Catholics for Israel's Online Bible Course!
"Guarding the deposit of faith is the mission which the Lord entrusted to his Church, and which she fulfills in every age." (FD)
Welcome to Catholics for Israel's Bible course- an introduction to God's plan of salvation, to the Catholic faith, and on how to live as God's children!
The online Bible study is a comprehensive summary of the authentic faith and authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church. It covers:
- The Story of Salvation: How God has revealed himself and worked through human history from creation to our own day;
- What we believe: A firm grasp of reality as the essential condition for sane and joyful living;
- How we are to live: The moral life as key to freedom and happiness;
- How we worship: How the liturgy and sacraments of the Church empower us to live a holy life;
- How we pray: Speaking with God and developing a loving relationship with Him.
"God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life" (CCC 1).
The aim of this Bible study, accordingly, is “to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity" (CT 5).
Since this course intends to teach the authentic Catholic faith that Jesus entrusted to His apostles, preserved in divine revelation and handed down to us through the apostles’ successors and the Church’s tradition, the two principal sources for the course’s material are Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), called by pope John Paul II “a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine” (FD 3).
These two primary texts are occasionally supplemented by other official magisterial documents of the Church, and by other writings such as the works of theologians and biblical scholars. However, we remember that "the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on..." (DV 10) .
Target Audience and Method
The Bible study was originally developed as the curriculum for an RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) for non-Catholics inquirers interested in learning about Catholicism and possibly entering the Catholic Church. However, it may also be used in a variety of other catechetical settings such as adult faith formation, campus ministry or youth ministry. Since it was designed particularly for use in Israel, for Jewish inquirers into the Catholic faith, for Catholics of Jewish background, or simply for teaching the Jewish roots of the Catholic faith, you will notice a special emphasis on the Old Testament and Jewish background of the Church's faith, worship, moral life, and prayer.
Content, Organic Unity and Repetition
The Catholic faith forms an organic unity in which all parts and doctrines are related one to the other. All lessons are interrelated in this organic whole, and each lesson will be fully grasped only within the context of the whole course. However, in order that each lesson may be understood “on its own” (in the event, for example, that it is taught as a one-time lecture rather than as part of the whole course, or if a student missed a previous lesson), some of the material has been repeated throughout several lessons. For example, the lessons on personal sin, salvation, and grace (B08, B10, B11) include a short review of the lesson on original sin (A09), since a sound grasp of latter is essential for understanding the former.
The Bible study is divided into two parts:
- Part I: God's Story, Our Story - Salvation history from creation to the coming of the Messiah. Covers the basics of "mere Christianity."
- Part II: Living in God's Kingdom - An introduction to the Catholic Church, her faith, life, and worship.
The lessons were designed as multimedia PowerPoint presentations, which include many pictures, graphics and charts illustrating the truths of faith. The presentations are available in two formats:
- Flash animations can be freely viewed online for self-study. A few of the lessons include audio music files that accompany the visual presentation.
- The original PowerPoint presentations (PPT 2003/2007 format) can be purchased online. These files are fully editable and customizable, and may be used for teaching in a church or classroom setting. The presentations also include additional notes for the teacher. You may want to add musical selections of your own to some of the lessons if you use them for teaching.
A summary handout (in pdf format) is provided with each lesson, which includes all of the scripture, catechism, and magisterial document citations for further review and study. These handouts are entirely free, and you are welcome to download, save, and print them at leisure! [Note: You must register in order to download the free handouts.]
Supplementary Readings and Ongoing Study
The lessons are only introductory outlines and are not sufficient in themselves to attain a full understanding of the faith. It is highly recommended to supplement each lesson with the relevant sections of Scripture and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. For your convenience, all scripture and catechism citations in the PowerPoint files are hyperlinked to the full online text; the citations can thus easily be accessed and read in their relevant context, only one click away. Additional readings are occasionally provided at the end of the PowerPoint lesson or on the handout.
How Much Does it Cost?
If you are simply inquiring about the Catholic faith, or you are a Catholic who wants to better understand your faith, the online course is entirely FREE for self-study! Enjoy it and may God bless your spiritual journey! If, however, you wish to use the course for teaching or ministering in your parish, church, school, or other, you can purchase and download the original PowerPoint presentations, either individually or in one of our discounted packages. Catholics for Israel is a non-profit organization and all proceeds will go towards the maintenance and growth of our apostolate, including the translation of this website into Hebrew. The course has required several years of hard work, and your contribution will help to continue to provide this free resource to those who seek the Kingdom of God. Thank you for supporting our work of evangelization and catechesis in the Holy Land in among the nations!
Give us Feedback!
Please let us know what you think of the online course! Post your feedback, questions and suggestions on our forum so that we may improve it in the future and better suit it to your needs!