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Praying the Bible

A couple of years ago, my friend Karl Schultz wrote an excellent introduction to the Bible, The How-to Book of the Bible: Everything You Need to Know But No One Ever Taught You. Well, now he’s ready to take us to the next level, and help us to steep ourselves in the Scriptures prayerfully, the way the Church Fathers did. His new book is How to Pray With the Bible: The Ancient Prayer Form of Lectio Divina Made Simple.

Drawing from a variety of sources — from Origen of Alexandria to Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini — the author guides neophytes through techniques of reading Scripture that were developed in the monasteries of the ancient Church. The book is practical and winsome, easy to follow, yet quite ambitious and deep. The author sketches how lectio evolved, from its “Pre-Christian Roots and Universal Nature” through “Jewish Origins” and into the era of the Fathers. He considers several approaches to meditation. Schultz also examines the role of memory and the senses and touches upon related issues such as praying with icons. And he tackles the most common problems: impatience, distraction, the lack of discipline, and so on. An especially helpful chapter deals with “Reading Plans for Praying with the Bible.” Schultz is keenly sensitive to the Bible’s traditional home, which is the common worship of the Church, the liturgy.

The book’s a steal at less than ten bucks!

Our friend Kevin made his own pitch for lectio this week.

6 thoughts on “Praying the Bible

  1. How does _How to Pray…_ compare with _Earthen Vessels_? I bounced off the latter, although I wanted to get lots out of it and it came highly recommended.


  2. I was wondering if you could suggest a book or commentary that is strong on connecting OT typology to the NT and has good patristic comments?

  3. Elaine, How to Pray is much more elementary, simple, and step-by-step than Earthen Vessels.

    Fr. J, are you familiar with R.R. Reno’s Reno’s Sanctified Vision: An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible? If you’re really ambitious, I recommend The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. It’s a multivolume set, also available on searchable CD. It goes verse by verse through the entire Bible, OT and NT, giving the range of patristic interpretation on each verse. It’s a big investment, but I find it very useful.

  4. […] The Way of the Fathers has links to a couple inexpensive books on reading the Bible and praying from a Catholic perspective. Of the two, I was intrigued by The How-to Book of the Bible: Everything You Need to Know But No One Ever Taught You. […]

  5. Thank you. I have seen the commentary, but it is a bit expensive. I’ll take a look at Reno’s book. I really try to include the OT in my preaching and am always looking for resources. God bless, Fr. J

  6. Reno’s book is good for the general principles, illustrated by some concrete examples. I thank you and praise you for your use of OT typology in your preaching. I hope your parish appreciates what a rare gem it has in you.

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