The Catholic Bible, despite being the inspired Word of God, has been misunderstood, misquoted, and misused for centuries. Even some of the most educated people have poorly interpreted the most important text of human history. Clearly, supplemental text to reading the Catholic Bible is important. However, just as there are right and wrong interpretations of the Catholic Bible there are also poor supplemental texts to the Catholic Bible. For example, not all Bible commentaries are created equal.
How does someone know whether a supplemental text of the Catholic Bible is worth using or not? Here is a list of what I think are the five best supplemental texts, in no particular order, to the Catholic Bible in order to get the most out of the Catholic Bible and understand it better.
1. Concordance – If you have a Catholic Bible, then you need a concordance. A concordance is an alphabetical list of terms which appear in the Bible. This list usually includes how many times a term appears in the Bible and where the term appears. A concordance is a great tool to have for your Catholic Bible so that you can use it to find specific verses or passages regarding a certain theme. If you have ever wondered about what the Bible has to say about grief, baptism, or anything else, then you need the concordance.
2. Catholic Bible Dictionary – A Catholic Bible Dictionary is perfect for understanding those hard words like “justification” and “grace” as they appear in the Bible. A Bible Dictionary by someone like Scott Hahn is an indispensable resource.
3. Catholic Bible Study – One of the best ways to learn more about the Catholic Bible is to get involved in a Catholic Bible study. There are many great Catholic Bible Studies out there including Come and See Series and Great Adventure Series to just name a couple. If you don’t know of a Catholic Bible Study to join then you can certainly start one with your friends.
4. Catholic Bible Commentaries – Reading the Catholic Bible along a good commentary will open your eyes to a depth of the scripture you probably would not have seen otherwise. There are many popular and esteemed Catholic Bible Commentaries including the Navarre Bible commentaries and Jerome Bible Commentaries.
5. Bible Covers – Making the most out of your Catholic Bible includes protecting it with a cover so that you can continue to use it for many, many more years. Using a simple cover will protect it from rapid wear which can occur if you’re using your Bible daily or even weekly.
These Bible supplements are important and if you have all five going for you, then I am sure that when you read the Bible you will be able to understand it at a far deeper level than most who have only the Bible. Do you already have all of these supplements? Which do you have? Which one do you think is most important?