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ScriptureNourished by the Word
By Margaret Nutting Ralph
Loyola PressCopyright © 2001 Margaret Nutting Ralph
All right reserved.
About the Series
Catholic Basics: A Pastoral Ministry Series offers an in-depth yet accessible understanding of the fundamentals of the Catholic faith for adults, both those preparing for lay ministry and those interested in the topics for their own personal growth. The series helps readers explore the Catholic tradition and apply what they have learned to their lives and ministry situations. Each title offers a reliable introduction to a specific topic and provides a foundational understanding of the concepts.
Each book in the series presents a Catholic understanding of its topic as found in Scripture and the teachings of the Church. Each of the authors has paid special attention to the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, so that further learning can be guided by these core resources.
Chapters conclude with study questions that may be used for small group review or for individual reflection. Additionally, suggestions for further reading offer dependable guides for extra study.
The initiative of the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership led to the development of an earlier version of this series. The indispensable contribution of the series editor, Dr. Thomas Walters, helped ensure that the concepts and ideas presented here are easily accessible to a wide audience.
Certification Standards: National Resources for Church Ministry
Each book in this theology series relates to standards for theological competency identified in the resources listed below. Three national church ministry organizations provide standards for certification programs that serve their respective ministries. The standards were developed in collaboration with the United States Catholic Conference Commission on Certification and Accreditation. The fourth resource is the latest document, and it was developed to identify common goals of the three sets of standards.
Competency Based Certification Standards for Pastoral Ministers, Pastoral Associates and Parish Life Coordinators. Chicago: National Association for Lay Ministry, Inc. (NALM), 1994.
These standards address three roles found in pastoral ministry settings in the United States. The standards were the earliest to receive approval from the United States Catholic Conference Commission on Certification and Accreditation. Copies of the standards are available from the National Association for Lay Ministry, 5420 S. Cornell, Chicago, IL 60615-5604.
National Certification Standards for Professional Parish Directors of Religious Education. Washington, DC: National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, 1998.
The National Conference for Catechetical Leadership (NCCL) developed standards to foster appropriate initial education and formation, as well as continuing personal and professional development, of those who serve as Directors of Religious Education
(DREs). The standards address various areas of knowledge and the abilities needed in the personal, theological, and professional aspects of the ministry. Also included is a code of ethics for professional catechetical leaders. Available from the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, 3021 Fourth Street NE, Washington, DC 20017-1102.
NFCYM Competency-Based Standards for the Coordinator of Youth Ministry. Washington, DC: National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, 1996.
This document lays out the wide range of knowledge and skills that support ministry with young people as well as the successful leadership and organization of youth ministry wherever it may be situated. The standards are available from the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, 415 Michigan Avenue NE, Suite 40, Washington, DC 20017-1518.
Merkt, Joseph T., ed. Common Formation Goals for Ministry. A joint publication of NALM, NFCYM, and NCCL, 2000.
Rev. Joseph Merkt compared the documentation of standards cited by three national organizations serving pastoral, youth, and catechetical ministries. The resulting statement of common goals identifies common ground for those who prepare persons for ministry as well as for the many people who wear multiple hats. Copies are available from NALM, NCCL, or NFCYM.
You are probably familiar with a book titled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. That title would be far from the truth had the book in question been about Scripture. A book about Scripture might better be titled Nearly Everything I Need to Know I Learned as an Adult.
True, children can understand the plots of Bible stories, but in Bible stories the revelation is nearly always deeper than the plot. It is also true that children are capable of a deep spiritual-ity and of understanding the core message of Scripture: God loves and saves. Nevertheless, to understand the concerns of biblical authors, to probe with them the mysteries of life and God’s interaction with God’s people, one must be an adult.
The fact that the Bible can be truly understood only by adults places a particular responsibility on us as adult Catholics. As you know, until the Second Vatican Council, Catholics were not encouraged to read the Bible. Nor was there an emphasis on adult religious education. As a result, most adult Roman Catholics do not know how to read the Bible, nor do they know what the Catholic Church teaches about how to understand the revelation that Scripture contains.
This book is written to help you help the Church overcome this problem, in relation both to yourself and to others. The book contains the basic and preliminary information that you and your fellow adult Catholics need to know to correctly understand Scripture. We all know from history, and perhaps from our personal experience, that some people use the Bible to instill hate and fear rather than love and peace. A person who misunderstands the Bible can be misguided as well as dangerous. It is important that we, as adults, understand the mistakes in thinking that result in these harmful interpretations so that we can name them for others. This book will help you do that.
There is no single volume on the face of the earth that contains more truth, wisdom, beauty, inspiration, and personal guidance than Scripture. There is no greater privilege we have than to make the revelation in Scripture available to others. But first, we have to understand it ourselves. This book has been written to help you understand, love, live by, and teach Scripture. It will help you understand:
• the meaning of inspiration, historical development, and literary criticism;
• the primary themes and basic concepts in Scripture, including covenant, kingdom, creation, salvation, and conversion;
• the scriptural foundations for Catholic moral teaching, conscience formation, and decision making;
• the use of Scripture in theological reflection;
• God’s revelation in Creation, the person of Jesus, and lived experience;
• Christology, especially Jesus’ life, mission, death, and Resurrection
Excerpted from Scripture by Margaret Nutting Ralph Copyright © 2001 by Margaret Nutting Ralph. Excerpted by permission.
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