When I was writing my book, The Bible Blueprint: A Catholic’s Guide to Understanding and Embracing God’s Word (Loyola Press), I addressed this very question! With the help of my friend, Dr. Michael Cameron (Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Portland), I compiled the following annotated bibliography of “must reading” for Catholics taking Scripture study seriously.
Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Narrative. New York: Basic Books, 1981. This and the next volume represent some of the best of modern literary study of Scripture.
The Art of Biblical Poetry. New York: Basic Books, 1985. Also very revealing.
Boadt, Lawrence. Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction. New York: Paulist Press, 1984. A basic work, very helpful.
Brown, Raymond E. Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine. New York: Paulist Press, 1985. Short essays exploring traditional Catholic positions such as the virginal conception of Jesus in the light of modern scholarship.
The Critical Meaning of the Bible. New York: Paulist Press, 1981. Rewarding essays on the Catholic Church’s engagement with critical Scripture scholarship by one of the leading Catholic biblical scholars of our time.
Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday, 1997. Considered by many to be the standard advanced introduction to the New Testament.
Responses to 101 Questions on the Bible. New York: Paulist Press, 1990. Question and answer style discussion treating common questions. Brown never dodges an issue.
Brueggemann, Walter. The Bible Makes Sense. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001. Creative and stimulating invitation to read Scripture.
Campbell, James. The Stories of the Old Testament: A Catholic’s Guide. Chicago: Loyola Press, 2007. Provides the background needed to understand essential Old Testament stories from Genesis to Malachi.
Casey, Michael. Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina. Liguori, MO: Triumph Books, 1996. An excellent examination of the contemplative approach to praying with Scripture.
Cavalletti, Sofia. History’s Golden Thread: The History of Salvation. Chicago: Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Publications, 1999. Well-crafted, richly suggestive tracing of typological relations in the Scriptures. Welcome vision of the Old and New Testaments as one Word of God.
Chilson, Richard. Full Christianity: A Catholic Response to Fundamental Questions. New York: Paulist, 1985. Written well for the general reader, using a question-and-answer format to show the differences between the Catholic and Fundamentalist visions of Christianity.
Days of the Lord: The Liturgical Year. Seven volumes. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991–94. Solid reflections on passages from the lectionary. Translated from French.
Fitzmyer, Joseph A., A Christological Catechism: New Testament Answers. Rev. ed. New York: Paulist Press, 1991. Questions and answers on who Jesus was according to the Bible from a Catholic perspective. Includes text of Pontifical Biblical Commission’s 1964 Instruction on the Historical Truth of the Gospels.
Grant, Robert M., with David Tracy. A Short History of the Interpretation of the Bible. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984. Fascinating panorama of the perspectives and uses to which Scripture has been put. Tracy’s section gives a philosophical orientation to contemporary issues in biblical hermeneutics.
Hall, Thelma. Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina. New York: Paulist Press, 1988. Explains lectio divina and provides 500 thematically arranged Scripture texts for prayer.
Harrington, Daniel. Interpreting the New Testament: A Practical Guide. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1990. First volume of the NT commentary series gives a background to the series and reviews modern methods of New Testament study.
Interpreting the Old Testament: A Practical Guide. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991. First volume of the OT commentary series gives a background to the series and reviews modern methods of Old Testament study.
Hestenes, Roberta. Using the Bible in Groups. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983. Basics of group studies. Protestant perspective.
Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Writings of the New Testament. Revised Edition. Minneapolis: Augsburg/Fortress, 1998. Well-written introduction with acute attention to each book’s final literary and theological shape. For advanced students.
Kodell, Jerome. The Catholic Bible Study Handbook. 2nd rev. ed. Ann Arbor, MI: Charis Books, 2001. Readable book touching on development, background, and approaches to the Bible.
Martin, George. Reading Scripture as the Word of God. Fourth edition. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications, 1998. Knowledgeable, wise help for approaching a disciplined practice of reading the Scriptures by a gentle guide who discovered the path for himself. Excellent.
Perkins, Pheme. Reading the New Testament: An Introduction. Revised ed. New York: Paulist Press, 1988. Basic introduction to content and themes of the New Testament; strong on historical background.