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How to Begin Reading the Bible as a Catholic

Sacred Heart’s Institute for Lay Ministry and the Catholic Biblical School of Michigan Partner to Offer a Free, Self-Paced and Online Course

by Mary Henige

“Listening and responding to God’s word in the Sacred Scriptures must be at the heart of our efforts to unleash the Gospel. One who is in love desires to know more and more about the beloved. Since all Scripture speaks of Christ, immersing ourselves in the word is a way to deepen our initial encounter and grow in our relationship with him.” 

—Archbishop Allen Vigneron, Unleash the Gospel, Marker 3.2: Scripture 

Since the Second Vatican Council, awareness of the importance of Sacred Scripture and its central role in our Catholic journey toward discipleship have grown. Sacred Heart Major Seminary and the Catholic Biblical School of Michigan (CBSM) are partnering to offer a free, self-paced, and completely online course to help Catholics learn how to read, study, and pray with Scripture.

Dr. Matthew Gerlach, Dean of the Institute for Lay Ministry at Sacred Heart, said, “While there is a renewed interest in Scripture, Catholics are often unsure about where to start since many were never taught how to read the Bible. In this course we create a welcoming and nurturing environment to facilitate an encounter with Christ by learning about what the Church teaches about the Bible.”

How to Begin Reading the Bible as a Catholic is the sixth free, self-paced, and online course offered by Sacred Heart. Dr. Gerlach said, “This course is an encouraging introduction to reading the Bible for Catholics of any age. It is a launch pad to begin journeying with God through Sacred Scripture.”

In 2019, as a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart began offering non-credit learning opportunities for Catholics who want to grow as missionary disciples without pursuing a formal certificate or degree. “This is our way to help unleash the Gospel in today’s world,” Dr. Gerlach said.

Catholic Biblical School of Michigan Director and Instructor Colleen Vermeulen said, “We’re delighted to partner with Sacred Heart. One of the course’s goals is to help Catholics through some of the roadblocks that prevent them from making the Bible part of their daily or weekly prayer life. We want everyone to have the experience of listening to and responding to God’s word in Sacred Scripture.”

Dr. Peter Williamson serves as the Catholic Biblical School of Michigan’s Board Chair and the Adam Cardinal Maida Chair of Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart. According to Dr. Williamson, reading the Bible is a means of communion with God. He adds, “The Bible is the best seller of all times. It’s God’s book because God is its principal author. Reading the Bible helps us to understand God’s plan for all humanity as it unfolds in history. Scripture gives us God’s point of view, which is the right perspective I want to have!” Dr. Williamson provides the course’s introduction and conclusion.

Catholic Biblical School of Michigan teacher Dr. Tamra Fromm is the course’s primary instructor. Prior to this role, she was a part-time theology instructor for 10 years at Sacred Heart. Both instructors, Dr. Williamson and Dr. Fromm, earned their Master of Arts degrees in theology from Sacred Heart before going on to earn their doctoral degrees.

The Catholic Biblical School of Michigan was founded in 2009 and is an independent, lay-led apostolate of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Participants study the entire Bible, led by seminary-level teachers, in one-year courses that meet weekly from September to May, in parishes across the Archdiocese of Detroit, and in the Lansing, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo dioceses, or in a fully-online format accessible from anywhere. More than 500 graduates have completed the entire 4-year cycle of courses.

Learn about other free online courses offered by Sacred Heart Major Seminary. For those who already have done initial study of the Bible, learn about for-credit academic courses to continue growing in knowledge and wisdom. 

by Mary Henige

Mary Henige

Mary T. Henige is in the Master of Theology student program at Sacred Heart.

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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.