"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 have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts; neither will I accept any sacrifice from your hands." Malachi 1:10
The Lord concludes the Old Testament with a special message from the prophet "Malachi," a name which means "My messenger." Malachi prophesied against the priests because they did not offer the Lord their best. The Lord questioned the priests: "When you offer a blind animal for sacrifice, is this not evil? When you offer the lame or the sick, is it not evil? Present it to your governor; see if he will accept it or welcome you" (1:8).
Prayer: Father, may I give You prime-time and worship You with my very best efforts.
Promise: "For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, My name is great among the nations; and everywhere they bring sacrifice to My name, and a pure offering." 1:11
"I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel, and covering one's garment with injustice, says the Lord of hosts." Malachi 2:16
The nation has deteriorated because the priests are not teaching the truth and married couples are getting divorces. Because of this, the Lord made the priests "contemptible and base before all the people" (2:9) and refused to accept the sacrifices of those who had left their spouses.
Prayer: Father, call priests to repentance and heal the divorced.
Promise: "For the lips of the priest are to keep knowledge, and instruction is to be sought from his mouth, because he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts." 2:7
"Lo, I am sending My messenger to prepare the way before Me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord Whom you seek, and the Messenger of the covenant Whom you desire. Yes, He is coming." Malachi 3:1
The last chapter of the Old Testament proclaims amazing prophecies of the coming of John the Baptizer and of Jesus. To receive Jesus into our lives, we must return to Him and serve Him in practical ways, such as tithing. We must love one another, especially our families. Fathers must turn their hearts to their children, and the children to their fathers. Then we will be ready for Jesus' final coming. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Prayer: Father, as I finish reading the Old Testament, I totally give myself to Your Son, Jesus.
Promise: "Then they who fear the Lord spoke with one another, and the Lord listened attentively; and a record book was written before Him of those who fear the Lord and trust in His name." 3:16
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 3, 1997
Imprimatur: Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 8, 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