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The Holy Bible
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1. What is the Holy Bible?
The Holy Bible is the collection of sacred writings, that contain the revelation that God has given to men.
2. Who wrote the Holy Bible?
The Bible was written by various prophets, wise men, and saints, in the course of the centuries.
3. How many parts are there in the Bible?
In the Bible there are two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament.
4. What is the Old Testament about?
The Old Testament is about the history of the people of Israel, and of how God chose that nation to prepare it for the coming of the Savior.
5. What is the New Testament about?
The New Testament is about how the people of Israel received the Savior, his life, and what happened in the years after his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to heaven.
6. For the Christian, what is the most important part of the Bible?
For the Christian, the most important part of the Bible is the New Testament, because it contains the life, miracles and teachings of the Savior.
7. What are the books of the New Testament?
The books of the New Testament are: the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the epistles (letters) of St. Paul and other saints, and the Apocalypse (Revelation).
8. What are the holy Gospels?
The holy Gospels (gospel is a Greek word that means good news) are four books, written by St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John, that contain the life of the Savior. Each one is different, because there are some events that are in one of the four that are not in the others: for example, the birth of the Savior is in St. Luke, and the visit of the Magi is in St. Matthew.
9. What are the Acts of the Apostles?
The Acts, a book written by St. Luke, is the history of the beginning of the Catholic Church, and of the deeds of the Apostles in the years after the ascension of the Savior.
10. What are the Epistles?
The epistles (a Greek word meaning letters) are letters that St. Paul and other saints wrote to various persons and churches; for example, Romans (the letter St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome), Ephesians (letter that St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus).
11. What is the Apocalypse? (book of Revelation)
The Apocalypse (a Greek word meaning revelation) is a book of prophecies, that is, predictions, of what will happen before the end of the world, and of the glorious coming of the Savior to judge the living and the dead. It was written by St. John the Evangelist about the year 95.
12. When was the New Testament written?
The Savior was born in the year 1 and was crucified in the year 34, in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. The books of the New Testament were written some years afterwards, between the year 42 (Matthew) and the year 95 (Revelation). All the happenings of the New Testament occurred in the first century (years 1-99).
13. What is a version of the Bible?
A version of the Bible is the translation of the Bible from the original languages into English or any other language, for example, the American Standard Version (1901).
14. Is the reading of the Bible important?
The reading of the Bible, especially the New Testament, is important, because it is one means of attaining the knowledge of Jesus Christ: "Now this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17, 3)
15. For greater facility, how are the books of the Bible arranged?
For greater facility, each book of the Bible is divided into chapters, and each chapter into verses. For example, the gospel of St. Matthew has 28 chapters. Also abbreviations are used: Mt -- Matthew.
Mc -- Mark
Lc -- Luke
Jn -- John
The abbreviations are used like this: The history of the Magi kings is in Mt. 2, 1-12. Which means: The history of the Magi kings is in the gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 2, verses 1 to 12.
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My Daily Prayer
I believe in one God. I believe that God rewards the good, and punishes the wicked.
I believe that in God there are three Divine Persons-God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
I believe that God the Son became Man, without ceasing to be God. I believe that He is my Lord and my Saviour Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the human race, who died on the cross for the salvation of all men, who died also for me.
I believe, on God's authority, everything that He has taught and revealed.
O my God, give me strong faith. O my God, help me to believe with lively faith.
O my God, relying on your almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I sincerely hope to be saved. Help me to do all that is necessary for my salvation.
I have committed many sins in my life, but now I turn away from them, and hate them. I am sorry, truly sorry for all for them, because I have offended You, my God, who art all-good, all-perfect, all-holy, all-merciful-my kind and loving Father.
I love You, o my God, with all my heart. Forgive me, I implore You, for having offended You.
I promise, O God, that with Your help I will never offend You again.
My God, have mercy on me.
Dear Child of God: "My Daily Prayer" comes to you because you are a child of God. He is your Father, loving, kind and merciful. He is the most understanding of all fathers, and who pardons us most. He is sincerely interested in you. He loves you, and wants you to know, love and serve him in this world, so you may be completely happy in the next, for all eternity. The salvation of your soul is what you long for, and in reality it is the only thing worth while. "My Daily Prayer" will help you in a marvelous way to obtain this wonderful end. Pray it with sincerity and fervor. May every word come from your heart. Say it every day. May God bless your efforts!
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Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ
by Saint Jerome
(from "Commentary on Isaiah")
I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: Search the Scriptures, and Seek and you shall find. Christ will not say to me what he said to the Jews: You erred, not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God. For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.
Therefore, I will imitate the head of a household who brings out of his storehouse things both new and old, and says to his spouse in the Song of Songs: I have kept for you things new and old, my beloved. In this way permit me to explain Isaiah, showing that he was not only a prophet, but an evangelist and an apostle as well. For he says about himself and the other evangelists: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news, of those who announce peace. And God speaks to him as if he were an apostle: Whom shall I send, who will go to my people? And he answers: Here I am; send me.
No one should think that I mean to explain the entire subject matter of this great book of Scripture in one brief sermon, since it contains all the mysteries of the Lord. It prophesies that Emmanuel is to be born of a virgin and accomplish marvelous works and signs. It predicts his death, burial and resurrection from the dead as the Savior of all men. whatever is proper to holy Scripture, whatever can be expressed in human language and understood by the human mind, is contained in the book of Isaiah. Of these mysteries the author himself testifies when he writes: You will be given a vision of all things, like words in a sealed scroll. When they give the writings to a wise man, they will say: Read this. And he will reply: I cannot, for it is sealed. And when the scroll is given to an uneducated man and he is told: Read this, he will reply: I do not know how to read.
Should this argument appear weak to anyone, let him listen to the Apostle: Let two or three prophets speak, and let others interpret; if, however, a revelation should come to one of those who are seated there, let the first one be quiet. How can they be silent, since it depends on the Spirit who speaks through his prophets whether they remain silent or speak? If they understood what they were saying, all things would be full of wisdom and knowledge. But it was not the air vibrating with the human voice that reached their ears, but rather it was God speaking within the soul of the prophets, just as another prophet says: It is an angel who spoke in me; and again, Crying out in our hearts, Abba, Father’, and I shall listen to what the Lord God says within me.
Where Did the Bible Come From?
The canon (list of books) of the New Testament was not decided upon until the late 4th century, at the Council of Rome, in the year 382. This collection of writings from the first century Christians was determined by this Council to be divinely inspired by God, the real author. Many other writings were considered, but were thrown out by the Catholic Church as not being the authentic Word of God. The interesting fact here is that this means for almost 400 years the Christians of those days had no Bible to refer to. Therefore, the Church that Jesus Himself had set up had to primarily transmit His Word orally (some rare individual manuscripts did exist, but were mainly limited to Churches, and not considered divinely inspired as sacred scripture until 382 AD). In 2nd Thessalonians 2:15, St. Paul tells us "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter". This means that not every teaching in the Church was written down in the Bible, otherwise, St. Paul would not have said "by word of mouth". One of these traditions is infant baptism. Some people today reject infant baptism, because they don't believe that a child has the faith to accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior, and therefore can't be saved through Baptism. This, of course, is not true, because Jesus Himself said, "Unless you have the faith of a little child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Mark 10:15), as well as the fact that God chooses us (at any age He wants to), we don't "choose" God (John 15:16). So we see that the Tradition of the Catholic Church, which was there at the beginning with Jesus when the Church was formed, is therefore correct on the subject of infant baptism. Other original traditions of the church, such as praying for the dead in Purgatory and asking saints in heaven to pray for us, are also rejected by other churches. However, these same churches also have a tradition of believing that the books in the bible are divinely inspired, but don't really know how that tradition came to be, because that fact is not written down in the Bible either.
Sola Scriptura (the Bible alone) is a false doctrine. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Bible is the sole authority on religious matters. As a matter of fact, the Bible does say that the Church of the Living God is the pillar and bulwark of Truth (1 Timothy 3:15), which means that the Church is the primary transmitter of truth, rather than the Bible. When the subject of whether or not one had to be circumcised first before becoming a Christian came up (Acts 15:1), no one "searched the scriptures", but rather, they had a Church Council in Jerusalem where St. James declared the solution to be straight from the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28). When St. Peter declared that all foods were now OK to eat, he didn't "search the scriptures" from the Old Testament to find this out (he certainly would be looking a long time for that). Rather, God revealed this to him in a DREAM (Acts 11:9)
An important concept to remember is that the Bible proceeds from the teaching authority of the church (Matthew 28:19), as opposed to the Protestant model of the church conforming to the Bible. Just as a University uses books to teach, so the Church uses the Bible to teach. Just as a professor in college interprets for you what your textbook really means, so the Church, through its teaching authority from Jesus himself ("Go forth and teach all nations", Matthew 28:19), has the mission to teach as well as to interpret Scripture, through its gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself told the early Church that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide it in truth (John 14:26 and John 16:13-14). Remember, Jesus didn't write down a Bible for us to read, and he didn't tell everyone to go out and get their own copy, and try to figure everything out on their own. Instead, He established a Church (Matthew 16:18) to teach us what we need to know about God, to love Him and serve Him, and to be happy with Him in Heaven. Taken from The Holy Bible. Where Did the Bible Come From?
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• Where Did the Bible Come From? 5 min. video.
by Jeff Cavins
When reading the Bible do you see only trees and no forest? Jeff Cavins explains how to step back and see Scripture's single basic theme.
The Holy Bible - for some, the very words evoke feelings of warmth and wisdom, but for many Catholics today, the Bible's chronology can be confusing and its meaning hard to grasp. How tragic this is in light of the fact that, as Pope Leo XIII said, the "Scripture is a letter written by our Heavenly Father to his children for the purpose of revealing Himself to them."
Many who open the Holy Bible for their first serious attempt to read and study it expect to start at the beginning of Genesis and read on through to Revelation with the same ease and excitement as if they were reading Gone With The Wind or a Tom Clancy novel. But it doesn't take long to figure out that the Bible doesn't read like a popular novel. In fact, it isn't even arranged as a sequential narrative. Rather, the books are generally grouped by literature types. Consequently, many become discouraged, losing their excitement about studying the Bible, and put this untapped treasure back on the coffee table with a sigh of, "What's the use?"
God Reveals Himself To Man Gradually
To avoid this frustration, let's first stand back and look at the "big picture." What is the overarching message of the Bible? It's the story of salvation history. Although it's made up of many stories, the Bible is really a single story: It's about God and His relationship with mankind, the most complex of His creation and the true object of His love and affection. This epic story of God's love for mankind has all the elements of intrigue, passion, violence, romance, and redemption you'd expect to find in the most exciting secular novel: God loves mankind, mankind spurns that love, God pursues, mankind is fickle and vacillating and ultimately treacherous in its betrayal of His love, the Hero of the story dies a dramatic death, and then comes the surprise happy ending.
The whole plot of the Bible's message is laid out in the first chapters of Genesis, and it builds to its dizzying conclusion in the Book of Revelation. Here's the basic plot: God gradually reveals His plan to reestablish the broken relationship between Himself and His treasured creation. It is only in God's revealed plan that mankind can once again find its intended purpose for being "because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to Himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for" (CCC 27).
It is important for the modern Catholic to understand that, although the Bible is a mystery on one level, it is also a book of history. There should be no misunderstanding - it is true history as opposed to cleverly devised tales. Pope Paul VI said in Directorium Catechisticum Generale, "The history of salvation is being accomplished in the midst of the history of the world." The Bible gives a wide range of examples of how through word and deed God has entered the life of His people.
God's central strategy to redeem humanity was to start with one family first, then progressively influence more and more people to the point where all of mankind would have the opportunity to be a part of His family.
Dr. Scott Hahn often refers to this covenantal evolution in his lectures on salvation history. He explains how the Catholic Church is the culmination of salvation history and the fulfillment of the Old Testament covenants with Israel. He develops this theme by pointing out that God established His first covenant, the marriage covenant, between Adam and Eve, one couple. The story progresses to Noah and his three sons totaling four marriages, making one holy family with Noah as the mediator of the household. In Genesis 9, God makes a covenant with Noah, but it extends beyond Noah, for God said that this covenant is "with you and with your descendants after you" (Gen. 9:9).
Next we find the number of people included in the covenant expanding to one holy tribe with Abraham acting as the tribal chieftain. God makes a three-part covenant with Abraham, promising him a land, a royal dynasty and worldwide blessing through his descendants. "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. . . . all the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you" (Gen. 12:2-3).
Abraham's grandson Jacob, whose name was later changed to "Israel," had 12 sons. These 12 tribes of Israel spent 400 years in Egyptian bondage where the covenantal expansion plan silently progressed. It was in Egypt that God raised up Moses of the tribe of Levi to lead Israel out of bondage to become one holy nation. Genesis 24 describes the dramatic scene as the nation of Israel is gathered around Mt. Sinai after leaving Egypt through a miraculous deliverance. There at Mt. Sinai Moses spoke to the Israelites the words of the covenant he had received directly from God, and they agreed to enter into a national covenant with Yahweh.
God's covenantal plan takes a major leap several hundred years later as God begins to draw other nations together under the leadership of King David. Through His covenant with David (2 Sam. 7:5-16), this new conglomerate blossoms into one holy kingdom where Israel mediates the divine revelation of God to other nations.
Finally, all of the Old Testament covenants find full expression in the New Covenant which was made between Jesus Christ and His Church. This New Covenant is the grandest of them all for it is a worldwide covenant where God rules and reigns as the head of His one holy Church.
The Bible as a Catholic History Book
One might ask how it is the ancient Hebrew Scriptures can be relevant to the life of the New Testament Christian Church (and Christians through the ages down to our own day). Though the divine history recorded in the Old Testament focuses primarily on the nation of Israel, the history and truth that the Hebrews passed on to their children would one day become the history of a people they knew not. Their history with all its triumphs and disgraces would one day become our history as 20th century Roman Catholics. So with the dawn of the New Covenant, Jesus integrated the nations into His universal kingdom, opening wide the gates to Yahweh's covenantal family. Those who enter through that gate, Jesus, take on a new identity, including a new personal history. Suddenly, all that went before us in that small land of Canaan becomes intimate and important for us today.
Understanding The Big Picture
The difficulty facing Bible readers is how to make this personal yet ancient story of salvation history come alive. They must discover the critical plot and, through the guidance of the Church, understand its meaning in order to make it their own story.
The first step to understanding the Bible chronologically is to identify which of the 73 books are of historical nature. The term "historical" refers simply to those books that keep the story moving from one event to another. The historical books provide us with continuity, or give us an ordered account of connected events from Genesis to Revelation.
There are 12 historical books in the Old Testament and, for the sake of simplicity, two historical books in the New Testament. By contiguously reading through these 14 books, you'll cover the entire Bible historically with a sense of continuity. The books placed above and below the 14 historical books indicate where the remaining 59 books fit chronologically. These books read within the context of the historical books. For example, the book of Psalms should be read in the context of 2 Samuel, and the prophet Malachi should be read in the context of Nehemiah.
By reading about four chapters a day (about 15-20 minutes worth or reading), you can go through all the historical books in about three months. The chart outlines the order in which to read the 14 historical books. After the reader has finished, he or she should go back through them again but this time incorporate a few of the non-historical books.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the perfect companion to read along with the Bible because sacred Scripture along with the sacred Tradition make up the full deposit of faith. When questions of faith or morality come up, the index of the Catechism is valuable for finding official Church doctrine.
Once we see the "big picture" of salvation history in Scripture, we can build upon this framework for the rest of our lives. This will result in a profound appreciation for Scripture and a deeper understanding of the Lord's master plan for us that it contains.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Great Adventure -- 24 Talks of Salvation History on audio CD/audio Tape or VHS
Now you can have Jeff Cavins as your personal Bible teacher in this audio CD series. This series offers a compelling overview of God’s plan of salvation. Beginning with the first talk, you will discover how the Bible Time Line system developed by Jeff Cavins answers many of the questions we all have about the people, places and events of the Bible. Once you understand the “big picture” of God’s plan of salvation—and where the various biblical characters fit in this overall story—you develop a new appreciation for the Scriptures. This course of 12 CDs may be ordered from the Crossroads Initiative.
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