new social distancing phase, new season, new commitment to opening the Word of God
The first day of Summer Break is a glorious one--will I sleep all day? Will I pay those bills I have been putting off? Will I clean out that closet? Will I wake up, put on some coffee, and sit in my prayer chair for beautiful, uninterrupted, committed time with the Lord? Will I forget all of these good ideas and continue my Psych binge?
Which did I choose? I’ll never tell, but if you choose to spend some of your summer diving into Scripture. Here are a few good places to start.
My 7th grade students asked for resources to help them study Scripture on their own during the summer *holds back tears* so here the suggestions I shared with them:
You can start with Genesis.
You can start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… Genesis 1! Sometimes the simplest answer is also the best answer. Genesis can be very entertaining reading! While there are talking snakes, flood waters, and a lot of babbling in the first 11 chapters, the really juicy stuff gets stated in Genesis 12 with the promises God makes to Abraham!
If you start at the beginning, here is a Pro Tip: Genesis and Exodus provide great narratives and action sequences! Then you get to Leviticus… yikes. So many laws about festering boils. While you’ll miss a few fun stories in Deuteronomy and Numbers, I would skip from Exodus to Joshua.
You can start with the Wisdom Literature.
Having a lot of feelings?--there is a Psalm for that! Covering every range of emotion, the Psalms give us great material to bring to prayer!
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Sirach (Ben Sira), Wisdom, and Song of Songs also share beautiful insights in how to live. You’ll be surprised that these ancient writings are 3000 years old!
You can read the Prophets.
Isaiah and Jeremiah offer some beautiful passages! Hosea as well. Daniel has some really weird and fun passages like a hand writing on the wall!
The Prophets are a great way to challenge yourself. Remember to read with the Incarnation in mind! How does the Lord fulfill these promises when He comes?
Pick your favorite Gospel!
If you start with Matthew, remember that you will encounter the genealogy of Jesus and stories about the Nativity. It’s okay to skip ahead if you’re not in a Christmasy mood. Like Mark and Luke, the Gospels follow Jesus’ life in the order of Birth-Ministry-Passion-Resurrection. Look out for lots of connections to Judaism.
If you want to read the whole gospel as quickly as possible, Mark is your guy. He is short and to the point. Jesus is always in a hurry in Mark.
If you want to reflect on the Annunciation, and the early life of John the Baptist, this is your Gospel. Luke gives extensive treatment to the early life of Christ. Look for lots of connections to the universality of the good news.
My favorite! John’s passages are long, detailed, and very rich. Look out for connections not found in the first three gospels. [John 14-17 are my favorite! & 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 11, fine, all of John.]
You can skip the Gospels and start with the Acts of the Apostles.
This book gives you access to the very beginnings of the Church. You can see what it was like to live among the earliest Christians.
You can read the Epistles.
You can pick a letter to go through slowly OR you can research a particular topic. For example, “What does St. Paul say about Love?” A Google search like that should send you to Corinthians.
JUST REMEMBER--anytime you google questions about the faith you are not necessarily getting a credible or Catholic resource. ALWAYS CHECK YOUR RESOURCES! [That’s just advice for life in general.]
One of the gifts of the Church is that she has been studying the Scriptures for you for 2000 years. The Sunday readings are selected thoughtfully and methodically. Look for connections between the First + Second Reading, the Psalm, and the Gospel! Or focus on just one reading and dive deep. Keeping up with the daily readings is also a great way to engage with the Word. Already doing that? Check out the Readings included in the Liturgy of the Hours.
BONUS: Weekly challenge time! Let's all commit to reading our bibles for 10 minutes each day this week.
Where would you suggest starting?