I'm Glad You Asked!
60 Common Questions Catholics Have About the Bible
Questions are good. Teens of every age have many questions about the faith—not just what they believe and why they believe it, but about where to even start. Whether the questions are their own or are raised by their peers, Fr. Mark Pierce offers clear, clever, and trustworthy answers.
The questions and answers are organized around three common topics:
- Basic questions about reading the Bible.
- Questions about hard-to-understand Scripture passages.
- Questions your non-Catholic friends have about the Catholic faith.
- With so many kinds of Bibles, how do I choose one?
- Did Jesus have brothers and sisters?
- Where can I learn more about the Bible or about how to explain my Catholic faith?
- Where in the Bible do we find the Church's teachings on specific issues?
- Are we justified by faith or by works?
- Are Catholics "born again"?
- Why do Catholics pray to Mary?
- and many more!
Publisher: Saint Mary's Press
Copyright: Aug. 1, 2008
Size: 5.375 x 8.25
Length: 112 pages
Religion Teacher's Journal, September, 2009
YouthWorker Journal, January/February, 2009
The Catholic Times, September, 2008
While Father Pierce's book could be valuable for anybody with questions about the Bible, its accessible and engaging style should make it an indispensable weapon in an inquiring high school or college student's faith arsenal.
As the title suggests, the book contains 60 questions Catholics might have about sacred Scripture. The questions are divided into three sections: "FAQs About Using the Bible," "FAQs on Tough Texts in the Bible" and "FAQs on Challenges About the Catholic Faith."
The first, "FAQs About Using the Bible," is straightforward. It includes basic questions, such as which Bible to use (he recommends several, saying the choice "requires the same savvy you use when purchasing clothes") and where to start reading (he gives a list ranging from the Book of Exodus to the Gospel according to St. Mark, the shortest of the Gospel accounts).
The second section, "FAQs on Tough Texts on the Bible" could be especially helpful for students engaged in critical inquiry in their classroom studies. Father Pierce answers some tricky questions here, such as whether we have to literally believe the world was created in six days (he answers in the negative); why people took so long to realize Jesus was the Messiah ("Have you heard of the phrase 'hindsight is 20/20'?" he asks); and, sure to get young readers' attention, "What's with all the steamy talk in the Song of Songs?"? It's about our relationship with God—"pretty important stuff," he writes.
Throughout the book, Father Pierce's engaging, easy style is strengthened by references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the documents of Vatican II and the writings of Pope John Paul II.
Father Pierce writes in response to one question, "When it comes to the all-important 'What would God want?' and 'What would Jesus do?' questions, Catholics look to the living authority of the pope and bishops to lead us to that reflection, using every resource at hand, including, but not limited to the Bible."
Dei Verbum "is poured into the practice and life of the believing and praying Church." Two thousand years after Christ, we Catholics answer the tough FAQs the way we do because of their writings.
Thus, if Father Pierce's answers are to be sufficient for students confronting savvy secularists on one hand and intelligent fundamentalists on the other, they need to be grounded not only in magisterial documents but also in the wisdom of these earliest authorities. Why not mention, for example, that St. Augustine first suggested that the six days of creation could be understood allegorically?
A good accompaniment to Father Pierce's work, therefore, could be a basic introduction to these early writers, such as Mark Aquilina's The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers (Our Sunday Visitor, 1999). Together, Aquilina and Father Pierce provide two excellent, complementary resources for young, inquiring minds looking for a mature grasp of their Catholic faith.
Review by Franz Klein