November 2011 Personal Letter about this book:
"I bought an autographed copy of "St. John's Gospel" around the time of our [Footprints of God] pilgrimage back in April of 2010, and it somehow sneaked away into my bookcase (not anything like your own library, but pretty substantial nonetheless). I came across it again at the beginning of August, while looking for some good summer spiritual reading. I was immediately "hooked," and resolved to tell you upon finishing it what an amazing book you had written! (that is, as soon as I "blew through it," I'm usually through a book in just a few days) However, already enamored of your habit of adventurously forging ahead until you've connected all the dots, I resolved to be a good "student" and chase down every scriptural and catechism reference and study them. Well.... I read it faithfully six days a week for well over an hour, and a few minutes ago, --on November 22nd (!), --I finished your "Concluding Thoughts." What I thought would take a week or two at the most lasted nearly four (wonderful) months!
I wore out 3 highlighters on the book and the catechism, both of which look like they've been through a war! (and I suppose in a very real way they have been). My Bible, an RSV-CE version, is on my iPad, (I'm a gadget freak like you) It has the ability to "highlight" electronically, and I cannot believe how much of the Bible I have "turned yellow" from the references in your book! What you've written is far more than a study on St. John's Gospel, you've created a wonderful portal into understanding the entire Bible in a very deep and thorough way. Knowing what it took just to read and study it carefully, I can only begin to imagine the time and care it took you to write it.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how much this study has deepened my understanding of our dear Savior, and of the beautiful church He started. I'm so grateful for the diligent and strenuous effort I'm sure it had taken you to put it together. Just a couple days ago, my first graduate course from Franciscan U's Distance Learning program arrived. "Principles of Biblical Study I." I think you've more than adequately "warmed me up" for the course. Like the beloved disciple, you're a man after the Lord's own heart, and a big part of the inspiration for my beginning work on a Master's degree in Theology --at the tender age of 54 no less. Thank you for the wonderful journey through St. John's Gospel!
May the Father continue to bless you, and the Spirit keep you and your family very close to His Son,"
Audio: EWTN's Bookmark Interview on Steve's book St. John's Gospel
As Catholics in ever-growing numbers are taking part in Bible studies, many questions arise. How do I study the Bible? Where do I begin? Is it OK to interpret the Bible for ourselves? What Bible should I use? How can I understand such a deep book as the Gospel of St, John?
This book has the answer to these and many other such questions. Stephen Ray takes the difficult and makes it easy; he takes the confusion and makes things clear. It gives a simple start for a beginner while providing the depth and profundity for the scholar. This book is one of a kind. It is the first extensive, easy to use and thoroughly Catholic study guide available.
This Bible study provides extensive "text boxes" with detailed information that helps students discover the cultural, religious, historical and other information on the specific passage they are studying. It utilizes quotes for a wide range of scholars, historians and specialists to instruct the student and give valuable insights into the background and meaning of the text. This book can serve as a basic Bible study guide for working through the Gospel of John, helping the student plumb the depths of St. John's marvelous and deeply spiritual Gospel. It is excellent for use by individuals or groups, for families or schools.
New Bible study guide for Catholics explores John's Gospel
SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) -- Ignatius Press has released "St. John's Gospel: A Bible Study Guide and Commentary," which it describes as the first extensive and easy-to-use Bible study guide for Catholics to help them understand the Gospel of St. John. Written by Stephen K. Ray, the 461-page study guide features numerous "text boxes" with relevant cultural, religious, historical and other information pertinent to specific passages, as well as quotes from a wide range of scholars, historians and specialists to enhance students' understanding and insight. Ignatius Press, based in San Francisco, calls the book "more than a study aid: it's a scriptural commentary, study of church teaching, handbook of Catholic apologetics, introduction to the church fathers, and a survey of history and culture at the time of Christ." Ray, a convert to Catholicism, is the author of "Crossing the Tiber" and "Upon This Rock" and hosts the 10-part film series, "Footprints of God," covering more than 2,000 years of Jewish and Christian history.
Scott Hahn is currently using your book on John as the text for his class at St. Vincent Seminary. The seminarians love your book. Scott does, too. _Mike Aquilina
There is no greater guide to St. John's Gospel than this utterly outstanding offering from the heart of one of the most gifted converts to the Church in recent years. This is simply the best, most thorough, practical, and intensely Catholic Bible study I've seen. Rosalind Moss
Stephen Ray presents a readable and intelligent interpretation of the Gospel of John. His approach is simple, clear, yet profound and discerning. For those who seek the truth and understanding of St. John's Gospel, this book is a must reading. Cardinal Ricardo Vidal
Archbishop of Cebu, Philippines
Steve Ray's St. John's Gospel is a welcome addition to the blossoming field of Scripture studies written by and for faithful lay Catholics. His research is sound, his style accessible, and his insights are solidly Catholic and biblical. May he write many more! Mark Shea, Author
Making Senses Out of Scripture
Steve Ray's teaching of the Bible has inspired many in the parish we both belong to. I'm happy to hear that these teachings will now be available in book form so that many-more can benefit. Ralph Martin, Author
After they had been Protestants for three decades, Steve Ray and his wife, Janet, were converted to Catholicism in 1994. He now spends much of his time in research, writing, and teaching. He serves on the Board of Directors of Ave Maria College. His _thoroughly Catholic_ commentary on John's Gospel features archaeological, theological, cultural, religious, and historical information, and quotations from a wide range of scholars. He includes a bibliography and two indexes Theology Digest Book Survey
Summer 2003, pg. 181
As for St. John's Gospel, I'm still on the second chapter but have taken so many notes that I am awe struck. I would have never correlated these things. As a "Revert" to the faith, you have made me realize just how true our faith really is. I can't thank you enough. Cyndi Buckley
We used your commentary on the Gospel of St. John and it was the best commentary I have ever seen on John!!!!! I have them all - and the best of the best - until I became Catholic - and then I found yours. We used it in our class 4 years ago when we began CSS. Terry
"The Scripture," said Pope St. Gregory the Great, "is a stream in which the elephant may swim and the lamb may wade" Perhaps no biblical book illustrates that paradox more beautifully than St. John's Gospel. At once it is utterly simple and astonishingly profound.
Some truths in its pages any child can readily grasp: "I am the Good Shepherd" (10:11). Yet the Church has for centuries pondered some mysteries in this Gospel without ever plumbing their full depths: "The Word became flesh" (1:14).
For help in understanding both sorts of passages, Stephen Ray's study guide and commentary is indispensable. In one rather compact volume he has assembled the insights of biblical scholars and historians, Fathers of the Church and Doctors of the Church, papal documents and the Catechism. These are interwoven with his own penetrating questions about the text and its practical implications for Christian faith and life.
Thoroughly Catholic, Ray's approach encourages a slow-paced, deep reflection. He provides the reader ample tools for placing each Gospel passage in its larger' context: biblical, theological, historical, moral and liturgical. The result is a useful, intriguing guide for "elephants" and "lambs" alike. The Catholic Answer
Our Sunday Visitor, May-June 2004