In this episode, we discuss a recent article in GQ magazine which described the Bible as overrated, along with a new report from Barna titled State of the Bible 2017: Top Findings. We explore whether people are reading the Bible, how much they’re doing it, and how we can all read the Bible better.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:04 – Introduction, Bishop’s reflections on his Google talk, the Pope Francis movie
  • 5:25 – Why does GQ Magazine think the Bible is overrated?
  • 11:30 – How does Bishop Barron engage people who want to read the Bible but struggle with the task?
  • 17:00 – How can the Bible, itself, be used as an evangelical tool?
  • 21:30 – Why is the printed text of the Bible so important to people rather than the ebook version?
  • 27:30 – Question: Is the God of the Bible in contrast with the God of natural theology?

Bonus Resources

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6 comments on “WOF 131: Does the Bible Still Matter?

  1. Excellent as usual. Thank you very much.
    Having engaged both those who dismiss the Holy Bible and those who strive to put way too much literal interpretation on different genres and how to learn the meaning of the harshness purveyed in some of the history texts therein; even if some of this harshness is attributed to the direct will of God; I find the Catholic/Orthodox way of interpreting The Holy Bible reflects the true source of The Almighty God of loving kindness desiring only our happiness with God who gives living water to Eternal Life. That this living water can not flow into any selfishness; only self giving.
    Had you known the following, and had been predisposed to do so you may have in some short part of this related what John Cardinal O’Connor conveyed.
    In 1990, on Apr. 28, in front of 700,000 thousand people; John Cardinal O’Connor asserted that all these millions upon millions of copies of The Holy Bible; are meant
    to serve the ‘words of God,’ which are human persons. *Yes, yes, yes! I get it; that sometimes purveying Evangelium Vitae too much leads to droning out; or turning off reception of it.* Yes, I understand that. Did you know that John Cardinal O’Connor actually asked John Paul ii, in 1992, to write an Apostolic Exhortation on the value and dignity of every human life at a Bishops conference in Rome. The result was a much contributed to Evangelium Vitae. Isn’t it true; that the recent push, instead of finding creative compassionate ways to follow the Holy Spirit inspired address at the 5th anniversary of Evangelium Vitae on Feb 14, 2000; to form, as an integral concerted vast sign to the Church by every pastoral work, discipline, and other works of the Church forming coalitions with those of good will to world; — that the push to be reticent not to come across as judgmental is more anthropomorphic than from The Holy Spirit?
    ~ With adamantly cooperating with God’s Grace to form such a sign to bring peace
    to the conscience of the parents, and families of the world; with solidarity with children hurt by the thousands every day by the denial of their natural ardent, emphatic, earnest desire to live in God’s Providence — to be given over to gradualism; instead of the urgency of now — Grieves The Holy Spirit, n’est pas?
    Peace and heartfelt warm regards.

  2. Margaret M. Sanchez Jun 12, 2018

    The reason why I prefer a printed bible over a digital one: the Word in the tangible form can be blessed by a priest and gives me great peace in fearful situations. In restless nights I much rather sleep with the Word than with a phone.

  3. Kimberly Jun 13, 2018

    I had to laugh when you said “That’s just my generation.” I’m a few months to a few years older than you, and I’m grateful to have access to the Douay-Rheims 1899 edition on my phone through Laudate (free). For a long time I didn’t even have a Bible. My dad used to read his Bible to us before bed every night, and I wanted to keep up the custom, so when I moved out, I looked for a Bible in the discount store (before WalMart), but it was $25, and I don’t think I made more than $100 a week, most of which went to bills and living expenses. My only access to Scripture was the Mass in those days. It’s interesting to note that, even in this day and age, there are still a lot of people who just can’t afford a Bible. Some Evangelical groups give out mini copies of the New Testament, but that’s not the whole Bible. My parish had a Bible collection last year, for drop off or pick up from the freebie table. They went fast. My parish also offers your study programs, like Catholicism, on Monday nights. It’s nice for people who can’t access the internet. At the same time, the digital formats have made reading and study materials more widely accessible to those who couldn’t have afforded them in the past. Kindle even has a free app, so anyone with any kind of data plan is able to afford the sale prices, and people who may have only rarely bought edifying books, due to cost, are now able to afford more. I agree with Brandon that it’s nice to have the Book in “dedicated” format, used only for Scripture study and not for texting or social media. Yet at the same time, I appreciate how the digital technology of today has made the Gospel more widely available to those who wouldn’t have it otherwise.

  4. Steve Walsh Jun 14, 2018

    As a cradle Catholic from the 1960’s I was always taught that the bible should not be read straight through cover to cover. As such my view of the biblical stories where shaped by what I heard during Sunday Mass and occasional bible study classes. Through several personal experiences that required me to put my life in God’s hands I came to the point that I needed to understand “the Word of God” more directly. I believe it was on a recommendation from Bishop Barron suggesting that the bible must be read with an open heart to the Holy Spirit. With this in mind I have read the NIV bible from cover to cover and am now re-reading it a second time with the Navarre version. The only way the GQ Magazine could say the bible is overrated is because they have never read it cover to cover. Each book flows and supports the next book to produce a very accurate characterization of human nature. I also contend it is impossible to read the bible and not get a sense of God’s love for all of His creation and His desire to have a loving relationship with each one of us.
    I would strongly encourage any Christian, especially anyone struggling with their faith, to read the bible cover to cover and let the Holy Spirit guide your thoughts. You might find this experience to be the best “self help” project you have every undertaken.

  5. Dianne Hagerman Jun 15, 2018

    Hello, Is there a transcript available of the WOF131: Does the Bible Still Matter? show?

    I’d love to be able to share a print version (yes, I know, it’s not green) with our CCE teachers before start of new year.

  6. Maria McManus Jun 19, 2018

    Thank you for your program on the Bible. I became part of the Charismatic Renewal in December 2001, however, it was in the summer of 2001 that the Bible became the Word of God rather than simply a book. I began to read all the lamenting Psalms as the result of the blessing of having my stony heart broken. Soon a thirst to read the Jerusalem Bible grew to the point where I had re read it 10 to 12 times in the next five years before I bought a NRSV Catholic Women’s Bible, which I have re read through many times and use for the daily devotionals within it, for the daily Mass readings and for the Bible studies I have taught to the Residents at the Long Term Care facility where I work. I have found the people within the Renewal have such a ‘love’ for God’s Word, lead Bible Studies, speak Scripture in the prophetic Word and ground everything within the Renewal in God’s Word, in the Tradition and in the Magisterium. And my Bibles are full of colours and comments throughout. Now while having Breakfast I am reading a Douay-Rheims version. Thank you for your ‘love’ for God’s Word and proclaiming Him everywhere.
    Maria McManus
    Westbank, B.C.