Sarah Reinhard is a Catholic wife, mom, writer, editor, marketing professional, and coffee drinker. You’re just as likely to find her hiding out back with a book as you are to discover her playing in the yard with a few farm animals (or wait — are those her kids?) She is the author of many books, the most recent of which she co-edited with Lisa Hendey: The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion: A Book of Daily Reflections. She blogs at SnoringScholar.com and writes online regularly at CatholicMom.com and Integrated Catholic Life. Reinhard holds a master’s degree in marketing and communications and has worked for many years in corporate and nonprofit organizations. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and children.
I remember curling up beside my dad as he read to me from The Picture Bible, published in the early 80s by David Cook. In fact, I have my brother’s old copy and my kids love having me read it to them.
But I’ve never found a good adult version of that kind of Bible experience. Back in my pre-kids days, I would attend evening Bible studies at our parish, and they were helpful. When I only had one kid to keep me distracted, I would often attend the Friday morning Bible study with her in tow. Not so long ago, I even attempted to start a personal study of the Book of Acts.
That last one didn’t go so well. I was using a great resource, but I just lacked the hard-and-fast discipline and time commitment that actually attending a Bible study gave me.
Having a few copies from the new Emmaus Road Publishing “Come and See” Bible studies land in my review pile, then, seemed nothing short of heaven-sent. And as I spent some time digging through them, I got the outline of an idea.
These books are designed to be used in a group, though they could probably work just as well for individual study (if you’re not like me and you have the ability to follow through on something like this). They’re obviously well thought-out, with a plan in the front with tips for how you can conduct your Bible study.
These aren’t designed to be an eight-week study. Instead, they’re designed to be more like a year-long journey deeper into the Word of God. For The Gospel of John study, for example, you’ll look at a chapter a week. Each chapter has a memory verse to kick it off and commentary that is not only written by scholars who know what they’re talking about, but which is revealing and insightful.
You’ll need more than just your Bible, though, because the Come and See series relies on the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a supplement. At the end of each study section/chapter, there are review questions, but they’re not the eye roll inducing stuff I’m used to. No, these are questions that a master catechist would ask to spur conversation. They’ll force you to dive through your Bible (and not just the book you’re studying) and crack open your Catechism. They’ll make you think about what you read, but also about what you learned…or what you could learn.
Some of the commentary can’t help but be a bit of an apologetics course, and it’s framed in the context of the Bible, which I found extremely helpful. For example, in the chapter on John 2, there’s a discussion of being born again and of infant baptism.
There’s a prayerful approach throughout, and I appreciated that above all. This isn’t just an intellectual pursuit. We’re not just studying, though we are undoubtedly doing that. We are also seeking to grow closer to the Person of God, known best through his Word.
I like what I’ve seen. Now, to gather a group of friends and get started…