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April 21, 2010
New Bible helps families live faith
By Julie Filby
Does your family Bible sit in a corner collecting dust? Literally never opened until someone gets married or baptized?
Creators of a new family-focused Bible would rather see your Bible stained with spaghetti sauce and covered in sticky notes. “The Catholic Faith & Family Bible” (HarperCollins, $39.99) was written to serve as a hands-on resource to help everyday Catholic families understand the Bible and apply its wisdom to their daily lives.
“We had a vision of a Bible that’s used in the dining room for meal prayers, and sits on the coffee table for family discussions,” said general editor Leif Kehrwald, project coordinator for Lifelong Faith Formation at the Center for Ministry Development. “We’d like to see it travel throughout the house—to the parents’ bedroom for inspiration and solace, and a teen’s room for learning and guidance.
“The one place you won’t find this Bible is tucked away in a corner of a remote bookshelf,” he said.
“The Catholic Faith & Family Bible” (visit catholicfaithandfamilybible.org) was developed by the Center for Ministry Development, a Washington-based nonprofit that provides resources for pastoral ministry and catechesis, in partnership with Our Sunday Visitor Curriculum Division.
The book is based on the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition—with sections added to help readers connect what they learn in Scripture with their real-world relationships.
“We filled it with a lot of ways for families to make connections between the ordinary stuff of their lives and the words of Scripture,” Kehrwald said.
Each section and book of the Bible begins with a summary of the main theme; an outline of events and people; background about the author, date written, audience and literary style; and an overview of cultural and historical context.
In addition, more than 600 sidebar articles were woven throughout to highlight key passages and aid in family discussion. Each sidebar article highlights a particular passage on the page, and invites readers to pray around the passage, reflect on it or take action.
A team of 17 writers contributed to the sidebars, which were reviewed by Catholic Scripture scholars and pastoral ministry leaders.
The front and back sections of the book are packed with tools, tips, ideas and resources including Reading the Bible as a Catholic Family, Frequently Asked Questions about the Bible, Reading Plans, Passages for the Issues and Events of Family Living, Praying with the Bible, Sunday Lectionary Readings, How the Bible is Used in Mass and Maps of the Holy Land.
“The Catholic Faith & Family Bible” was designed to be read by parents to their children, who then engage the group in conversation. Many of the articles were geared toward teenagers.
“This is not a children’s Bible, it’s a family Bible,” Kehrwald said. “Our goal is to empower the parent to be the lead agent for exploring Scripture and growing in faith at home. That’s crucial.”
Kehrwald suggested there are a number of ways for a family to use the special sections of this Bible. For example, parents can read the upcoming Sunday Gospel to their children one weeknight during dinner then encourage discussion.
He also suggested doing the Reading Plans together, such as the Two-Week Reading Plan on the Life and Teachings of Jesus.
“As we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be good if we were infused with how Jesus lived and the things that he taught?”