If needed, refresh your Bible navigation and referencing skills or support children by leading them through the following exercise before you jump into the summer Scripture activities and events suggested in this post.
STEP 1: Choose a passage to look up, including book, chapter, and verse.
STEP 2: Locate the particular book within the Bible. Use their Bible’s table of contents to figure out the name of the book if it’s abbreviated.
STEP 3: Next, Find the start/beginning page of the book. This information will also be found in the table of contents.
STEP 4: Go to the page number found in the table of contents. You are now at the beginning of the book.
STEP 5: Find the specific chapter in the book.
STEP 6: Locate the specific verse.
STEP 7: Read the verse.
Dive into Scripture this summer with your family, parish, or as an individual endeavor and take the opportunity to explore God’s Word.
As an alternative activity, choose a page from your Bible by closing your eyes and flipping to any page. Point to any passage on the page. Then, use what you know from steps 1–7 above to write the book, chapter, and verse of the passage you have pointed to. See if a partner can then find the verse. Being able to reference passages in the Bible will support Scripture study and allow you to share passages with others!
These skills will allow you to navigate both print and digital versions of the Bible, which can sometimes be found online.
Borrowing an effective and popular approach called Readers Theater often used in schools with elementary aged children, “Scripture Theater” can be a catechetical tool to engage children in a deeper experience of God’s Word. Invite children into an innovative Scripture experience, brought to life with the techniques of Reader’s Theater, perfect for children in the primary grades and for families to share together. Invite family members or friends to be readers for each role in the Scripture experience. Participants can keep the process simple or be creative, enhancing the experience with repeated readings, costumes and props, or whatever time and circumstance allow.
Download and share a seasonal Readers Theater script for the liturgical year in which children and their families can take on reading roles to retell the story of Jesus feeding five thousand people from Matthew 14:13–21. The experience will convey the story in which we hear about the many people who came to see Jesus, who healed the sick and fed everyone with just five loaves of bread and two fish and engage participants as readers and actors.
Together, Catholic families can use the psalms from the Bible throughout the summer to express praise and thanksgiving for all that God gives us and His creation! Psalms are appropriate for all seasons of the year, but some lend themselves more easily to summertime sensibilities. Psalms that express delight in the wonders of God's creation and sing praises for God's generosity and kindness seem particularly appropriate during the season of summer.
Download a 4-page Psalms of Summer lesson that provides a variety of Catholic family activities and prayers centered around psalms.
For parishes looking to bring families together for a formal opportunity to engage with each other and God’s Word during the summer months, a special Scripture themed event is designed for summertime whole parish catechesis.
The Gather in the Garden Summer Scripture Event invites parish members to come together to explore Genesis 1–2:4 as they reflect on God as the source of all life and celebrate God's gifts of creation through prayer and the practice of stewardship of the earth.
For many people, God's presence and majesty is most readily experienced in nature. A garden represents an ordered, safe, and serene place of beauty and abundance. It is a place we can gather to experience creation and to come to know God our Creator.
Through participation in the event, parishioners will name ways they can act as stewards of the gifts of creation through prayer and practice, which are the first and fourth tasks of catechesis. (GDC, 85)
The event is based on three key tenants:
The Bible, the great book of God's revelation, begins with the story of creation.
God creates out of nothing all that we see: the earth and the heavens, the land and the waters, the light of day and night, the plants and animals, and the highlight of God's creation—humankind (Genesis 1:1–24).
We learn God's creation is for a purpose.
"God created the world to show forth and communicate his glory. That his creatures should share in his truth, goodness, and beauty—this is the glory for which God created them" (CCC 319). Thus, God's creation is fundamentally good.
In creation God provides us with life and all we need to live: food, water, air, shelter, companions, and beauty. Because our very existence depends upon God, we turn to God in prayer.
The world is God's gift to us, and we are to care for it as good stewards.
We are meant to enjoy all of God's creation but not exploit or abuse it. It is a free gift to us, but also ours to care for and tend. By loving and respecting all gifts of the creation, we honor God our Creator.
Download a full set of event handouts for the event which include:
For the full leader's guide to implement the event including a step-by-step outline, preparation charts, and checklists for assembling materials and resources visit Sadlier Connect and click on Gather In My Name to navigate to the Gather in the Garden: A Summer Scripture Event resources.
During the slower paced summer months, consider participating in a Scripture mini course entitled Catholics and the Bible. This twelve-part series of articles with embedded questions for reflection and discussion are combined into a printable course-pack.
The mini course can be a self-guided endeavor or adapted to become a small group Scripture mini course for adults. This series is appropriate for catechist development, for adult faith formation, or for adults just looking to expand their knowledge of the Bible and reflect spiritually during the summer months.
At its heart, the Catholics and the Bible Scripture Mini Course examines various aspects of how best to read and interpret the Bible from a Catholic perspective. But each of the twelve articles takes a particular focus for the reader and includes suggestions for implementation by the individual at home in his or her own life.
The series begins with a bit of history; the first article starts with the historic Synod in Rome on "The Scriptures in the Life and Mission of the Church." The following articles track the Church's embrace of the modern biblical renewal and consider some of the principles for a sound interpretation of the Bible by a community of faith.
To kick-off your Catholics and the Bible Scripture Mini Course, download the course-pack and let this post guide you through the included articles and opportunities for reflection. Consider participating in this mini course over twelve days, twelve weeks, or whatever span of time that best fits your schedule.
Part 1: Embracing the Modern Biblical Renewal
Begin with article 1, entitled “Embracing the Modern Biblical Renewal: First in a Series on Catholics and the Bible.” It will bring you up to speed on modern biblical methods and invite you to examine your own understandings of the Bible and consider the particular convictions or assumptions you bring to your reading and study of the Bible.
Part 2: Church Leadership Paves the Way
In article two, explore the history leading up to the Church endorsing modern Biblical methods. “Church Leadership Paves the Way: Second in a Series on Catholics and the Bible” explains that the Church firmly believes that there is no inherent contradiction between exploring the human dimensions of the biblical text and its history and viewing the Bible from the vantage point of Christian faith. This article will ask you to consider ways that the Bible and its content have become familiar to you as a Catholic and what difference this has made in your faith.
Part 3: God’s Word in Human Hands
The third article, “God’s Word in Human Hands: Third in a Series on Catholics and the Bible” considers specific principles that guide a Catholic interpretation of the Bible, essential for a solid Catholic interpretation of Scripture. After reading the article, ponder what it means to say, “God is the author of the Bible.”
Part 4: The Bible Has Many Meanings
The stories and sayings of the Bible are rich in potential meaning and have many dimensions that reveal themselves to the attentive reader. The fourth article, “The Bible Has Many Meaning: Fourth in a Series on Catholics and the Bible,” discusses finding multiple authentic meanings in biblical passages and introduces the safeguard against bizarre or harmful interpretations. This article will inform and then challenge you to take a favorite biblical story and see how many different meanings you (and your friends or other participants) might find in this story.
Part 5: The Bible in Community
The fifth article, “The Bible in Community: Fifth in a Series on Catholics and the Bible” explores ways that The Bible - because of its nature as a "communal" text that emerged from the Church and belongs to the Church - is not the preserve of any single individual but should ultimately be understood in the context of the community of faith as a whole. You’ll consider why is it important to ultimately understand the teaching of the Bible in the context of the Christian community as a whole.
Part 6: Scripture and Tradition
The one Word of God is communicated both in Scripture and in Tradition. Catholic teaching affirms that the Word of God communicated in the Scriptures is also fundamentally revealed through the sacred Tradition of the Church. In article six, “Scripture and Tradition: Sixth in a Series on Catholics and the Bible” explore ways that these two expressions of God’s Word to us are inseparably bound to each other and affirm each other. You’ll consider what the phrase “Sacred Tradition” means to Catholics.
Part 7: Reading the Bible as a Whole
To draw out what a biblical passage might mean for life as a person of faith or to understand the value of the Bible on a particular moral issue, one must interpret the meaning of any particular passage of the Bible in the light of the whole of the Scriptures. Explore ways that the canon of Scripture came to be and what it means for thoughtful interpretation of the Bible. After reading, you’ll be challenged to think of a specific biblical passage or story that needs a wider context in order for it to be properly understood.
Part 8: Reading the Bible in the Light of Christ
The eighth article, entitled “Reading the Bible in the Light of Christ: Eighth in a Series on Catholics and the Bible,” reminds the reader that we read the Scripture as Christians, that is, from the vantage point of faith in Jesus Christ. The article explores what this means as we read the Old and New Testaments. After reading this article, you’ll reflect on what it means for us as Christians to read the Old Testament Scriptures "retrospectively," from the vantage point of our faith in Jesus.
Part 9: The Bible Made “Actual” by an “Attentive” Community
As Catholics we believe that God’s Word speaks to us today and we want to draw from the Scriptures a message that can transform our lives. In The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church study published by the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1993, the text uses the word actualize to describe the process of finding what the Bible means for our lives today. Implicit in this principle of "actualizing" the biblical message is the need to be "attentive" to the Word of God that comes to us through the Scriptures. After reading this article, you’ll be asked to give some examples of how the message of the Bible is spiritually nourishing for you.
Part 10: Reading the Bible from Diverse Vantage Points
The tenth article, “Reading the Bible from Diverse Vantage Points: Tenth in a Series on Catholics and the Bible,” explores ways that each reader and group of readers brings the richness of their own experience and cultural background to the interpretation of God’s Word to us. This shows the need of a community of interpretation and not just our own individual insights. After reading, you’ll be asked to consider what mean to say that we can view the biblical text as a "window" or as a "mirror."
Part 11: Reading and Praying the Scriptures
The Church encourages Catholics to turn directly to the Scriptures and to reflect on them as a source of prayer and devotion. There are many ways and formats of reflecting on the Scriptures. Explore some ways in this eleventh article, “Reading and Praying the Scriptures: Eleventh on a Series on Catholics and the Bible.” After reading this article, you’ll consider one of these ways, Lectio Divina, in particular.
Part 12: Resources for Studying and Interpreting the Bible
To close the mini course, the last article in the series, entitled “Resources for Studying and Interpreting the Bible: Twelfth in a Series on Catholics and the Bible” lists helpful resources to help the reader continue to read the Bible in a thoughtful way. The article includes translations, commentaries, concordances, and programs for you to explore, and invites you to consider the difference it might make to you and your life as a Christian to study the Scriptures in a more in-depth way.
Dive into Scripture this summer with your family, parish, or as an individual endeavor and take the opportunity to explore God’s Word.