"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.
"I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God bestowed when my hands were laid on you. The Spirit God has given us is no cowardly Spirit, but rather One that makes us strong, loving, and wise." 2 Timothy 1:6-7
When Timothy told Paul he was thinking of quitting his ministry in Ephesus, Paul refused to accept Timothy's resignation. He told Timothy to stir up the Holy Spirit in his life and bear his "share of the hardship which the gospel entails" (1:8).
Prayer: Father, may the Spirit be more powerful in me in the next few weeks than ever before.
Promise: "Guard the rich deposit of faith with the help of the Holy Spirit Who dwells within us." 1:14
"Keep reminding people of these things and charge them before God to stop disputing about mere words. This does no good and can be the ruin of those who listen." 2 Timothy 2:14
Pastoring the Ephesians was like hosting a never-ending talk-show. They disputed "about mere words" (2:14), engaged in "worldly, idle talk," and became "more and more godless" (2:16). Paul told Timothy to "have nothing to do with senseless, ignorant disputations" (2:23). Rather, Timothy was called to gently correct those who contradicted him, "in the hope always that God will enable them to repent and know the truth" (2:25).
Prayer: Father, may my mouth be used only for Your purposes.
Promise: "The lesson is that if a person will but cleanse himself of evil things he may be a distinguished vessel, dedicated and useful to the master of the house and ready for every noble service." 2:21
"Do not forget this: there will be terrible times in the last days. Men will be lovers of self and of money." 2 Timothy 3:1-2
Secular humanism makes a pretense of religion but negates its power (3:5). In the last days, it will permeate and infiltrate our society. The secular humanists will be "treacherous, reckless, pompous, lovers of pleasure rather than of God" (3:4). "All the while evil men and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceiving others, themselves deceived. You, for your part, must remain faithful to what you have learned and believed" (3:13-14).
Prayer: Father, may I accept persecution rather than be infected by secular humanism.
Promise: "All Scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching for reproof, correction, and training in holiness so that the man of God may be fully competent and equipped for every good work." 3:16-17
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7
Paul warned Timothy: "People will not tolerate sound doctrine, but, following their own desires, will surround themselves with teachers who tickle their ears. They will stop listening to the truth and will wander off to fables" (4:3-4). Therefore, Timothy had to "preach the word...stay with this task whether convenient or inconvenient correcting, reproving, appealing constantly teaching and never losing patience" (4:2). Paul told Timothy to remain "steady and self-possessed; put up with hardship," perform his work as an evangelist, and fulfill his ministry (4:5), for "a merited crown" awaited him (4:8).
Prayer: Father, may I complete the work You've assigned to me no matter what the circumstances.
Promise: "The Lord will continue to rescue me from all attempts to do me harm and will bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen." 4:18
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