A new year always presents an opportunity for renewal. It’s hard to resist the pull of hopeful expectation, the promise of new ideas and personal progress. It’s a wonderful feeling … until the weight of all of the ways we should “improve” hits. Refocusing can quickly turn into pressure to exercise more, eat healthier, get organized, save money, take a tech detox, master a new skill … as the list goes on the optimism fades into anxiety. The focus is often on external change rather than on transformation of the soul. Instead why don’t we add positives to those New Year resolution lists with goals like finding time for rest, being kind to ourselves and others, renewing our faith, and spending time with the Word?
Scripture study is a great way to reconnect and recharge for the year ahead. The Bishop Farrell Library & Archives offers many useful resources towards this end, whether it be personal examination or group study through books, DVDs, or eBooks. We have so many options! Below are a few favourite resources to stimulate a renewal of the soul.
Threshold Bible Study, Stephen J. Binz: The Threshold Bible series provides a thematic approach to Scripture study delving into topics such as the Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts; the Resurrection and the Life; Jerusalem the Holy City; Eucharist; Mysteries of the Rosary; and Stewardship of the Earth. Each study is presented in a workbook format, designed for reading, reflecting, writing, discussing, and praying. The thirty lessons in each study may be used by an individual for daily study over the period of a month, or they may be divided into six lessons per week, providing a group study of weekly sessions.
New Collegeville Bible Commentary, Daniel Durken, OSB: Two volume set presenting insightful commentaries on the Old Testament and the New Testament by respected scholars. A reliable resource for Bible study and reflection, the New Collegeville Bible Commentary answers the Second Vatican Council’s call to make access to Scripture “open wide to the Christian faithful.”
Mercy: A Bible Study for Catholics, Mitch Pacwa, S.J.: A six session Bible study for personal or small group study. Fr. Mitch Pacwa provides a deeper understanding of mercy through the study of Israel’s history, which in turn leads to a rediscovery of God’s mercy in our own lives and highlights the importance of offering mercy to others.
Meeting St. Luke Today, Daniel Harrington: Written by preeminent biblical scholar Daniel J. Harrington, this resource provides an analysis of the Gospel of Luke, background information on the Evangelist, as well as, suggestions for how to pray Luke’s Gospel and live out its message in our daily lives.
A Quick Journey Through the Bible: The Great Adventure Bible Timeline Series, Jeff Cavins: An eight-part introduction to the Bible Timeline learning system. This study is designed to give a brief overview of salvation history, from Genesis through the resurrection of Christ and the establishment of the Catholic Church. Students will learn about the spiritual benefits of Bible study and how to enter deeper into their study of Scripture.
Matthew, The King and His Kingdom: The Great Adventure Bible Timeline Series, Jeff Cavins: This follow-up study in The Great Adventure Bible Timeline series, focuses on Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises of the Old Testament. It also touches on Jesus’ establishment of the Church as the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Set in the rich context of Jesus’ Jewish culture, this study will help you understand the universal truths of the Kingdom of God and understand more fully God’s will for us today.
A Life Worth Living: An Official Follow-Up to the Alpha Course, Nicky Gumbel: A nine-week course based on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Each talk explains how it is possible to live the Christian life positively, practically, and joyfully. It is aimed specifically at those who are starting out in the Christian life and is ideal for use in small groups.
Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World: Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life, Joanna Weaver: Best-selling author Joanna Weaver explores how to blend intimacy with Jesus and service for Him in the midst of our busy lives. Come discover the best of your Mary and Martha desires as you strengthen your relationship with the God who invites you closer. Features ten in-depth Bible Study sessions and information on how to develop a quiet time for personal devotion. Suitable for individuals or groups.
Pleading, Cursing, Praising: Conversing with God through the Psalms, Irene Nowell: Scripture scholar and gifted spiritual guide, Irene Nowell offers a handbook to praying with the psalms. Nowell maintains that the psalms teach us to tell our story, to cry out our pain, and to give praise to God. They also teach us to listen—to the voice of God, the voice of Christ, the voices of the people around us, and the voice of all creation. This book includes questions and exercises for personal reflection, brief prayers for praying along the way, and suggestions for composing one’s own psalm-prayers. It promises to enrich the spiritual life of everyone who reads it.
Ancient-Future Bible Study: Experience Scripture through Lectio Divina, Stephen J. Binz: The Ancient-Future Bible Study incorporates contemporary study of the Bible with an experience of the church’s most ancient way of reading Scripture, lectio divina. This time-honored practice consists of five basic movements: biblical study (lectio), reflection (meditatio), prayer (oratio), discernment (contemplatio), and contemplative action (operatio). In six clearly written volumes, bestselling author Stephen Binz leads readers in a vivid study of key biblical characters, including Abraham, Paul, Peter, David, the women of the Torah, and the women of the Gospels. Designed for use by individuals or groups, each volume includes questions for personal reflection, suggested actions, and leader’s notes for guiding the study.
NRSV, Green Bible: Understand the Bible’s Powerful Message for the Earth, Forward by Desmond Tutu: The NRSV Green Bible will equip and encourage you to see God’s vision for creation and help you engage in the work of healing and sustaining it. Includes inspirational essays from key leaders such as Pope John Paul II, N. T. Wright, Barbara Brown Taylor, and Wendell Berry, as well as, over 1,000 highlighted verses, a Green topical index, and “The Green Bible Trail Guide” for further study.
A Couple’s Guide to a Growing Marriage Bible Study, Gary Chapman: Every marriage is a growing marriage. The real question is: are you growing closer together or further apart? This book will start you in the right direction. In both private and shared exercises, you’ll explore Bible study, prayer, and Scripture memory. You will learn how to have a brief daily sharing time with your spouse, and you will cultivate deeper friendships with others through group activities. A Couple’s Guide to a Growing Marriage Bible Study will teach you to share your life more fully with God, and as your relationship with God deepens, so will your relationship as a couple.
A full listing of our Scripture and Bible study resources can be found through our online catalogue. The Bishop Farrell Library & Archives is also home to a Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, a fine art version of the NRSV Bible intended to encourage an appreciation of the beauty of Scripture.
Looking for tips on how to read the Bible? Bishop Crosby and the Diocese of Hamilton have chosen the third Sunday of Ordinary Time each year as our day to emphasize how #TheBibleSpeaks and how #WeListen. On January 26th, 2020 join us in dedicating your day to listening to the Word of God. Learn more about our Bible Sunday on the Diocese of Hamilton website and download resources to help focus your Scripture study.