"The revelation of Your words sheds light, giving understanding to the simple." Psalms 119:130
God's word is intended for all people. For thousands of years God has communicated to millions of simple people through His word. In fact, many things are hidden from the learned and clever but revealed to the merest children (Lk 10:21). Of course, God's word is sometimes so difficult to interpret that we need the Church to teach us. Therefore, highly academic Bible study has its place, but it is not the principal approach to God's word. The word is not primarily for an educated elite but for everyday people praying and reading by the power of the Spirit.
Nevertheless, not many books about the Bible are written to help the average person. What most people need is something short, simple, and practical that encourages, motivates and guides. We need something that will help us read the Biblical texts and not just about the text. This is the purpose of this simple Bible reading guide. "We have aimed to please those who prefer simple reading, as well as to make it easy for the studious who wish to commit things to memory, and to be helpful to all (2 Mc 2:25).
Note: The breakdown of the Bible into chapters (although not always adequate) has served God's people for centuries. So in general we will use a chapter-by-chapter structure for our comments.
Be sure to read each chapter of the Bible along with the introductory comments.
P.S. We have prayed before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament about our choice
of the verses in this reading guide. We hope the Scriptures will have a
prophetic, life-changing power for you.
"In God's communities we can boast of your constancy and your faith in persecution and trial." 2 Thessalonians 1:4
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians again because they were suffering more persecution and confusion. He assured them: "You endure these as an expression of God's just judgment, in order to be found worthy of His kingdom it is for His kingdom you suffer" (1:4-5). The Lord "will provide relief to you who are sorely tried, as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels" (1:7).
Prayer: "We pray for you always that our God may make you worthy of His call, and fulfill by His power every honest intention and work of faith" (1:11).
Promise: "It is no more than right that we thank God unceasingly for you, brothers, because your faith grows apace and your mutual love increases." 1:3
"Let no one seduce you, no matter how. Since the mass apostasy has not yet occurred nor the man of lawlessness been revealed..." 2 Thessalonians 2:3
The Thessalonians were agitated and terrified by an oracle, rumor, or letter alleged to be Paul's, which induced them into believing that the end of the world would occur very soon. Paul told them not to believe this because the anti-Christ and the mass apostasy would come first. As with the Thessalonians, our attitude toward Jesus' second coming indicates our maturity in Christ. If we either ignore Christ's final coming or become agitated by it, we are lacking Christian maturity. If we are joyfully expecting His coming at any moment and busy serving Him, we show a mature faith.
Prayer: "May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, may God our Father Who loved us and in His mercy gave us eternal consolation and hope, console your hearts and strengthen them for every good work and word" (2:16-17).
Promise: "Thereupon the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and annihilate him by manifesting His own presence." 2:8
"We enjoin all such, and we urge them strongly in the Lord Jesus Christ, to earn the food they eat by working quietly." 2 Thessalonians 3:12
Some in the Thessalonian community were quitting their jobs. They reasoned: "If Jesus is coming soon, why work?" Paul laid down "the rule that anyone who would not work should not eat" (3:10). Furthermore, if anyone would not get back to work, that person should be ostracized. Baby-Christians often go through a lot of self-made confusion. Paul prayed for them: "May the Lord rule your hearts in the love of God and the constancy of Christ" (3:5).
Prayer: "Pray for us that the word of the Lord may make progress and be hailed by many others, even as it has been by you. Pray that we may be delivered from confusion and evil men" (3:1-2).
Promise: "You must never grow weary of doing what is right." 3:13
When you finish reading this booklet, give it to someone else. Pray for that person to be motivated to read God's word and make a total commitment to the Lord. Use this book as a tool for evangelization. Right now pray to know the person with whom you are to share this book.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, April 25, 1997
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 28, 1997
The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com