Bible Study

Great New Didache Bible from Ignatius Press

by Steve Ray on February 12, 2018

The Didache Bible Is Here, By Dr. Jeff Mirus

[Steve’s Comment]: I posted this a while ago, but want to make sure new readers are aware of this excellent new Bible with the right footnotes, maps, etc. This is my choice.

[Miras’ article]: This Bible uses the Second Edition of the Catholic Edition of the Revised Standard Version, widely regarded as the best translation available today. This means it was last revised according to the principles promulgated in Liturgiam Authenticam in 2001. The printing is well done—clean, clear and easy to read—and the accompanying commentary and additional resources are superb. However, the prospective reader needs to realize that this edition’s resources are primarily devoted to highlighting and clarifying the teachings and practices of the Church as found in the Word of God and as more fully articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This purpose was inspired by the Midwest Theological Forum’s Didache Series of religious education textbooks, and it makes this edition of the Bible the best one to use in connection with religious education, or by readers who want to understand both the teachings of the Church and their foundations in Sacred Scripture. It would not be the best edition for those who know Catholic doctrine very well and are now interested in exploring the origins and development of the Biblical books, the surrounding history with which the texts interact, or the full range of perspectives on the meaning of difficult passages.

The Didache Bible includes the following preparatory resources as front-matter:

  • Foreword by Cardinal Francis George on the general relationships among the Catechism, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, and Sacred Scripture.
  • Preface by Fr. James Socias of the Midwest Theological Forum on the fundamental purposes of this edition.
  • Introduction on Biblical inspiration and the various senses of Scripture.
  • A brief guide on how to read the Bible.
  • A brief summary of the major themes of all the books of the Old and New Testaments.
  • A chronology of the Old Testament.
  • A chronology of the New Testament.
  • A thematically-organized list of Scripture passages for personal meditation.

Of even greater interest are the resources which accompany each of the books. There is a one-page introduction to each book which covers authorship, dating, audience and main themes. Then, page by page as the Biblical text unfolds, we find:

  • Extensive commentary, verse by verse, on the meaning of the text and its significance for understanding Catholic teaching and practice.
  • Call-out boxes which briefly highlight key Biblical and theological concepts to aid the reader in understanding the full significance of the text.
  • Lists of related Biblical passages (these cross-references visually separate the text from the commentary).
  • Periodic full-page apologetical explanations of important Catholic concepts, teachings and practices, placed at appropriate points along the way. There are over 100 of these longer explanations.

Finally, following the last book of the Bible, the back-matter includes:

  • 24 full-color maps providing geographical orientations for both the Old and New Testaments.
  • A 44-page glossary of Biblical names and terms.
  • Index to the maps.
  • Index of apologetical explanations by title.
  • Index of apologetical explanations by subject.
  • A 23-page index of subjects, including Biblical names, which leads to the Biblical passages in which they appear.

I’ve attached two rough, home-made double-page scans. One shows pages from the Book of Genesis as an example of the presentation of the text, the Biblical cross-references, the extensive commentary, and the boxed highlights. The other shows pages from the Book of Revelation as an example of how an apologetical explanation (on the Rosary) interfaces with a page of text (again with its characteristic chapter and verse numbers, subtitles, cross-references and commentary).

The Didache Bible is currently available in a sturdy hardbound edition with two ribbons. I give this Bible my highest recommendation for all those who wish to understand both Sacred Scripture and Catholic teaching more fully, including the deep links between the two. I would say it is the best edition to give as a first Bible to Catholics who have not yet made an extensive study of their Faith. It is the ideal Bible for them to have when they go off to college or out into the world, where they will eventually be challenged—not least about the relationship between Sacred Scripture and the Catholic Church.

I have provided our usual Amazon link below, but the Bible is currently on sale directly from Ignatius Press. I am checking on the availability of the deluxe leather-bound edition that was also originally planned.

The Didache Bible     $35.00


“Bible Christians”
(a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises:

1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone;
2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their own pope;
3. The Bible is perspicuous (i.e., easy to understand) and it can be interpreted and understood by anyone.
4. An individual can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves.

Catholics have a different set of premises that direct their study of the Bible.

1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80-83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.
2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85-88).
3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15-16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.
4. Individuals can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20-21).

These basic differences place the Catholic and Protestant worlds apart even though they are opening the pages of the same book and accepting it as an authoritative revelation from God. The Catholic position is biblical, and has been espoused from the first days of the Church. The Protestant position is unbiblical (assumed from their newly devised tradition) and is of recent origin. The Catholic is in full continuity with historical Christianity; Protestants are in discontinuity.

For the best Catholic Bible software, visit

My article “Bible Study: Playground or Minefield? Why We Need the Church”

My article: “How to Start a Parish Bible Study”

“Questions for ‘Bible Christians'”


Did the Bible Always have Chapters & Verses?

by Steve Ray on January 8, 2018

IMG_8656No! The chapter and verse divisions in the Bible are relatively recent additions to the Bible. Originally it was written in Hebrew and Greek and there were NO chapter and verse divisions–in fact, most of the time there was not even spaces between the words!

Interestingly, in the book of Hebrews the writer is quoting the Old Testament and because it did not have chapters and verses and he was working out of a cumbersome rolled scroll, the writer said “Somewhere it says . . .”  (Heb 2:6, 4:4).

Here is a paragraph from my book St. John’s Gospel:

“The different divisions of the material within the NT books are not ancient. The chapter divisions are usually attributed to Cardinal Hugo de San Caro, who in A.D. 1248 used them in preparing a Bible index, but he may have borrowed them from the earlier [Catholic] archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton.

The modern verses derive from Robert Estienne (Stephanus), who, according to his son Henry, made the divisions while on a journey on horseback from Paris to Lyons. They were first published in Stephanus’ Greek Testament of 1551 and first appeared in an English translation of the NT in William Whittingham’s version of 1557. The first complete Bible in English with our verses was the Geneva Bible of 1560” (Achtemeier, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, 699).

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Verbum – Couldn’t Live without It! Now Updated and Free!

December 20, 2017

I have been using Logos Bible Software since 1990. It is now light years better and with separate CATHOLIC software called Verbum. It works off the internet, on a desktop or laptop (Mac or PC), tablets or smartphones – both Android and Apple. It seamlessly syncs between all your platforms. Catholics should be the best at Bible Study […]

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7 Reasons to Study the Cultural Backgrounds of the Bible

November 24, 2017

7 Reasons to Study the Cultural Backgrounds of the Bible Posted by Cierra Klatt on 09/06/2017 in Olive Tree Blog 1. Understand the audience: Grasping the original audience’s perspective helps us understand the setting to which the inspired authors communicated their message. 2. Understand how the text communicates: A text is ideas linked by threads of writing. Each phrase and each […]

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Bible Study: Playground or Minefield?

October 10, 2017

Imagine children running and tussling unsupervised in a playground. Now imagine the playground surrounded by deadly dangers: a sharp cliff dropping down a thousand feet to one side, a field of land mines, poisonous snakes in the sand, and a bog of quicksand on the other sides. With anguish you watch the children decimated as […]

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Jesus Was A Jew and Why You Can’t Understand the Bible without Knowing That

September 27, 2017

Jesus was a Jew. This fact may escape the casual reader of the New Testament, but it is crucial to understanding Jesus and the book written about him—the Bible. Unhappily, in 21st century America we are far removed from the land of Israel and the ancient culture of Jesus and his Jewish ancestors. Let me […]

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Verbum for FREE

September 25, 2017

LIf you’ve followed my blog for long you know I love the planet’s best and only Catholic and Bible Software called VERBUM. I have been using this since 1990 and it is loaded on my desktop, laptop and iPhone all the time. I live on this program. I’ve used it to write all my books, […]

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Why Do I Love Logos (Verbum) So Much? Watch this…

July 13, 2017

This is only ONE way to use Logo’s Verbum for Catholics. After watching this you can visit the site to learn more at, Use Promo Code STEVERAY10 for a 10% discount. You will LOVE this program for computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones or even just on the internet. Nothing else on the planet like […]

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The Bible out of Context: “Saved by Faith Alone”?

July 4, 2017

When reading the Bible devoid of its historical and textual context, there is no context except the context which any person might supply for it. or put otherwise, A text without a context is a pretext. I always get frustrated when self-proclaimed Bible students or teachers start pontificating about the meaning of the Bible and […]

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Meet St. Paul as he Writes to the Romans; A Brief Study to Make it Easy

June 23, 2017

I love St. Paul and love to write about him and his epistles. I also enjoyed traveling through six countries filming his life story and theology. St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans is often seen as impossible to understand except by theologians — and most skip right over this masterpiece. With hopes that you will […]

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Two of my Books 1/2 off on Verbum until Wednesday (links fixed)

May 30, 2017

The banner says, How influential can Verbum be? Steve Ray used to have a library 20,000 physical books, but after immersing himself in the usefulness of Verbum, he made the decision to downsize his collection to 10,000 physical books. If you are using the software regularly, you understand how amazing is the ability to search deeply […]

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Should Catholics Attend Non-denominational or Ecumenical Bible Studies?

May 18, 2017

Every day, Catholics are invited by coworkers, neighbors, and even family members to “ecumenical” Bible studies. Should they go? Certainly all of us would benefit from more study of Scripture, but as someone who has been a part of a number of Protestant Bible studies—I’ve even taught them—I discourage Catholics from attending them because of […]

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A Talk with 2 Purposes: Teach Foundations of our Faith & Demonstrate Verbum Catholic Software

February 18, 2017

A while ago I gave a talk in Ann Arbor entitled “The Foundations of our Faith: Scripture, Tradition & Magisterium.” (Watch the video below.) As I love to do, I tied the Old and New Testaments together and showed the continuity that lays the foundation for who and what we are as Catholics today. But my […]

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“Ecumenical” Bible Studies

February 12, 2017

Without a teaching authority or the tradition of the historic Church, this cartoon shows what many Bible studies are really like. I remember Bible Studies that started out with “What does this passage mean to you?”  To keep from arguing or fighting, many just avoid difficult passages. There are many studies that exclude Catholic ideas […]

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Looking for Christmas Gift for a Bible-lover? Look what Verbum Can Do!

December 19, 2016

This is so impressive I just had to give folks an opportunity to see this. There is a reason that thousands of Catholics are buying Verbum. I’ve used it for over a decade! What would Sts. Augustine and Aquinas think?! This is a short video that gives shows you how you can study the Immaculate […]

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