Reading the Bible
First of all, we'll shortly examine the stages, which our biblical "meetings" will be divided into.
First stage includes general introduction to the Holy Scriptures, where we will try to answer a number of questions:
What the Bible is?
What parts does it consist of?
When and by whom it had been written?
What relation is there between the Bible, the Church and the Tradition?
What God's revelation is?
What does it mean that a book is canonical? What is the difference between protocanonical and deutero-canonical books? (Someone, probably, may already know that depending on Christian denomination (Protestantism, Orthodoxy), some books of the Holy Scripture in different editions are either thrown out, or, on the contrary, added to what the Catholic Church considers to be canonical).
We'll define what so called apocrypha and pseudo-epigraphs are.
Who is allowed to interpret the Bible and how?
Nowadays, under obvious influence of the «New Age» movement, apocrypha and pseudo-epigraphs became well-known in the whole world. For example, rather popular-scandalous modern best-seller «Code da Vinci» uses apocrypha, which the Church had rejected yet at the beginning of its existence.
Besides that, at the first stage we'll consider couple of main topics of the Bible. We'll try to analyze biblical terminology and its interpretation, which greatly differs from the spoken language common to us. For example, such, as if, daily words as faith, hope, conversion and many others in the Holy Scripture have a bit different tint and emphasis than modern vocabularies provide.
At the second stage we'll consider books of the Old Testament, dividing them into logical «packages», because without understanding of the Old Testament it's impossible to fully achieve Christ and all His acts, since authors of the New Testament do not write about events in the Old Testament. For example, in the book of the prophet Isaiah we have many prophesies, accomplished at the cross, accomplished by the life of Jesus Christ, prophesies, which are still being accomplished among God's people, but in the New Testament there are only hints on them, some certain links, but they are of great value for understanding all history of redemption and salvation.
At the third and last stage we'll consider the books of the New Testament in more details.
Besides that, during this study we would like to ask you not to forget to intensively use the primary source, i.e. the Bible, to read independently the books, which are investigated in every separate number, to make some notes, your own conclusions. It would be useful to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other literature which we will refer to.