“Learn the Heart of God in the words of God, that you may long more ardently for things eternal.” St. Gregory the Great

Yesterday, on the Solemnity of Pentecost 2011, I completed reading every book of the Bible. The words of St. Gregory have become my words to explain why I have read the entire Bible; all 46 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament. I now know the Heart of God much better than before I had read any of the Sacred Scriptures.

I want to inspire others to do the same.  I want to shout from a mountain top: “Read the Bible!”. There are no mountains where I live, so I shout it on my blog. I have heard the Bible described as “the history of salvation”, and after reading it all, I do so agree.

Reading the entire Bible is a big effort, one that takes serious commitment and a significant amount of time. It took me a little over three years from start to finish. So I would like to offer a few suggestions for others:

1) Start small, choose just one book from the Gospel, I recommend the Gospel of John.
2) Read all the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles
3) Read the letters of St. Paul
4) Read all the rest of the New Testament (James, Peter, John…)
5) Enroll in a Bible Study class
6) Keep track of your progress.  I have a document for download on this blog titled: “Bible Reading Log”

There is also a post on this blog (from October 2010) about reading the entire New Testament, see that post for more information.  I recommend taking some type of a Bible Study class. This will help provide a consistent, scheduled time for reading and learning. The fellowship with other students and with the instructor that develops will also help you to keep making progress. The class I took was “Introduction to Sacred Scripture” at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. My parish was a satellite location for the seminary.

I also recommend additional books to help understand the Bible: three of which deserve special note: “The Catholic Bible Dictionary”, “You Can Understand The Bible: A Practical And Illuminating Guide To Each Book In The Bible” and “Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament”.  These three books, and a few others I have reviewed on this blog. I used these books, and a few others, in the class I took.

Reading the Bible is something that can and should affect us (and change us), in a significant way. The more of the Bible one reads, the greater the change.  This holds true as well with the words of St. Gregory, for the more of the Bible one reads, the more one can learn the Heart of God.

June 13th 2011, memorial of St. Anthony of Padua: St. Anthony, pray for us. St. Gregory the Great, pray for us. Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us.  Come Holy Spirit and inspire us to read the Word of God.