I recently gave a two-part class at my parish entitled “Encountering Christ in the Scriptures: Reading the Bible Spiritually”.
The purpose of this class is to help Catholics read the Bible fruitfully. Too often the main focus of Scripture studies over the past few decades has been historical and scholarly details – who wrote this book, when did he write it, why did he write it? Those are important questions, but they are not questions which help the typical Catholic to draw closer to Christ and live a more fulfilling life.
These questions also neglect the intentions of the other author of the Scriptures – the Holy Spirit. My class is thus directed towards a “spiritual study” of the Bible, and the key to this study is encountering Christ in the pages of Scripture. I discuss how Old Testament figures such as Adam and Moses allow us to understand Christ better and deepen our knowledge of him. We see how all the Scriptures are directed towards Christ (see Luke 24:27). And all of this is done within the Church and as part of a sacramental life.
Here is a short (3 1/2 minute) sample from the class, where I talk about how the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 helps us to encounter Christ on the Cross:
You can listen to both classes in their entirety here and here. The first class is more theoretical – what does it mean to do a spiritual study, how do we do it? The second class includes practical applications of the theory. Each class is about 1 1/2 hours in length.
“[Christianity] is not a new philosophy or a new form of morality. We are only Christians if we encounter Christ…We can…encounter Christ in reading Holy Scripture, in prayer, and in the liturgical life of the Church – touch Christ’s heart and feel that Christ touches ours. And it is only in this personal relationship with Christ, in this meeting with the Risen One, that we are truly Christian.” – Pope Benedict XVI