"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.
"Thus all Israel was inscribed in its family records which are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel." 1 Chronicles 9:1
For the chronicler, all the people and events of history up to the time of David are a mere introduction. While the past history warrants only an honorable mention, David's reign is chronicled in detail. David is so important because he greatly developed the Jewish community's worship of the Lord in the Temple (see Sir 47:8-10).
Prayer: Father, I live to worship You.
"Therefore the Lord slew him, and transferred his kingdom to David, the son of Jesse." 1 Chronicles 10:14
After hopscotching through history, the Chronicler stops and gives Saul special attention because Saul was the immediate predecessor of David.
Prayer: Father, may I read history with a focus on Jesus.
"Then all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and there David made a covenant with them in the presence of the Lord; and they anointed him king over Israel, in accordance with the word of the Lord as revealed through Samuel." 1 Chronicles 11:3
The list of David's warriors is given more attention than centuries of history. The message is: to be a soldier in David's army is more significant than almost any other position. Jesus takes this a step further when He states: "I solemnly assure you, history has not known a man born of woman greater than John the Baptizer. Yet the least born into the kingdom of God is greater than he" (Mt 11:11).
Prayer: Father, may I consider it a privilege to fight in Your army.
Promise: "David became more and more powerful, for the Lord of hosts was with him." 11:9
"We are yours, O David, we are with you, O son of Jesse. Peace, peace to you, and peace to him who helps you; your God it is Who helps you." 1 Chronicles 12:19
For the Chronicler, the identity of people depended on their relationship with David. Our identity depends on our relationship with Jesus, the Son of David.
Prayer: Jesus, I am somebody because of You. I worship You.
Promise: "From day to day men kept coming to David's help until there was a vast encampment, like an encampment of angels." 12:23
"The ark of God remained in the house of Obed-edom with his family for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom's household and all that he possessed." 1 Chronicles 13:14
Wherever the ark is, there is God's special presence and power. But how can we become holy enough to stand in His presence? (Ps 15:1; Is 33:14) We can only stand in His presence by the power of the Spirit that makes us holy.
Prayer: Father, may Jesus' presence in the Eucharist be the focal point in my life.
Promise: "David and all Israel danced before God with great enthusiasm, amid songs and music on lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets." 13:8
"David now understood that the Lord had truly confirmed him as king over Israel, for his kingdom was greatly exalted, for the sake of his people Israel." 1 Chronicles 14:2
David was unbeatable because God was orchestrating the events of his life. If we are following Jesus as our Conductor, we too are part of the orchestra playing the divine symphony.
Prayer: Father, may the music of my life be pleasing to You.
Promise: "David's fame was spread abroad through every land, and the Lord made all the nations fear him." 14:17
"Thus David, the elders of Israel, and the commanders of thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with joy from the house of Obed-edom." 1 Chronicles 15:25
David mustered up enough courage to continue bringing the ark to Jerusalem. This time David insisted: "No one may carry the ark of God except the Levites" (15:2). He also "commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brethren as chanters, to play on musical instruments, harps, lyres, and cymbals, to make a loud sound of rejoicing" (15:16). Nevertheless, there was one casualty when the ark entered Jerusalem. Michal, David's wife, despised him when she saw him praising the Lord with abandon. She was childless from that point on.
Prayer: Father, may I be only what You want me to be, and may I praise You as You want me to praise.
Promise: "Thus all Israel brought back the ark of the covenant of the Lord with joyful shouting, to the sound of horns, trumpets, and cymbals, and the music of harps and lyres." 15:28
"He now appointed certain Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord." 1 Chronicles 16:4
The Chronicler believed that renewal was based on unity around the Davidic dynasty and praise focused on the ark and led by the Levites. To renew the Church today, we also need unity and praise in the Spirit.
Prayer: Father, enable us "to live in perfect harmony with one another according to the Spirit of Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and voice" we "may glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rm 15:5-6).
Promise: "Give thanks to the Lord, invoke His name; make known among the nations His deeds. Sing to Him, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds." 16:8-9
"All these words and this whole vision Nathan related exactly to David." 1 Chronicles 17:15
When David's heart was focused on praising the Lord and building the Temple, the Lord spoke to David through the prophet Nathan. He spoke to David about the astounding future of his family. David's kingdom would "be firmly established forever" (17:14). From David's family, the Messiah would come.
Prayer: Father, give me great revelations beyond the reach of my knowledge (Jer 33:3) as I praise You in the power of the Spirit.
Promise: "Since You, O Lord, are truly God and have promised this good thing to Your servant, and since You have deigned to bless the house of Your servant, so that it will remain forever since it is you, O Lord, Who blessed it, it is blessed forever." 17:26-27
"Thus the Lord made David victorious in all his campaigns." 1 Chronicles 18:13
After David has brought the ark to Jerusalem and focused the people on worshipping the Lord, he defeated the Philistines, Moabites, Hadadezer, the Arameans, and the Edomites. When we seek first God's kingdom, God provides everything else (Mt 6:33).
Prayer: Father, may I praise my way to victory.
Promise: "David reigned over all Israel and dispensed justice and right to all his people." 18:14
"They made peace with David and became his subjects." 1 Chronicles 19:19
This chapter is almost a word-for-word repetition of 2 Samuel 10. It even has the same number of verses. Contrast this with the next chapter where there is the omission of David's sins of adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah. The Chronicler rarely mentions anything negative about David.
Prayer: Father, may I not talk about the sins of others (see Eph 5:12).
Promise: "Hold steadfast and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and the cities of our God; then may the Lord do what seems best to Him." 19:13
"These were the descendants of the Raphaim of Gath who died at the hands of David and his servants." 1 Chronicles 20:8
David's forces could beat anybody, even the brother of Goliath and a giant with six fingers and six toes on each hand and foot.
Prayer: Father, use me to bring down Satan's strongholds (2 Cor 10:4).
"When he called upon the Lord, He answered him by sending down fire from heaven upon the altar of holocausts." 1 Chronicles 21:26
The Chronicler uncharacteristically mentions David's sins when he recounts David's census. But he had to bring this up to give the background for David's purchase of Ornan's threshing floor, which was the future site of the Temple. When we repent, the Lord can take even our sins and use them for His glory.
Prayer: Father, use my repentance to open the door for Your greatest works in my life.
Promise: "The Lord gave orders to the angel to return his sword to its sheath." 21:27
"For Solomon shall be his name, and in his time I will bestow peace and tranquility on Israel. It is he who shall build a house in My honor." 1 Chronicles 22:9-10
The selection of the site of the Temple goes back to David's sin of taking the census. Furthermore, Solomon, the builder of the Temple, is the offspring of Bathsheba, with whom David sinned by committing adultery. The location and the builder of the Temple is based on repentance from sin.
Prayer: Father, open my eyes to see that You are setting the stage for a great work in my life.
Promise: "He will be a peaceful man, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side." 22:9
"These were the sons of Levi according to their ancestral houses." 1 Chronicles 23:24
Once again, the Chronicler emphasizes the centrality of communal worship by counting the Levites and specifying their duties in performing "the work of the service of the house of the Lord" (23:24).
Prayer: Father, may communal worship of You be my heart's greatest desire and the center of my life.
Promise: "They must be present every morning to offer thanks and to praise the Lord, and likewise in the evening." 23:30
"David, with Zadok, a descendant of Eleazar, and Ahimelech, a descendant of Ithamar, assigned the functions for the priestly service." 1 Chronicles 24:3
David divided the priests into twenty-four groups to organize them in leading the worship in the Temple. Communal worship is seen as the most important thing a human being can do.
Prayer: Father, worship is one of the few things that will last forever. Stir into flame the Holy Spirit so that I may worship You in spirit and truth (Jn 4:24).
"All these, whether of Asaph, Jeduthun, or Heman, were under their fathers' direction in the singing in the house of the Lord to the accompaniment of cymbals, harps and lyres, serving in the house of God, under the guidance of the king." 1 Chronicles 25:6
David's choir had 288 voices, and all the members of the choir were full-time. This shows how important singing and worship were to the community.
Prayer: Father, may I sing to You several times a day.
Promise: "...under the direction of their father Jeduthun, who sang inspired songs to the accompaniment of a lyre, to give thanks and praise to the Lord." 25:3
"To these classes of gatekeepers, under their chief men, were assigned watches in the service of the house of the Lord." 1 Chronicles 26:12
Gatekeepers and treasurers were also part of the Temple personnel. When David made the Temple-worship the priority for his kingdom, he expressed this clearly by his accompanying allocation of funds and personnel.
Prayer: Father, may every calling to the priesthood or religious life be obeyed.
"This is the list of the Israelite family heads, commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and other officers who served the king." 1 Chronicles 27:1
David completed the organization of a society centered on Temple-worship by appointing magistrates, army commanders, tribal heads, and overseers.
Prayer: Father, may each part of Your Son's body be exactly what it was created to be.
"See then! The Lord has chosen you to build a house as His sanctuary. Take courage and set to work." 1 Chronicles 28:10
David had collected the material, organized the people, and provided the plan for the building of the Temple. Finally, he assembled all the leaders of Israel to commission Solomon to begin the work.
Prayer: Father, may I "lead the life of good deeds" You have prepared for me in advance (Eph 2:10).
Promise: "Be firm and steadfast; go to work without fear or discouragement, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or abandon you before you have completed all the work for the service of the house of the Lord." 28:20
"Thereafter Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king in place of his father David; he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him." 1 Chronicles 29:23
David pulled out all the stops by giving his personal fortune to the building of the Temple. Then he took up a collection from the leaders of the people. Next, he led the people in prayer. "And the whole assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their fathers, bowing down and prostrating themselves before the Lord and before the king" (29:20). "Then for a second time they proclaimed David's son Solomon king, and they anointed him as the Lord's prince, and Zadok as priest" (29:22). With all this accomplished, David died, as Jesus would later die, knowing he had finished what the Lord had called him to do (see Jn 19:30; Acts 20:24).
Prayer: "Blessed may You be, O Lord, God of Israel our Father, from eternity to eternity. Yours, O Lord, are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor, and glory" (29:10-11).
Promise: "He died at a ripe old age, rich in years and wealth and glory, and his son Solomon succeeded him as king." 29:28
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 Edward J. Gratsch, June 20, 1996
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 1996
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