Greatest love, adventure story

Let’s start out with a four-question quiz on the Bible. Are the Gospels part of the Bible? Did Jesus write one of the books of the Bible? Was Paul or Moses a figure from the Old Testament? Which of the following wrote a Gospel: Luke? John? Paul? Peter? We’ll give the answers at the end.

Those questions were part of an extensive survey on Bible reading around the world recently commissioned by the Catholic Biblical Federation. The United States fared very well in the survey, with 93 percent of residents saying they had at least one Bible in their home. We read the Bible more often than most in the world, too, with three out of four of us having read a passage in the previous year.

Good for us. But do we understand the Bible? In the U.S., and in country after country, the 13,000-person survey found that we often struggle. And that presents the Catholic Church with a challenge — one it hopes to address at the world Synod of Bishops, which will focus on the Bible in October.

But Catholics of the Diocese of Peoria have a golden opportunity to increase our Bible knowledge and appreciation long before that. “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church” is the theme of the 2008 Summer Institute, scheduled June 13-14 in Peoria. The back page of this week’s issue of The Catholic Post features more information on this year’s event, which is open to everyone.

One of the most difficult books in the Bible to understand is the final one of the New Testament: Revelation. That fascinating book will be the topic of a daylong session hosted by Jeff Cavins, whose “Great Adventure” video series is already helping hundreds around the diocese better understand the Bible.

Please take a good look at our back page. This year’s Institute offers so much, including a special “Tribute to Pope John Paul II” on Friday evening, June 13, featuring George Weigel, who wrote the pope’s biography.

Time to grade our opening quiz. The answers are yes, no, Moses, and Luke and John. If you got a score of anywhere from zero to four, there is something for you at this year’s Summer Institute. And no matter your score, we recommend more frequent reading of the Bible, the best selling book in history and the greatest story of love and adventure ever told. — Thomas J. Dermody, editor-in-chief

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