Tips for Study

Some people who take my class want to dig digger than just working through the material in class.  Others don’t, and that’s fine.  The same I’m sure could be true for this blog.  I thought I’d put together some suggestions for those who might want to go deeper.

People often ask me how I remember “all of this.”  The fact is, I don’t.  There are very few passages of Scripture I can recite from memory.  There are very few I can point back to a specific chapter and verse.  Usually I can get to the specific book it’s in, but sometimes not.   What I do know is conceptually what verses align with a specific topic or question, I can paraphrase the passage, and when needed, google is my friend.   Just typing in Bible and a few key words in google will find the passage for you.  If you are even a minimal technology person and comfortable with a smart phone or computer, the need to commit extensive chapter/verse/text to memory is in the past.

So here’s a couple of options if you want to spend additional time and effort in study:

  1. Consider creating a topical index that just has the Scripture chapter/verses and a short description of what is referenced. For example, most Catholics are familiar with the passage where Jesus says to Peter, “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church.”  Your category would be the papacy, your reference would be Matthew 16:18 and all you need is a notation like “Peter, rock, church.”    You can do this on index cards, a spreadsheet, whatever works for you.    If you are really ambitious I think there are free flash card apps for your phone that you can use.  I’ve never tried that but often thought it would be a great way to spend time waiting in a doctor’s office etc.   By reviewing your notes periodically you will eventually remember the concept of the passage and that it’s in Matthew Chapter 16.
  2. Consider looking up each passage in the blog and underline it in your Bible. If your Bible is a precious family heirloom, you may want to purchase an inexpensive Bible, especially one with large margins for notes.   My recommendation would be either the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) or the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) which is the translation used for Mass.   You could also consider color coding based upon broad topic.   The broad topics could be the nature of God/Christ, Salvation, Purgatory, the Sacraments, Authority, Mary and the Saints.    I would also consider some sub categories of Baptism and Eucharist from those that may warrant their own color.   Spend some time with each post, look up the Scripture passages and underline them, and make a note as to how they were referenced.   This gets you practice in looking things up in the Bible, which most of us could use.   But as a bonus, when the blog is finished if you read the New Testament and specific Old Testament books that are referenced often, you get the benefit of seeing it all in context.   One word of warning about color coding – use colored pencils or if you use pens, they can’t “bleed” at all.  Most Bibles are printed with very thin paper to help make it a book that you can carry without needing a cart.   Markers, highlighters, and even some pens are almost guaranteed to bleed through the page.   Do a small test on a page in the back before you get started.