Bible Study

Did the Bible Always have Chapters & Verses?

by Steve Ray on October 11, 2016

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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reg_logo_320Why Study the Bible” and interview with Steve Ray and Edward Sri

Posted by Joseph Pronechen on Sunday Sep 25th, 2016 at 8:22 AM
Experts Urge Catholics to Explore Scripture

Mary Kee knows the benefits of Bible study groups, which she has participated in for upwards of 20 years, usually at her home parish of St. Theresa Church in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn.

She says she began to study the Bible “to better understand the Scripture passages, the readings at Sunday Mass and the daily readings, and to enhance my understanding of the faith.”

Stephen Ray, author, speaker, writer-producer-host of the DVD series The Footprints of God: The Story of Salvation From Abraham to Augustine and EWTN guest, agrees: “St. Jerome said back in the third century, ‘Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.’ You can’t say it any simpler.”

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 5.27.21 AM“It’s the word of God,” Ray emphasized.

He finds it ironic that people often travel the world looking for apparitions and seeking the words of God, “and right on our table, gathering dust, is the Bible. We’re trying to hear God’s word today, and what’s sitting on the table is the inspired and infallible word of God.”

Edward Sri, professor of theology at the Augustine Institute and author of The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures (Ascension Press), points out that all Catholics need to see sacred Scripture isn’t just a bunch of stories from a long time ago or ancient text with proverbial wisdom. “These are the inspired words of God — God speaking to each one of us through the sacred Scriptures,” he explained.

No Foreign Idea

Why might people shy away from reading and studying the Bible? Ray believes that many Catholics think that Protestants have claimed the Bible for themselves.

“In reality,” Ray ( explained, “it’s one of the most important things that we do. This is our book. We’re the ones who wrote it and translated it. It’s our heirloom.” It should be “read in our family,” he added.

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 5.27.11 AM Multiple Bible Studies for all at Catholic Scripture Study International

St. Jerome, whose feast day is Sept. 30, helped see to that. A doctor of the Church, he translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, the Vulgate.

The Church makes sure that the Bible is not foreign to the faithful.

All Catholics going to church on Sundays “are exposed to so much of the Bible,” Sri ( said. “It’s like being part of a junior Bible study. A Catholic just showing up at Mass is exposed to the great breadth of Scripture.”

“At the same time, we should take time outside the liturgy to read the sacred Scriptures and see them as not just offering abstract theological principles, but see that this is God speaking to us today.”

He emphasizes that when God spoke to the Israelites at Mount Sinai and he gave them the Ten Commandments, “before they were ever put on the tablets of stone, he spoke the words on Mount Sinai to all the people, not just to Moses. All the people heard.”

“But look at the ‘Thou shall’ and ‘Thou shalt not,’” he added. “It was in the second person singular. Not in the plural ‘you’ all. … It was a personal word.”

“He might be telling me a story, but if I’m prayerfully reading the sacred Scriptures, I would sense there is something in this for me in my life today,” he continued. “There’s something God wants to show me in this word written centuries ago. These words written down continue to have life today and speak to my mind and heart today.”

The Bible for All

Don’t be intimidated by the Bible, Ray emphasized: The Bible is written for ordinary people as well as for scholars.

For the whole article, click here.

For a great Bible Study program for individuals and groups, for novices and veterans, click here.


Catholic Church: “Don’t Read the Bible!”

by Steve Ray on September 9, 2016

bible-study-bannerWe often hear that the Catholic Church has forbidden the reading of the Bible! Have you heard this? Yeah, me too! But, this is another one of those big myths which has worked its way into the popular dialog but one that has not been proved from Church teaching and documents.

There are two good list of quotes from Church documents and leaders of the Church from the early centuries until today.

The second is a list of Catholic Bibles from ancient times that prove the charge against the Catholic Church false, since the Forewords and Prefaces prove that the Catholic Church PROMOTED the reading of Scripture.

Here is the beginning of a long article which gives a TON of information on this topic and proves the Catholic Church has not forbidden the reading of Scripture — but quite the contrary, it has always promoted the reading and study of Scripture by the faithful.

02064_early_church_fathersjpg.jpegDoes/Did the Catholic Church Forbid the Reading of the Bible?

In three parts:
1) Introductory Comments
2) Pope Leo XIII’s On the Study of Holy Scripture
3) Multiple Quotes from Fathers, Popes and Councils

You and I have both heard the myth: “The Catholic Church has forbidden Catholics from reading the Bible!”

I am not intending to say that Catholics, especially in the United States were always big Bible readers in the past.  Certainly there was a deficit in this area — and a certain shyness coming from the problems of Protestantism and their Bible-thumping ways.

But it is a MYTH that Catholics did not read the Bible until the late 20th Century —  until after Vatican II.  Those who could read (many could not read over the centuries and even today ½ the world’s population is effectively illiterate) did read the Bible when they had them.1 Catholic biblical scholarship did not begin with Pius XII. It seems almost ludicrous to have to say that since we Catholics have had the best and the brightest of biblical scholars long before modern times — just consider Origen, Tertullian, St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Thomas Aquinas just to mention a few.

There has been a very long history of Bible reading, study and scholarship stretching back to the beginning of Christian/Catholic history….

For the whole article and list of quotes, click here.


Differences Between Catholic and Protestant Approaches to the Bible

August 21, 2016

“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 […]

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The Cross & the Crucifix: Letter to a Fundamentalist

August 17, 2016

The Cross & the Crucifix (From a letter Steve wrote to a Evangelical Protestant who asked about the Catholic Crucifix) Dear Evangelical Friend: You display a bare cross in your home; we display the cross and the crucifix. What is the difference and why? The cross is an upright post with a crossbeam in the […]

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Martyrs of Rome: Are You Prepared to Witness for Christ?

June 30, 2016

One of the talks I gave while we were just in Rome today is about the Apostolic Fathers and Suffering for the Faith. It is dear to my heart since we just traveled all over following the footprints of St. Paul and the Apostolic Fathers. I will be speaking on the suffering and martyrdom of early Christians. We […]

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How do YOU Read the Bible?

June 24, 2016

A Little Poem about Reading/Studing the Bible in Context I supposed I knew my Bible, Reading piecemeal, hit or miss, Now a bit of John or Matthew, Now a snatch of Genesis, Certain chapters of Isaiah, Certain Psalms (the twenty-third), Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs — Yes, I thought I knew the Word! But […]

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What Translation of the Bible Should You Use?

May 25, 2016

No translation is perfect. Translating ancient and foreign languages into English is not as easy as it would seem. There are ambiguities and linguistic hurtles.  Picture a sliding scale from left to right. Every translation fits somewhere along that scale. At one end of the scale literal  translations and on the other extreme are dynamic […]

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Top Ten Catholic Searches on Verbum

May 6, 2016

Verbum Software is the premier program for Catholic and Bible study. It is powerful beyond belief. Here are their Top Ten searches over the last year.  I have personally used the search well over a thousand times in the last year. This program is open on my computer, front and center, 24 hours a day […]

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Sympathy for Cradle Catholics Who Can’t Explain or Defend the Faith

April 7, 2016

I thought of a helpful illustration to explain why “cradle Catholics” are often unable to explain and defend the Catholic faith. The example has its weaknesses, but it does help get the point across. As an American I asked myself this question: if some one trained to attack America intellectually approached me on the street […]

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How We REALLY Got the Bible – the Facts Simply Presented (print this out, hand it out)

March 31, 2016

This is just one page of Bob Sullivan’s excellent little tri-fold handout to explain how we got the Bible. It is from the Catholic and historical perspective without all the Protestant biases and twisting of history. I think you enjoy the whole thing which you can see here. You can print this out, fold it […]

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Can Peter Walk on Water? Can Sinful Men be Infallible?

January 9, 2016

Is it possible for a sinful, fallible man to give an infallible interpretation of Scripture or an infallible definition of doctrine? If he is fallible and sinful, doesn’t that preclude his ability to be infallible when it comes to things of God? No. In fact while many Protestants would say the Pope cannot be infallible […]

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Ready to Start Studying the Bible in 2016? It’s Time to Prepare Now!

November 27, 2015

Since I was 17 years old, studying the Bible has been my passion. Now as a Catholic it has increased 100%. Back in my youth, I could never have anticipated the wealth of materials for study that I now have at my fingertips. I recommend two great Catholic resources: FIRST, Catholic Scripture Study International. I […]

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

November 19, 2015

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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Should Catholics Attend Non-denominational or Ecumenical Bible Studies?

November 8, 2015

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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Catholic Bible Study: Difference between Catholics and Protestants

September 9, 2015

Protestant “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 […]

Read the full article →