Bible in a Year
As 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, much discussion has taken place around the importance of Scripture in the Faith. For years, many have associated Protestants primarily with the Bible and Catholics with the Pope, but for Dr. Tim Gray the Word of God has never been more vital for Catholics. “I think 500 years later, the Church is saying to Catholics, ‘every faithful Catholic needs to read, daily, the Word of God,’” Dr. Gray says. The Augustine Institute’s latest publishing venture, Bible in a Year, is aimed to help Catholics do just that.
Beginning in Genesis and continuing all the way to Revelation, Bible in a Year guides readers through all seventy-three books of the Bible, including the deuterocanonical books. Many Catholics and Christians at large have it on their bucket list—reading the Bible in its entirety—but become overwhelmed. Bible in a Year presents Sacred Scripture in a non-intimidating way and spread over the course of 365 days. Each daily entry has a reading from the Old Testament, Wisdom Literature, and the New Testament, and a reflection. “This gives you a planned way of reading it, with a daily reflection, so that you’re able to receive that Word that you read and then have help to really pray and meditate with it,” says Dr. Gray.
The goal of Bible in a Year is to get Catholics not only to read the Word of God daily but to pray with the Word of God daily. Written by professors at the Augustine Institute, each of the reflections unites the Word of God with prayer to allow readers to enter more deeply and meaningfully into Scripture. “We really sought out biblical scholars, those with doctorates in Sacred Scripture, to give us the best commentaries possible for the readers,” says Jeff Cole, director of publishing at the Augustine Institute. The reflections are not just “extras,” but rather are integral in leading readers to a prayerful, spiritual encounter with God.
According to Dr. Gray, there’s nothing that can renew the Church more effectively than getting Catholics to pray the Scripture daily. Through their reflections, Dr. Gray and fellow biblical scholars are training people for what to watch for in Scripture: patterns, key words, and key themes. “We’re trying to give little nudges to help you focus in and see things you may not have seen in your first reading.”
Combining Scripture with reflection, these commentaries help facilitate an encounter with God, and Bible in a Year is all about daily encounter. Looking toward scriptural examples, Dr. Gray recommends making that daily encounter a morning one. “So much of the Bible talks about Jesus rising before dawn to pray to his Father in communion with him. Well here’s the opportunity for us, first thing in the day, to commune with God and put God first.” But whether Bible in a Year is part of a reader’s morning routine or evening routine, what is most important is that it is part of a daily routine. “Have a set time and a set place, and you’ll be able to keep pace,” advises Dr. Gray.
Just as readers can open up Bible in a Year for a spiritual encounter at any time of day, they can begin Bible in a Year at any time, not just at the beginning of the new year on January 1.
Bible in a Year will be available in two versions, an affordable paperback edition ($29.95) and a keepsake flex leather edition ($49.95). The flex leather version will have a bonded leather cover with gold stamping and gold gilding on three sides of the ends of pages, complete with headbands, foot bands, and a yellow bookmark ribbon. “It a beautiful book that you can keep for many years to come,” says Jeff Cole. “Bible in a Year could really be a yearly practice that people do for the rest of their lives.”
The cover of the paperback edition features a majestic image of the mountains of Colorado, a nod to the home of the Augustine Institute and the New Evangelization. But whether the book’s cover has a mountain image or is of classic leather, Bible in a Year is meant as an invitation to a mountaintop encounter with God. Mountains run throughout salvation history—from Moses to Jesus—as a place of encounter. With Bible in a Year, Dr. Gray explains, “you can hear the Word that came from Mount Sinai. You can hear the Word that came from Mount Tabor. . . . It’s a mountaintop experience if you can open up the Word of God. It’s majestic. It’s beautiful. It’s breathtaking.”