April 2019

“I am an ecclesiastical historian by training and a Bible software guy by trade. Which, I think, puts me in the unique position to write about the history of the intersection of technology and Scripture study in a series of posts.”

glossbibleWritten by my friend Andrew Jones PhD:

“We might start with a description of the Bible we are all used to. It is a stand-alone, printed volume of 73 books (give or take a few), with a more or less fixed text translated from the earliest and best manuscripts. Because of its size, its mass production, and the fact that nearly all of us are literate, we tend to think of the Bible as a self-contained work that is readily available and can be read by anyone and anywhere.

The Bible was a very different thing in the Middle Ages. That may seem like a bold statement, but let me explain.

Medieval Christianity was profoundly sacramental, focusing on an encounter with Christ that was both spiritual and physical.

As the theologians of the period frequently remarked, Christ was the Word of God in both His “doing and teaching” (Acts 1:1). For the medieval Christian engagement with the spoken Word of God was not divorced from physical engagement with Christ’s Body, and so the Bible was, above all else, a liturgical book.

GC.SCR_.000769.a-CopyIn the liturgy, the priest read the Scripture, brought the text to life through preaching, and then confected the Eucharist on the altar, introducing Christ’s physical presence. The Word of God in its totality was made present and the encounter with it was total: intellectual, physical, and social.

In the liturgy the Christian was understood as united vertically with God and horizontally with his fellow man—all together, the Body of Christ.

This was the context in which medieval Christians studied the Scripture. Indeed, they often evoked Eucharistic imagery. They “chewed” the Word and “swallowed” it. This was an act of deep reading and meditation on the text that culminated in memorization.

But they did not understand memorization as do we. We tend to think of the memory as a hard drive, and memorization as an act of rote drilling that leads to data retention. To the people of the Middle Ages, however, the act of memorization was that of “digesting” the Scripture so that it became a part of who they were.

Like how the Eucharist became a part of the body, the Scripture became a part of the mind. Amazing feats of memory are documented, such as being able to recite the Bible backwards……..

For the whole article, visit HERE.

For a very funny video on Scripture study in the Middle Ages, watch this. Switching technology from scrolls to codex (books). I had tears in my eyes I laughed so hard.



Is Scripture Sufficient…

by Steve Ray on April 29, 2019

bible1Someone wrote a friend of mine asserting that 2 Timothy 3:16 proved that Scripture alone was all we needed. The famous passage reads, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

My friend responded:
No Catholic, of course, disagrees with these verses, or with any verses of Sacred Scripture. Of course Scripture is profitable! We Catholics see it as one of the three pillars of authority for the Christian (the other two being Sacred Tradition and the Magisterim — the teaching authority of the Church).

But Protestants unhappily, sometimes, reading into this text what they want to see, and more than it asserts.

soldier-cp-w-5141713Imagine you are a soldier and on your first day you are told: “The Army Teaching Manual is given by inspiration of the experts, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in the life of a soldier: That the soldier may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all a soldier needs to do.”

Would you understand that to mean that the soldier no longer needs ranked officers, a drill sergeant for training him, weaponry, ammunition, armour, communications equipment, etc.? Saying that X is profitable or necessary and that X helps one become thoroughly furnished for something doesn’t say at all that Y is therefore not profitable or necessary and that Y helps one become thoroughly furnished for something.

And how can Protestants square their reading of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 with Ephesians 4:11-12, which reads:

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

According to these verses, what is needed for the perfecting of the saints are the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers! How could this possibly be if all we need is the “Bible alone”?

Furthermore we are informed by James … But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.. Would you suggest that patience is sufficient! (1:4).

p341819-Vatican_City-St._Peters_BasilicaGame, set, match …. I think. The Bible was never meant to stand alone. It was given by God, through the pens of men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and it took hundreds of years before the Church discerned and determined which books belonged in the New Testament.

And it was not Scripture alone which was the principle of the early Christians as we can see from the Bible itself, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:15).

Notice also 2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first,no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of Truth.

Best wishes,
Robert from Wales

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How Many Churches Did Jesus Intend?

by Steve Ray on April 28, 2019

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father… so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me” (John 17:20-21, NLT Bible)

On the night before He died, Jesus earnestly prayed to His Father to keep all His future believers one and united. It is a must if the whole world is to believe in Him.

feature longdecker_Perugino_Christ_handing_keyes_to_st_peterThat is why Jesus established only one church in 30 AD with Peter as first Pope. Jesus said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16-18-19)

Division causes confusion and weakness as proven by Paul to his advantage in the First Reading. He successfully sowed confusion between the Pharisee and Sadducee sects of Judaism over their division on the theology of life after death, thus he evaded their joint wrath for teaching about Jesus Christ.

With this in mind, in 50 AD (long before the Church complied the New Testament in 400 AD), Paul emphasized to his converts the importance of the continuity of tradition to keep the Church united. “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thessalonians. 2:15)

Even as the last Gospel (the Gospel of John) was being written between 90-110 AD, the Church was already called Catholic, meaning universal or worldwide. In 107 AD, Bishop Ignatius of Antioch wrote to the Christians in Smyrna (modern-day Izmir, Turkey), “Wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_(term)

It is very poignant that it was in Antioch where Ignatius was Bishop, where the believers of Christ was first called Christians (Acts 11:26).

Elsewhere, we find these written confirmations in secular encyclopedias:

“St. Peter, of Bethsaida in Galilee, From Christ he received the name of Cepha, an Aramaic name which means rock .Prince of the Apostles, wCrowd-in-Saint-Peters-Square-for-John-Paul-II-Beatificationas the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He lived first in Antioch and then in Rome for 25 years. In 64 or 67 AD, he was martyred. St. Linus became the second pope.” (National Almanac, ©1996)

“ROMAN CATHOLICISM The largest of the Christian denominations is the Roman Catholic church. As an institution it has existed since the 1st century AD… the Roman church owes its existence to the life of Jesus Christ in the 1st century AD” (Comptons Encyclopedia, ©1995)

“Roman Catholic authority rests upon a mandate that is traced to the action of Jesus Christ himself, when he invested Peter and, through Peter, his successors with the power of the keys in the church. Christ is the invisible head of his church, and by his authority the pope is the visible head.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, ©1999)

“Roman Catholicism Christian church characterized by its uniform, highly developed doctrinal and organizational structure that traces its history to the Apostles of Jesus Christ in the 1st century AD.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, ©1999)

We Catholics are proud that our Church is the true one – AND RIGHTLY SO! And we love to hear the proof of it. But do we show the same love for her teachings? If she is the right one, do we stand with her against contraception, abortion, divorce and same-sex ‘marriage’? Do we follow her advice in choosing the morality of leaders who will run our country and help build the Kingdom of Jesus Christ?

Pentecost was when the Holy Spirit descended from the Father and the Son upon Mary and the Apostles, thus giving life to the Church. As our birthday gift to our Mother Church, let us give her and her Bridegroom Jesus Christ the gift of our obedience and unity.

From Word Today in the Philippines https://www.facebook.com/CatholicMassReflections


Lovely Jewish Music from Biblical Times

April 27, 2019

I LOVE the sound of the shofar (ram’s horn) used in Jewish life and worship. This is a beautiful Jewish prayer and the shofar is in the first 1.5 minutes of the video. The “shofar” trumpet or ram’s horn is mentioned over 130 times in the Bible. Moving Jewish prayer worth listening too – putting […]

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World Population and Muslim Demographics – A Scary Projection

April 26, 2019

This 5 1/2 minute video describes the rise in Muslim population worldwide. With graphs and maps, it makes the case that Muslims are populating the planet, leaving other demographics behind.

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Check Our Popular Family Christmas Holy Land Pilgrimage

April 26, 2019

Our Family Christmas Holy Land Pilgrimage has become very popular!  You are home for Christmas day and in Jerusalem during Christmas break! It is amazing to watch the kids interact over these eight days and the impact on their spirituality is tremendous. Check out our trip this year! Convenient to have the dates over Christmas […]

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How the Ancient Hebrews Viewed the Universe

April 25, 2019

This is part of Verbum Catholic Bible Software. I encourage every Catholic to get this Catholic and Bible Study software. Visit http://www.verbum.com/steveray. Use Promo Code STEVERAY10 for a 10% discount.

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Demon of a Riddle

April 24, 2019

From where God placed me I did fall, I knew the Christ and knew of Paul. They showed great power, this is true, But I would never flee from you. For though your number was complete, I was not one you could defeat. When you told me to go my way I thought I’d have […]

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Bible Study: Differences between Catholics and Protestants

April 23, 2019

Protestant “Bible Christians” (a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises: 1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone; 2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their […]

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Pilgrimages Compared to Car Dealerships

April 22, 2019

There are two big issues people struggle with before going to Israel: safety and price. We will deal with safety later, but let’s deal first with price. You’ll notice that my prices are typically $500 – $1000 more than other pilgrimages. If you compare prices on the website you’ll find this to be true. I […]

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Wow! Sistine Chapel Explained; Now You See Why We Only Use Liz as our Guide in Rome!

April 21, 2019

We have a special Advent Pilgrimage to Italy in early December this year AND LIZ IS OUR GUIDE! Take a look at this video to see Liz’s amazing knowledge, passion for the Catholic Faith and eloquence. Enjoy this amazing video. To join our upcoming pilgrimages, visit our page here. We will spend two nights in […]

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Famed Australian Atheist, Bill Hayden, is Baptized in the Catholic Church at 85

April 20, 2019

Originally published a few months ago, but very current and good news! Some amazing news came out of Australia today with a famous atheist politician receiving baptism. Bill Hayden had been the leader of a major Australian political party, then was the Governor General of Australia for 7 years. (The Governor General is the one who signs […]

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Steve Ray – 1 Hour Audio Tour of the Passion

April 19, 2019

I was just on the Terry Barber & Jesse Romero Show and I gave them and their listeners a one-hour Virtual Tour of Jesus’ Passion from the Upper Room to the Burial Tomb. You can listen here.

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“The Pain of the Crucifixion” – Free Talk by Steve Ray

April 19, 2019

Get my free talk on MP3 below. Also visit this site to see the magnificent artwork of James Tissot detailing the Passion of our Lord from Gethsemane to the Tomb. The PROMO CODE to download the free MP3 file is CRUCIFIXION.    

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Entering the Empty Tomb; A Contrast – Now and Back Then

April 19, 2019

It looks different today, but the place is the same. It is darker now, covered with a dome that blocks the sun. There is no grass, no hillside, no trees waving their leaves nearby. Instead there are the hushed voices of hundreds of people, the Muslim call to prayer echoing in the distance and the […]

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Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live Wednesday – Jerusalem During the Passion?

April 18, 2019

Steve Ray describes the events in Jerusalem surrounding Christ’s Passion. People asked 1) How long was Jesus on the Cross? 2)  How long was Jesus in the Tomb? and 3) Was Jesus clothed or naked during the crucifixion? I have written about all three of those topics HERE. Questions Covered: What was Jerusalem like during […]

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