Those who are passionate and serious about writing - unfortunately there just isn't enough of them in this world - will know the meaning of this topic well. After reading and studying the Bible for many years, I'm totally convinced that there is no writer more passionate and serious than God the Divine Writer. When people don't read what the Divine Writer wrote - the Bible - He's understandably sad.
Yes, I've heard it too many times: the Bible is hard to read; it's boring; I don't see its relevance to what I do in my life; it's very unscientific; it's factually self-contradictory in many areas; it's full of violence....Comments such as these usually come from people who don't read the Bible. What about those who do? This is what they say:
"An inexhaustible treasury of heavenly doctrine" - St. Chrysostom in Gen. Hom. xx, 2.
"Fertile pastures and beautiful gardens in which the flock of the Lord is marvelously refreshed and delighted" - St. Augustine, serm. xxvi, 24.
"To live amidst these things, to meditate these things, to know nothing else, to seek nothing else, does it not seem to you already here below a foretaste of the heavenly kingdom?" - St. Jerome, Ep. 53, 10.
"If there's one thing that's capable of changing my life completely, turning me from a rebel against the Church to an apologist, from a life view that's completely self-centred to one that sees life as not worth living unless it's lived as a complete gift of self, it's the Bible!" - Yours truly.
Those who are critical of the Bible have to wonder why the saints are all in one accord in commending it.
I must hasten to point out: I put my comment up there together with the saints' not because I consider myself a saint, but because I'm truly one of those wretched souls who have benefited tremendously from the Bible. But whether a wretch or a saint, one can feel the full force of the Bible only if the Holy Spirit has touched his heart. Without Him, all attempts to read and understand the Bible will be futile.
But what should I do to make sure I have the Holy Spirit's guidance in reading the Bible? you ask. Find the right "tour guide"!
Just like the excursions mentioned in my two "Cruise Trip" posts, it makes a world of difference if an experienced person is there to lead and guide you when you journey through the Bible. It's even better if your guide is an authentic source of credibility, authority, and holiness. Over the years, some excellent "tour guides" I've used include: the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Conciliary documents (Vatican II, etc.), papal writings and pronouncements, and Church Fathers' writings. What all of these documents have in common is that they contain numerous scriptural teachings and insights that really enable the reader to understand the richness and vibrancy of the Bible. The understanding in turn will bring peace and happiness that make the scriptural books appear like "fertile pastures and beautiful gardens".
For beginners, your best "tour guide" is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. What is important is that you have your Bible handy as you read the Catechism. When the Catechism explains a certain doctrine or teaching, it often makes reference to some scriptural passages. Look those up to make sure you understand why the scriptural passages referred to support what the Catechism teaches. This is a rather arduous process; it takes a lot of going back and forth between the Catechism and the Bible. But if you adhere to this approach diligently, I can guarantee that before you are mid-way through the Catechism, you will have become quite a Bible expert! The greatest advantage of this method is that your understanding of the Bible will be rooted deep in the Holy Tradition because the catechetical teachings of the Catechism reflect faithfully the Catholic faith handed down by the Apostles and the Church Fathers over 2,000 years of the Church history.