the early Fathers of the Church and others. Commentaries include the best of Catholic scholarship from every historical period and incorporate the Catechism of the Catholic Church throughout. The entire New Testament is currently available in a single volume, with the Old Testament books being published individually as they are available.


Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture
For those looking for a more substantial but still accessible resource integrating Scripture with Catholic doctrine, worship, and daily life, this is a very good 17-volume series on the New Testament based on the NAB translation. Authored by a wide variety of notable Catholic scholars, each volume features extensive references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Lectionary, reflection and application sections, Biblical Background and Living Tradition sidebars, and much more.  A great option for clergy, pastoral leaders, or anyone seeking a deeper study of the New Testament. Eleven volumes are currently available, with 6 more to be published by 2018.


I’ve never seen anything as powerful as Verbum.  Study and compare multiple translations of Scripture, explore the texts in their original languages and add instant access to an immense library of resources including Church documents, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the writings of the early Church Fathers and Saint Thomas Aquinas, apologetic and doctrinal tools, commentaries, the Lectionary and Roman Missal, books by authors such as Benedict XVI, Peter Kreeft, and Scott Hahn, and much more.  Do word or topical studies across the entire digital library, create lesson plans, craft homilies and connect with others around the world through Verbum’s social features.  Six bundled libraries range from basic (205 resources) to high-level research (1,339 resources), or you can purchase only the titles you want. Some are available in Spanish as well. You truly won’t believe what you can do with Verbum and you can carry it all in your pocket!


Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible (New Testament)
You may have heard excerpts of this popular resource on Catholic radio.  Endorsed by the Vatican and with a Foreword by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, this is a fully dramatized audio version of the New Testament featuring the voice talents of Julia Ormond, Sean Astin, Kristen Bell, Malcolm McDowell, Blair Underwood, Michael York, John Rhys-Davies and many more.  Various packages are available with features such as the complete Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, keyword search, verse sync technology, plans to read the Bible in 365 days or the New Testament in 40 days and more.  Download the free app too.


St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology
Founded and led by Dr. Scott Hahn, the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology offers a wide range of free Bible courses and audio courses, in English and Spanish, as well as a parish-based Bible study program.  You can also sign up to receive Dr. Hahn’s weekly reflections on the Sunday Mass readings and access their extensive library of study tools.


Catholic Bible Dictionary
An indispensable reference work by Dr. Scott Hahn, this is a convenient, accessible one-volume dictionary with thousands of entries covering just about every biblical place, name and topic you can imagine.  Drawing on 2,000 years of biblical scholarship, this is the first major Catholic Bible dictionary to appear in over a generation.  Available for Kindle.


Catholic Bible Concordance
Any serious study of Scripture requires a good concordance. Many are available for different translations of Scripture, but there’s only one for the RSV Catholic Edition. With over 15,000 words and 300,000 entries, you’ll be able to find any word in the Bible and see where it appears throughout, comparing verses too. Available for Kindle.


Understanding the Scriptures Podcast
Catholic speaker and new media specialist Carson Weber taught an extended Bible study at a parish in Texas in between 2006 and 2007.  This free series of 30 audio sessions, covering the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation, resulted.  Enjoy it on your commute or while cleaning the house!


Catholic Scripture Study International
A great program for groups or individuals, with commentaries by leading Catholic scholars and weekly video presentations by a priest.  Available in short studies (4-16 sessions) or program studies (22-28 sessions).  Anyone can set up and lead these studies and regional support teams are available for assistance.


Daily Gospel
Sign up to receive a free daily email with the Gospel reading, saint and commentary of the day. Available in several languages and according to the liturgical calendars of several different Catholic rites, so this is a great resource for Eastern Catholics as well as those who prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite.

This is but a sampling of what’s available today, and it can be overwhelming!  Despite the many ways to use modern technology for the study of Scripture, nothing is more important than simply opening the Scriptures and reading.  The above resources can help a great deal, but there is no substitute for sitting quietly with the Scriptures in your lap and speaking with the Lord about what you find there, no internet connection required. Even 10 minutes a day is a great start. The Lord is eager to speak to you through His Word, so get started today!


John Knutsen is the diocesan Coordinator for Evangelization and Adult Faith Formation. He holds a BA in History from the University of the Pacific, an MLitt in Ancient History from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), and an MA in Theology from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California. John lives in Arlington with his wife Colleen and their daughter Gemma. They are parishioners at the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More.

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3 thoughts on “Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ

    • Thanks, Tom.

      Please feel free to repost content from Encourage and Teach using the following guidelines:

      Thank you so much for contacting the diocese. I spoke with John and he gave his permission. You are welcome to reprint his blog in full. Please be sure to do the following when publishing it:

      1. Please send me the final link so we can circulate it  Tag us @arlingtonchurch and at Catholic Diocese of Arlington on Facebook (links in my logos below).
      2. Please credit John Knutsen in the byline.
      3. Please write the following at the top of the piece (small print is fine):
      This article first appeared here (link to blog) , on Encourage and Teach, the official blog of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

      Thank you!
      Office of Communications

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