"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.
"By obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves for a genuine love of your brothers." 1 Peter 1:22
Peter described the Christian life as "a life of obedience to Jesus Christ and purification with His blood" (1:2). The church of Peter's time was being made holy through purification and obedience in the midst of suffering.
Prayer: Father, may I express my faith and love by obeying Your commands that I most resist.
Promise: "Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, He Who in His great mercy gave us new birth." 1:3
"Such obedience is the will of God." 1 Peter 2:15
Through baptism, we have become "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation," the people of God (2:9). Therefore, we must "strip away everything vicious, everything deceitful; pretenses, jealousies, and disparaging remarks of any kind" (2:1). We do this by coming to Jesus. He will purify us by calling us to obey the government, our employers, and even unbelieving husbands.
Prayer: Father, may I gladly submit to those in authority over me.
Promise: "Beloved, you are strangers and in exile; hence I urge you not to indulge your carnal desires. By their nature they wage war on the soul." 2:11
"If it should be God's will that you suffer, it is better to do so for good deeds than for evil ones." 1 Peter 3:17
The life of obedience to Christ is a powerful threat to the world. Therefore, obedient Christians are likely to suffer persecution. As with Christ's sufferings, the persecutions Christians endure will lead people to God, so we should be happy "to suffer for justice' sake" (3:14).
Prayer: Father, may my Christian life be powerful enough to warrant persecution.
Promise: "In summary, then, all of you should be like-minded, sympathetic, loving toward one another, kindly disposed, and humble." 3:8
"Christ suffered in the flesh; therefore arm yourselves with His same mentality. He who has suffered in the flesh has broken with sin." 1 Peter 4:1
If we expect to suffer for Jesus, we will not be perturbed or surprised by persecution. We will then be able to remain calm so as to pray, love, and serve others by using our spiritual gifts. We should even rejoice in the measure that we share Christ's sufferings. This is a sign that "God's Spirit in Its glory has come to rest on" us (4:14).
Prayer: Father, may I not avoid suffering for You but rejoice in it.
Promise: "Accordingly, let those who suffer as God's will requires continue in good deeds, and entrust their lives to a faithful Creator." 4:19
"In your relations with one another, clothe yourselves with humility, because God 'is stern with the arrogant but to the humble He shows kindness.' " 1 Peter 5:5
Peter gives final directions to the elders and the youngsters. The "younger men must be obedient" to their elders (5:5). The elders should give the church "a shepherd's care" (5:2). They should "bow humbly under God's mighty hand" (5:6), cast all our cares on the Lord, "stay sober and alert" (5:8), and resist the devil. Then "the God of all grace, Who called you to His everlasting glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish those who have suffered a little while. Dominion be His throughout the ages! Amen" (5:10-11).
Prayer: Father, may I respect my elders and be an example to young people.
Promise: "When the chief Shepherd appears you will win for yourselves the unfading crown of glory." 5:4
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