Why Read the Bible With Others?

Hi Fi Vol. 127 (2009) Number 1

Nathalie is 28 years old. For the past eight years she has been meeting regularly with a group of young adults to read the Bible.Franciscan Brother Guylain Prince facilitates a group reading.  Source : Bande FM She describes the evolution of her relationship to the Bible, and the advantages of group reading.

Even before I started meeting with my group to share on biblical texts, the Bible was appealing to me. Once in a while, I would read passages from the Gospels and think about themfor a few minutes. I wanted to know more, because I viewed them as a treasure: the tangible traces of Jesus' life on earth. However, I knew very little about the Old Testament, and it was often perplexing to me. Even the Gospels, though they presented Jesus as loving and God as merciful, puzzled me when it came to some of the things Jesus said and did. Still, I was certain the Word of God carried freedom - so the Church said, anyway, and I wanted to believe it, even if some parts of the Bible took me aback.  

I felt sure that in order for me to experience the Word of God as liberating, I needed to understand it better. Sometimes homilies were helpful in this. Eventually, I was at a talk given by aCatholic biblicist (itwas important for me to find answers in my own tradition). His knowledge and his passion helped me see that a Bible study groupmight helpme in my quest.

One advantage of my study group is learning about the way of life, Judaism, and other aspects of Jesus' time period, or that of the Old Testament. It definitely broadens our understanding of biblical passages because it shows how Jesus, and the prophets before him, were rooted in specific social and political contexts, which fostered a variety of ideas and perceptions ofGod. Now, reading the Gospels, I am more conscious of the ways in which Jesus went beyond the customs and considerations of his time, in order to reach out to people who were excluded or oppressed.

Another perk of the group dynamic is that I am able to benefit from the questions, insights, and growth in faith of my fellow readers. I learn much thanks to their doubts, discoveries, and surprises.

Before each meeting, we take time to pray. This is an essential moment for me. It prepares us for the reading, allows God into our day, and cultivates unity in the group.

My experiences with the reading group are extremely nourishing for my faith. I never regret putting aside other activities so that I can be present.

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