"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.
"Ah, you are beautiful, my beloved, ah, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves!" Songs of Songs 1:15
It is providential that this book follows Ecclesiastes. We move from agony to the ecstasy of true married love, which is a sacrament of Christ's love for the Church (Eph 5:32).
Prayer: Lord, "draw me!" (1:4)
Promise: "With you we rejoice and exult, we extol your love; it is beyond wine: how rightly you are loved!" 1:4
"Hark! my lover here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills." Song of songs 2:8
This book of the Bible is the greatest love-poem ever written. By the power of the Spirit, enjoy, experience, and feel the poetry of God's love.
Prayer: Jesus, may it be obvious to everyone that my relationship with You is personal, attractive, exciting, and joyful.
Promise: "He brings me into the banquet hall and his emblem over me is love." 2:4
"What is this coming up from the desert, like a column of smoke laden with myrrh, with frankincense, and with the perfume of every exotic dust? Ah, it is the litter of Solomon." Song of Songs 3:6-7
The bride is overwhelmed by the prospect of marrying King Solomon. But we have a marriage-relationship with One Who is greater than Solomon (Lk 11:31). We are covenanted with God Himself. Are you overwhelmed with joy?
Prayer: Jesus, I take You "for better, for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health."
Promise: "I will rise then and go about the city; in the streets and crossings I will seek him whom my heart loves." 3:2
"You are all-beautiful, my beloved, and there is no blemish in you." Song of Songs 4:7
Jesus is coming back for "a glorious church, holy and immaculate, without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort" (Eph 5:27).
Prayer: Jesus, beautify and purify me "in the bath of water by the power of the word" (Eph 5:26).
Promise: "How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride." 4:10
"I sought him but I did not find him; I called to him but he did not answer me." Song of Songs 5:6
Once again (3:2), the bride feels she has lost contact with the groom. We sometimes feel out of touch with Jesus, but He has not left us. He is near, even when we don't feel it.
Prayer: Jesus, may I persevere in daily, committed prayer, especially when my prayer is "dry."
Promise: "My lover put his hand through the opening; my heart trembled within me, and I grew faint when he spoke. I rose to open to my lover." 5:4-5
"Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun, as awe-inspiring as bannered troops?" Song of Songs 6:10
True love is always at a loss for words. "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor 2:9).
Promise: "Before I knew it, my heart had made me the blessed one of my kinswomen." 6:12
"I belong to my lover and for me he yearns. Come, my lover, let us go forth to the fields and spend the night among the villages." Song of Songs 7:11-12
The Church and the Bible clearly affirm the goodness and sanctity of sex in marriage.
Prayer: Father, thank You for creating us male and female. Thank You for marriage.
Promise: "How beautiful you are, how pleasing, my love, my delight! Your very figure is like a palm tree." 7:7-8
"For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire." Song of Songs 8:6
Without love, nothing is of value (1 Cor 13:1-3). "Love never fails" (1 Cor 13:8). They'll know we are Christians by our love (Jn 13:35).
Prayer: Father, You are love. May I abide in love and abide in You. May You abide in me (1 Jn 4:16).
Promise: "Deep waters cannot quench love, nor floods sweep it away. Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love, he would be roundly mocked." 8:7
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 Ralph J. Lawrence, November 17, 1997
Imprimatur: Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 19, 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