The books of the Bible were not given to provide professional "scholars" with source material for dissertations and criticism. God's Word was given to believers to serve as a "lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path" (Psalm 118) our dark, dangerous and discouraging journey through this world. God says in Deuteronomy 6, "these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: and thou shalt tell them to thy children, and thou shalt meditate upon them sitting in thy house, and walking on thy journey, sleeping and rising." St. Paul says, "All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.", and again, "what things soever were written, were written for our learning: that through patience and the comfort of the scriptures, we might have hope." (Rom. 15) The Scriptures, we see, are given to be a source of comfort and hope for all believers.
In CLAA, we work to provide families with help making good use of the Scriptures. I recommend our Sacred Scripture Program, which I prepare for use in my own home. After a hiatus caused by other responsibilities, I am again publishing daily discussion/meditation questions to help families or individual students enjoy the daily reading of Sacred Scripture.
In our family, we have found that Bible-based family devotion is the happiest source of family unity and culture. Twice a day, we gather for "Cocoa and Devo", where my wife serves our children a cup of cocoa and we take some time for family devotion. We sing a hymn together, read the scheduled Scripture reading, discuss the reading and how it applies to our lives, then pray together for our personal needs or for requests shared with us by others, and finish with another hymn. The morning devotion meeting serves as a family meeting before we head out for work, and the evening devotion meeting serves as a wrap up for our day and preparation for the evening hours at home.
Resources to Help
1. Bibles are readily available, so that's not an issue. We prefer the Douay Rheims Bible (or King James) because, while the New American Bible is read in Catholic churches, it is not stable enough for memorization and has already been through several editings. The real benefit of private study is gained from knowing a personal Bible well, having many verses/passages memorized and using them throughout one's life. The frequent changes made to modern Bible versions may make "scholars" happy, but they are distractions for families seeking to gain a useful knowledge of the Bible.
2. We publish and follow the Scripture Reading Schedule that was originally put together by Fr. Al Lauer and used with permission from Presentation Ministries, whose resources we recommend to families.
3. Hymnals are many, but my favorite is an Anglican hymnal titled, "Hymns Ancient and Modern", published by William Henry Monk in 1861. I've never seen a "Catholic" hymnal that can compare.
4. The types of Discussion Questions that I ask my own wife and children are available in the published discussion questions for families/students interested in using them.
Learning the Bible
Most importantly, however, is a life-long commitment to reading the Scriptures regularly, meditating on them and putting into practice whatever is learned from the readings. We see in the Church Fathers and Saints a deep knowledge of the Scriptures and there's only one way to have that. I invite you to join us in the CLAA's Sacred Scripture program--it's free!
God bless your families,
William Michael, Headmaster
Classical Liberal Arts Academy