Adults’ Scripture study builds faith and community
The Bible is the foundation of the Catholic faith, but in the past many have gone their whole lives without learning more Scripture than what they hear each week at Mass.
That is changing as parishes offer more opportunities for Bible study, ranging from small group sessions in private homes to large weekly classes that can attract hundreds of people, according to a recent article by Catholic News Service.
Organizers and students say the opportunities have opened new windows into the intricacies of their faith.
St. Andrew Church in Myrtle Beach has offered weekly Bible study since 2005, said June Tarangelo, director of Christian formation and adult programs.
“Bible study is the study of God’s word to us,” Tarangelo said. “He speaks to us and reveals himself to us. I’ve always said when I go to heaven, if He asks ‘Did you read my book?’ I want to be able to say yes.”
Tarangelo said the students are learning more about the Mass and Scripture’s links to the catechism.
The classes are also popular with converts, like Robert Zackowski, a Myrtle Beach resident who started taking Bible study a few months ago.
“It’s really been wonderful, it’s incredibly informative and they open up the text wonderfully, with a lot of historical context and ways to tie in the readings at Mass with Catholic tradition,” Zackowski said.
The Cathedral Young Adults, a group for ages 18-35, holds a weekly Scripture session at Pauline Books and Media on King Street. Richard White, a group leader, said classes average 15 to 25 people.
He said one of the biggest myths about the Catholic Church — by those who don’t know it — is that church teaching isn’t biblically based.
Not true, he said.
“One thing study has helped me gain perspective on is that the teachings are based in Scripture. What makes Catholic Bible studies so intriguing is that we also have church tradition and history to bring to it as well,” White added.
In Columbia, Deacon Greg Weigold offers weekly classes at the St. Francis Catholic Shop, a bookstore he runs with his wife.
“People seem to be more hungry to learn about their faith these days,” he said. “Many who come to our classes haven’t been to any classes since they were confirmed in junior high, and they want to learn more.”
Myrtle Beach resident Carol Riley said Bible study enables her to be a more active participant in Mass.
“The study makes the liturgy so much more relevant each week, because when you hear the readings, you realize they’re not just random texts,” Riley said. “You realize that as Jesus taught, he never taught anything out of context. He was bringing us a new covenant firmly based in what happened in the Old Testament.”