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Posted October 24, 2014

Book: Scripture: God's Handbook for Evangelizing Catholics
Author: Stephen J. Binz
Our Sunday Visitor. Huntington, IN. 2014. Pp. 189

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Scripture scholar Stephen Binz has spent the past thirty years working to help Catholics with the "frequent reading" of Scripture through the ancient movements of lectio divina. Now, in Scripture: God's Handbook for Evangelizing Catholics, he brings to light the power of Scripture not only to renew our lives, but also to make us living witnesses of the Gospel. Inspired and influenced by Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis, Binz shows us the indissoluble connection between their call to the New Evangelization and its necessary connection to the Word of God.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Hearing God's word anew through Lectio Divina

Catholics listen to God's word in Scripture in many different ways: first of all, in the church's liturgy, but also through parish programs of faith formation. Bible study, and personal, reflective reading. In all these contexts, we are invited to listen to the words of Scripture as the living word of God. Listening to the words of the Bible becomes truly renewing and transformative when we expect to encounter God and to be changed.

This way of listening to Scripture is called by its ancient name: lectio divina. This practice, as understood in the church's earliest centuries, is not so much a method of reading Scripture as it is a way of approaching the sacred text. It is not essentially a series of steps to follow, but approaching Scripture with the firm belief that God is revealed there.

Through my own research into this ancient tradition, I've tried to synthesize the art of lectio divina into a few brief points. If you are hearing Scripture in these ways, then you are practicing the sacred art of lectio divina.

Lectio divina is a personal encounter with God through scripture. The text itself is a gateway to God. Through the inspired scripture, we meet the God who loves us and desires our response.

Lectio divina establishes a dialogue between the reader of scripture and God. We listen to God through the text and then respond to God I heartfelt prayer. The heart of lectio divina is this gentle conversation with God.

Lectio divina leads to understanding that Jesus Christ is the heart of the scriptures. Every word of the Bible bears witness to the living Word who is Christ. So lectio divina is not so much a matter of interpreting a book as it is of seeking Christ in the word of God.

Lectio divina creates a heart-to-heart intimacy with God in Jesus Christ. In the Bible the heart is a person's innermost core, the source of our deepest desires and aspirations. In lectio divina we respond to God's word with the whole heart and thereby grow in a relationship with God at the deepest level of intimacy.

Lectio divina is a way of prayfully reading scripture that not only informs us but transforms us. this divine encounter leads not just to more information and advice from the words of the Bible, but to a deeply rooted transformation of life. The deepest work of Scripture is leading us to personal growth in Christ and fuller discipleship.

Table of Contents:

Recovering the Evangelical Dimension of Catholicism

1. The Word of God and the New Evangelization

2. Evangelizing moments in Catholic history

3. Reading the Bible as evangelizing Catholics

Evangelization at the heart of Sacred Scripture

4. Evangelization in Ancient Israel

5. Evangelization in the Gospels

6. Evangelization in the Apostolic Church

Evangelizing the Church and the world through Sacred Scripture

7. Becoming communities of the Word

8. Lectio divina for evangelization

9. Woman of the Word and star of the New Evangelization