Have you ever got lost in the story, while reading the Bible? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Many of us Christians, both Catholics and non-Catholics, have somewhat experienced losing track and getting confused as we read the story of Sacred Scripture. Oftentimes, we get started reading Genesis in a comfortable pace going through the creation story, to Noah, then to Abraham and to Moses until we arrive to the first chapters of Leviticus then suddenly we get confused and bored as the story turn into a series of laws, customs and prohibitions. It is then important to have a pattern to look upon, one that will keep us on track when we read the books that we are not so familiar with. We don’t have to be biblical scholars and experts in order to understand the Bible cover to cover.
Things to remember as you read the Sacred Scriptures
1. The Bible is about God’s love for us. It is about history, “HIS Story”, of how much He wants us to be with Him and experience His immense love for us.
2. The Bible tells us how God repeatedly made covenants with us since the beginning. This is called “Covenant Theology”. Dr. Scott Hahn, an ex-Protestant converted to Catholicism, who specializes in this theology, said that the covenant is the key to understanding the story of the Bible.
3. A covenant is not like a contract. A contract is an agreement of persons or parties in a legalistic way. While a covenant is an agreement that form a relationship of the persons or parties involved, specifically like a family. As we will know, God made several covenants with us. Hence, God repeatedly made relationships with us.
4. The fulfillment of the covenant is Jesus Christ. He made a covenant with us inviting us to share His relationship with the Father. We cannot understand the very point of the Bible if we do not know who Jesus Christ is. It is in Jesus that this relationship is manifested fully.
THE KEY: GOD’S COVENANT
The Bible is about how God’s plan to make covenants with us throughout history. As we go through the Bible, we can use this list of covenants as a road-map.
1. God made a covenant with Adam and Eve – Marriage
2. He made a covenant with Noah – Family
3. He made a covenant with Abraham – Tribe
4. He made a covenant with Moses – Nation
5. He made a covenant with David – Kingdom
6. Finally, He made a covenant with us through His only Son Jesus Christ – Universal
Notice that God’s covenant with us is getting bigger in scope as He intends to be in a relationship with all of His beloved children.
When the word “Catholic” makes sense
Knowing all of these, we can now see and appreciate how God really wants to make a covenant with all of us. That’s why we call our belief as “religion”, which comes from the Latin word “religio” which means to bind firmly or to be connected. That is why religion is more than an institution. It is a relationship with God. Religion is meant to bring us closer to God by making relationship with Him. We cannot separate religion from relationship. The Bible tells us that God wants to have a relationship with us, not just on a personal level but also on a universal level. That is why it makes more sense because the Catholic word comes from the Greek word “kata-holos” which means “universal” or “according to the whole”. This is the point of the Bible. This is the story of God’s love for us. God continues to invite His children to have a “Catholic” relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. As Pope Francis said, “The Church is a love story, not an institution.”