What Does The Word Believe Mean?

Lately, the daily Gospel readings have been from the Gospel of John and have talked about the Eucharist and believing in Jesus. But what IS believing? What exactly does that mean? I recently discovered this excellent explanation from the Introduction to John’s Gospel from the Navarre Bible Commentary:

“Believing means knowing revealed truth or, better, recognizing the authority of God revealing truth in fact, in this Gospel we often find the verbs “to believe” and “to know” side-by-side in the one phrase; sometimes they seem to be interchangeable. The verb “to know” has the meaning not just of knowing intellectually, of grasping the truth; it takes on an Old Testament meaning, indicating unreserved adhesion to the truth that is Jesus Christ. Therefore, faith includes the act of trusting commitment as well as the act of knowing. Recognizing supernatural truth through the testimony given us, we adhere to the truth and, by accepting it with our whole heart we obtain deep knowledge of God’s truth.”

Some other helpful quotes in this section:

“Growth in faith goes hand in hand with growth in knowledge of Jesus Christ.” 

“Faith is at one and the same time a free gift of God and a free action on man’s part: man reaches genuine freedom to believe when God gives him the grace which enables him to adhere to revealed truths.”

“No one can believe in him unless it is granted him by the father.”

Painting: “Maria, sister of Lazarus, meets Jesus who is going to their house” – Nikolai Ge, 1864. Courtesy: WikiArt

Christmas Gift Idea #11

The Catholic Bible Concordance for the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSV-CE)
Another great gift idea is a companion to the Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) Bible, the translation that most serious Catholic bible scholars use.  The Catholic Bible Concordance would be an excellent reference for Bible study.  A concordance is a verbal  index to the bible.  If you want to look up a specific word in the Bible to find passages, or see where that word occurs throughout, this is the reference for you.  It really makes things easier.  This is the first concordance for the RSV-CE that I know of, and I would love to have one myself.  So, pick one up for your budding bible scholar this Christmas.

Christmas Gift Idea #9

The Navarre Bible - New Testament Expanded Edition
How about getting your loved one a study bible for Christmas?  Here are some great choices:  First the Navarre Bible New Testament, Expanded Edition.  This is an extensive bible commentary using the fantastic, and highly accurate, Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition (RSV-CE).  It is excellent.  I have many volumes of the Navarre bible and I find them invaluable.  They are highly readable and give excellent trustworthy commentary using quotes from the Church Fathers, John Paul II, great saints and many more.  This volume is the whole New Testament.  It is worth every penny.
Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament RSV 2nd Edition
Here is another choice.  The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible – New Testament, also RSV-CE but the 2nd Catholic Edition which updates some language and has different fonts and typesettings.  This is from world renowned, and very popular, Catholic bible scholar Scott Hahn & Curtis Mitch.  This is just an excellent study bible and I would love to have one myself (hint, hint.)
Our next choice is hot off the presses.  The Catholic Scripture Study Bible.  If you know anything about the Catholic Scripture Study program, you know it is excellent and this Bible aims at helping you really study the faith.  It’s got “extensive study materials and reference guides, Holy Land maps, extensive biblical apologetics and topical indexes, all beautifully bound in our Classic Black Bonded Leather with multiple ribbon markers, gold edges and beautiful foil stamped cover.”  There you have it.  This bible is complete, with Old and New Testaments and also uses the RSV-CE translation.  You can even have someone’s name embossed on it to make it more personal and precious.
The New Catholic Answer Bible - Librosario
Finally, we have the Catholic Answer Bible – Librosario version.  This is a complete bible (Old and New Testaments) with great, easy to understand color inserts throughout that explain the Catholic faith.  It uses the ever popular New American Version translation and is really fantastic.  This is the Bible we gave our son for his Confirmation.  It is a quality Bible, bound in leather (which is the Librosario part.)  You can buy this Bible in paperback, but the leather is so luscious, and even has an embossed rosary on the back that you can use for prayer.  This is one you will want to use for years of come.  I really love it and sneak it off the shelf to use myself.

The Thrill of Discovery

Gospel of Mark, The (Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture)
Do you ever get a thrill when you discover a really cool new thing? What does it for you? New car? An iPod? For me it’s books or a website with stuff I have not seen before. Yeah, I know it’s pretty pathetic, but I’m a bookworm by heart and always have been. Yep, I was the teenager that hung out at the library. I was the one who checked out dozens of romance novels paperbacks at a time, and returned in two weeks for more.

At one point, I decided that I would read 1000 books in ten years. I did it in three. I kept a log with the book’s name, author, and a rating from one to four stars. It was handy since I would forget if I read a book and would have to go back and look in my records before I checked it out. See, I told you I was pathetic.

I’m at the point in my life that I have to be a little choosy because I don’t have a lot of time. I rarely read fiction. I really have not read much fiction for years. I just don’t like it anymore. I want to learn things, and truth is much stranger than fiction anyway. Last week, I finally got a hold of the latest Malcolm Gladwell book, What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures. It is always a thrill to read the latest Malcolm Gladwell book and I might just go back and read them again. A few days ago I finished Beating Back the Devilabout the disease detectives at the CDC.

Today’s thrill was brought on by a post at Patrick Madrid’s site: Some Advice for Catholics Who Want to Study Scripture More Deeply. Mr. Madrid posted an audio clip from his radio show and gave the caller some great advice for resources he could use to learn more about scripture. Most of these resources I have known about but the last one… yay, something new! It is the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series. And I’m looking forward to seeing it. I immediately ordered one of the volumes from interlibrary loan and I will let you know what I find. In the meantime it looks great, here is a sample page for your viewing pleasure.