BIBLE SERIES: Why Don't you Read the Bible?

By Paul Dion, STL

Editor's Note: This is Part 2 of our series on the Bible. It is an offshoot of the Bishop's Synod being held at the Vatican from October 5-26, 2010. Please follow this blog series and be enlightened on why the Bible needs to be part of our ongoing Christian life and experience. Below are links to the rest of the series:

Part 1: What are your Personal Bible Habits?

After the Burning question from last week sent most of you scurrying into the corner, we have decided to push further and ask a less personal question, but a more directly probing one. In case you are wondering, we do have some interesting comments to share with you this time. As is our custom, we will provide you with some "answers". But, outside of our custom, we are going to start by enumerating some answers and then look for yours.

The question is, WHY DON'T YOU READ THE BIBLE?

Down through the ages and until this day there are many answers which have remained the same. Many of them have been told to me directly. Some of them came to light in the survey that the Church took over the last two years. They appear below. See if you can find yourself in them. After that, read the comments that we have posted here.

I don't read the Bible because I don't find it interesting.
I don't read the Bible because I find it difficult to understand what it is trying to say.
I don't read the Bible because it is for priests and nuns.
I don't read the Bible because I don't know where to start.
I don't read the Bible because I hear some of it every Sunday anyway.
I don't read the Bible because if I do and my Protestant friends find out, that's all they'll want to talk about.
I don't read the Bible because I don't have time with my family, job and children and everything.
I don't read the Bible because that's for old people.
I don't have to read the Bible because I have a Catechism.
I don't read the Bible because I thought that Catholics aren't supposed to read it.

You might think that these answers come from people who are not Catholic, or religious, or something. No, that's not it. Most people have a Bible in the house, but it just sits there and gathers dust. You might think that this comes from people who are in and of our times and you know how the people in our times have deteriorated since the "good old days!" Wrong again.

With this list of excuses, it is easy to see that the Church has an uphill effort ahead of it to bring its faithful people around to the reading of the Bible. If it is any consolation, I invite you to click here and see just how old a problem this really is.

Once you have reflected on this question, we at request that you make the good resolution to open your Bible. If you don't know how to attack it, ask around and you're sure to find someone who can help you discover the treasure that you have on your coffee table.


  1. Anonymous5:58 PM

    My answer is simple. It intimidates me. It's been sitting on the shelf for a long time and I'm afraid to open it. Something about the holiness of the book intimidates me.

  2. Anonymous10:33 AM

    It's encouraging to read the Bible and "hear" God talk to me and leave me directions I can use in my everyday life. But I'm not an expert in the Bible. How do I know I'm understanding it correctly? I've been afraid to ask anyone. Now I'm asking.

  3. George:
    You're not alone. You're in a lot of company. Maybe you have to start slowly. Take it down from the shelf and give it a place of honor in the house -- open, of course. Who knows, before long, you may want to read a line or two. It is a powerful sacramental, so let its glow fill the house and let it attract your interest by itself.

    God bless you with His Printed Word.

    Paul Dion, STL
    Theology Editor

  4. C Magatte: Thank you for a well constructed comment.
    May I just say that it does not take an expert to not only "hear" what God is saying in the Bible, but "listen" with comprehension as well. If you are a regular church goer, you will pick up some insights about the meaning of the Bible books. If you read regularly, you will also discover some tidbits of meaning that will help you. The understanding that comes from the Holy Spirit will be the correct one for you. After all, you are not seeking deep theological truths as you read God's Word. Like most of us you are seeking spiritual support more than doctrinal explanation.
    Finally, let me suggest that if you have inner questions about the doctrinal meaning of a passage, check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the area that you think is being explained and chances are you will see there the mind of the Church as it responds to the passage that is intriguing you.
    Magatte, read the Bible in peace. Let the Spirit talk to you and don't worry about the technical understandings.

    Paul Dion, STL
    Theology Editor

  5. Anonymous6:23 PM

    I'm reading the Bible before but as I continue, I have encountered passages that are quiet disturbing... e.g. s_x, violence, language... Now, I stopped reading it. If I continue to read it... I'm afraid that I lose my faith. That is... The more I read it... the more is the tendency that I lose my faith... Please pray for me... I pray the Breviary though... and devotional prayers... I read selected portions of the Text.

  6. It is true that the Bible contains some graphic language and some stories that go counter to our Western, democratic mores. This is due to cultural and religious disparities that do not change the overall goal of the Bible which is God showing us who He is, and why. These parts are not really made for the daily prayer, adoring and praising faithful. They are to be understood for what they are, facts that cannot be changed, sinful though they be. They always point to the solution...God punishes the evil that they represent and rewards the righteous.
    You have taken the appropriate steps to protect yourself from getting off the path of righteousness. Keep up the good work.