Individual Bible Study
Catholics put great value in catechesis, or an education in the faith, of children, young people, and adults. This includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine and Bible study, plus an awareness of Church interpretation and Church history. Catholic schools begin the education process with religion and family life classes. But Christian catechesis continues with adult Bible study, programs of individual devotions and study, and the messages Catholics receive during Mass from their priests. Catholics believe that study increases their sense of spiritual reality and that the Scriptures can grow with the one who reads them.
The Church publishes an exhaustive catechesis that helps explain the mysteries of the faith for Catholics. American Catholics can view a full authorized catechesis online at the Web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (
The Church exhorts all the Christian faithful to learn “the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ” by frequent reading of the Bible. It is a wellspring to which Catholics return for support, comfort, guidance, and food for the soul. The Church believes strongly that access to the Sacred Scriptures ought to be freely available to the faithful, wherever they live.
Still, Catholicism is not a “religion of the book.” It is the religion of the Word of God, a living word that requires a vibrant tradition of interpretation by bishops and priests who instruct believers. At the same time, the Holy Spirit must be at work to open our minds with understanding.