By Junep Ocampo, BCBP Calamba West
How do you make your everyday Bible reading more meaningful and responsive? Are there techniques that can be used by ordinary BCBP members to improve their intake of the Word of God?
These questions were answered in a weekend Scripture Discovery Workshop for BCBP STR1 chapters in Tagaytay August 25-27. Nancy Catan of BCBP Manila, author of many BCBP books and editor of BCBP’s magazine and website, guided 30 BCBP members from Southern Luzon in their discovery of God’s word and how to make the Bible more relevant and meaningful to their lives.
Through a mixture of lecture and group activities such as role playing, she helped the participants understand the various ways of hearing, reading and studying the Scriptures, how to meditate on scriptural passages, and how to apply them in their daily lives. She also provided guide questions designed to help BCBP members understand Bible verses better. She supplemented the BCBP’s Seven Steps of studying God’s word by sharing inputs on how to study a narative, how to personalize the verses, how to visualize, and finally, how to share their insights with others and apply these in their lives.
According to Sis. Nancy, one can only share something that he or she has experienced firsthand. “It’s all about relationships — our relationship with God, our relationship with ourselves, and our relationship with others. These are the things we discover in the Bible as we study it and meditate on it. And it is in these areas that the Word of God can truly affect us,” she said.
Sis. Nancy encouraged the participants to further “discover” the Bible and eventually hold mini Scripture Discovery Workshops in their respective chapters. “To discover means to find it out for yourself,” she said. “What I tell you, you will eventually forget. But what you discover for yourself, you will eventually remember.”
She noted that one of the most important spiritual disciplines in the BCBP formation process is the intake of God’s Word. And although this is done through various liturgical and community celebrations, such is not enough. “We must not only hear the Word, we must read it, study it, memorize key verses that impact on us, meditate and reflect on the truths and spiritual realities in Scripture, and apply God’s Word in our everyday lives,” she said.
Sis. Nancy pointed out that it is in the Bible where God tells us about Himself, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. “The Bible unfolds the Law of God and teaches us the blessings of obedience and the curses of falling away from God. As we delve into its pages, we learn the ways and the will of the Lord, how he wants us to live in a way that is pleasing to him as well as being the best and most fulfilling for ourselves,” she explained.
“The Bible, the Word of God, is a channel of God’s transforming grace and brings us into closer communion with him. And it is through the Bible that we become a channel of God’s transforming grace to others. As God speaks to us in his Word, we grow in right relationships with him, the Church, our family, our community, with God’s created world, and with ourselves. We grow into fullness of life in Christ,” she added.
Some course evaluations submitted by the participants included these comments: “Lively facilitation, making scripture discovery exciting and meaningful.” “This workshop developed my enthusiasm for Scripture.” “The group discussions and sharings promoted fun, fellowship and camaraderie.” “Helped me exercise critical thinking and asking questions for clearer understanding.” “Very good and very important for individual and community growth!” “I discovered that Scripture reading is enjoyable.” “Continue this workshop, please!”