Thursday 15 July 2021

Discovering the New Testament - Father Adrian Graffy

Discovering the New Testament
Father Adrian Graffy
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860829307
eISBN 9781784693183
CTS Booklet SC114

This was the second volume from the pen of Father Adrian Graffy that I have read. I picked up this one and the companion volume Discovering the Old Testament at the same time. And I can say both are great reads. The beginning of both books contains the same section called ‘Encouragement from Pope Francis’. Both Volumes were published in 2014 and the eBook editions released in 2017. Over the last few years I have read over 200 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. There have been many excellent reads including both of these volumes. For the last several months I have been listening to Father Mike Schmitz’s podcast The Bible In A Year, and these books have been great supplemental reading. The description of this volume is:

“Pope Francis urges Christians to be nourished by the Word of God. Fr Graffy introduces all the books of the New Testament, giving advice for both private and liturgical reading of the Gospels, letters and other books. It is ideal for anyone wishing to understand and gain more from the New Testament, whether from their own personal reading, or listening to the readings at Mass. It is a companion to Fr Graffy’s sister work ‘Discovering the Old Testament’.”

And the chapters are:

The Books of the New Testament
Encouragement from Pope Francis
God speaks through the Son
Reading and Praying the New Testament
Which Bible should I read?
The Books of the New Testament
The Gospels
The nature of a gospel
The Gospel of Mark
The Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel of Luke
The Gospel of John
The Acts of the Apostles
The Letters of St Paul
The other Letters
The Book of Revelation
Church Teaching on the Bible
Further reading on the New Testament

Some of the passages I highlighted my first time through were:

“In his exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (‘ The Joy of the Gospel’) Pope Francis reminds us that all Christians are called to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. We are all invited to evangelise. “There is a kind of preaching which falls to each of us as a daily responsibility. It has to do with bringing the Gospel to people we meet, whether they be our neighbours or complete strangers.””

“The study of the word of God must be “a door opened to every believer”. Enriched by the word of God we can both live our faith and bear witness to it. This study of the Bible must be accompanied by “prayerful individual and communal reading”.”

“For Christians the climax of God’s reaching out, God’s communication, God’s revelation, comes in Jesus, the Son of God. In the CTS Discovering the Old Testament we explored how God spoke to our ancestors through the inspired writers of the Old Testament. This booklet sets out to explore how God spoke to us through the Son.”

“The purpose of this short introduction is not simply to impart information about the New Testament. In order to be nourished by the Scriptures we need to approach them in a spirit of peace and prayerfulness. But information about them will assist us to understand and derive more from our reading. The Church’s ancient practice of lectio divina (or “divine reading”) has been taken up by many people in recent times. At its simplest, it is the practice of reading the Scriptures in a prayerful and meditative way.”

“All the other books of the New Testament also receive their allotted time. While some parts of the Old Testament never appear in the Lectionary, all books of the New Testament are read. It is therefore quite possible to cover the New Testament by accompanying the Sunday and weekday Lectionary with meditative reading of the New Testament.”

“Whatever Bible you buy, it is most important to make sure that it contains the “deutero-canonical” books which are described as “the apocrypha” in non-Catholic Bibles.”

“What makes the visions in the Book of Revelation difficult is their constant use of imagery and of quotations from the Old Testament. Once the images, such as that of Christ as the Lamb, and that of the Roman empire as the beast, are deciphered, interpretation is made easier. Once the relevance of the Old Testament quotations, often from the book of Daniel, is appreciated, a rich understanding is opened up. This is not easy material to fathom.”

This book is a great read. Easily accessible. Anyone with a general education could engage easily with the book and benefit from reading it. This book and its sister volume were both great reads. I already have plans to read a few of Father Graffy’s books. And know that the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society will play a central role in my reading for years to come.

An excellent resource that I highly recommend. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Father Adrian Graffy:
A Manual of Hebrew Poetics
Alive and Active: The Old Testament Beyond 2000
Discovering the New Testament
Discovering the Old Testament
Gospels of Mercy: 12 Steps to the Love of God
Scriptural Way of the Cross
Scripture of Mercy: The Love of God in the Old Testament
Trustworthy and True: The Gospels Beyond 2000
Twelve Steps to the Love of God

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