"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.
"Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery?" Habakkuk 1:3
Habakkuk complained to God because of the imminent destruction of Judah by the Babylonians. The Lord responded that He had everything under control. He was merely using Babylon to chastise His people.
Prayer: Father, when I don't understand what's happening, may I trust You rather than panic.
Promise: "Look over the nations and see, and be utterly amazed! For a work is being done in your days that you would not have believed, were it told." 1:5
"I will stand at my guard post, and station myself upon the rampart, and keep watch to see what He will say to me, and what answer He will give to my complaint." Habakkuk 2:1
God's first response to the prophet's complaint was not satisfactory to Habakkuk. So he waited for God's further comments. The Lord answered: "For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash man has no integrity; but the just man, because of his faith, shall live" (2:3-4). Woe to those who have no faith in the Lord and obey Him not (2:6, 9, 12, 15, 19).
Prayer: Father, may I hold on to Your promise for as long as it takes.
Promise: "The Lord is in His holy temple; silence before Him, all the earth!" 2:20
"God, my Lord, is my Strength; He makes my feet swift as those of hinds and enables me to go upon the heights." Habakkuk 3:19
Habakkuk obeyed the Lord's command to wait in faith no matter what the circumstances. He promised: "For though the fig tree blossom not nor fruit be on the vines, though the yield of the olive fail and the terraces produce no nourishment, though the flocks disappear from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet will I rejoice in my saving God" (3:17-18).
Prayer: Jesus, I believe in what You say rather than in what I see.
Promise: "You come forth to save Your people." 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 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