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Apostolic Movement

Tips for those who want to start reading the Bible

Fr. Marcelo Adriano Cervi

On January 21st, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, we will celebrate for the fifth time the “Sunday of the Word of God”, instituted by Pope Francis in 2019 with the Motu Proprio “Aperuit illis”.

The theme chosen by the Pope for this year 2024 is taken from the Gospel of John: “Abide in my Word” (Jn 8:31).

The main objective of this Sunday is to promote “the celebration, reflection and diffusion of the Word of God”. To this end, in n. 3 of the Motu Proprio, several indications are given, among them “to emphasize the importance of continuing in daily life the reading, deepening and praying with Sacred Scripture, with a particular reference to lectio divina“.

Tips for reading the Bible

Every Christian should have the Word of God as a point of reference in his life of faith and as nourishment for his spirituality. This Word is found in a privileged way in the Bible which, thank God, has become better known, read, and studied in recent years.

Among the many pieces of advice, I would like to give to those who are beginning to read the Bible systematically and in prayer, I would like to highlight two in particular:

a) Read the Bible in prayer

That is, not to take the sacred text as just any book, but to try to read the Bible as an encounter with the True and Living God. For this, the method of prayerful reading of the Word of God, also known as Lectio Divina, is very useful.

b) Avoid any fundamentalist reading

In other words: consider the text in its context, without taking the words literally. To do this, it is important to study Sacred Scripture by attending one of the many Bible reading courses or groups that exist, including online.

What is the best sequence for reading the books of the Bible?

Many people ask me what is the best order in which to read the Bible. I believe that the answer must be personalized, because the method chosen depends a lot on the reader’s interest, personal quests and goals in reading the Holy Scriptures.

In an online Bible reading group that I attend theologically and spiritually – Theophilus – we have chosen to offer the reading of the Bible in chronological order (that is, according to the time in which the books were written), which differs somewhat from the canonical sequence (order of the books as they appear in the Catholic editions of the Bible). It is one of the many methods that is very fruitful, enriching and spiritual, thanks also to the introductions, comments and hints given by the instructors.

Not only reading, but understanding

An important principle for Bible reading is to try to read and understand the Bible as the Church does, renouncing a very personal and perhaps abusive interpretation. I always say that we need much humility before Sacred Scripture. Humility before God (because the Word is His and not ours) and humility before the Church (because many saints and scholars have read Scripture before us and can help us better understand what we read).

According to this principle, it is always a good practice to pray to the Holy Spirit to enlighten our reading and grant us discernment, and it is always important to ask Our Lady (who kept the Word in her heart) for the grace to understand the message.

It is also good to ask the Fathers and Doctors of the Church what they understood from the text read, consulting reference works such as patristic and theological commentaries.

Some say that the important thing is to read. I believe that it is as important to read as to understand. Therefore, I thank God for the thirst for the Word that He has placed in His People and I thank the Catholic Church for the possibility of accessing the Sacred Scriptures with useful tools for a correct understanding.

Source: Schoenstatt Brazil –


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