"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.
"In his teaching he must hold fast to the authentic message, so that he will be able both to encourage men to follow sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it." Titus 1:9
The church of Crete was a mess. Paul said: "There are many irresponsible teachers, especially from among the Jewish converts men who are empty talkers and deceivers" (1:10). "They are upsetting whole families by teaching things they have no right to teach and all for sordid gain! A man of Crete, one of their own prophets, has testified, 'Cretans have ever been liars, beasts, and lazy gluttons,' and that is the simple truth!" (1:11-13) "They are disgusting intractable and thoroughly incapable of any decent action" (1:16). Paul had the nerve to send Titus into this seemingly impossible situation to appoint leaders for the churches in every Cretan town.
Prayer: Father, raise up exceptional leaders to correct abuses and errors in the Church.
Promise: Paul was sent "to promote their knowledge of the truth as our religion embodies it, in the hope of that eternal life which God, Who cannot lie, promised in endless ages past." 1:1-2
"Your teaching must have the integrity of serious, sound words to which no one can take exception. If it does, no opponent will be able to find anything bad to say about us, and hostility will yield to shame." Titus 2:8
Titus tried to straighten out the Cretan church by:
These simple steps will begin to bring order to the church.
Prayer: Father, may I die to self and submit to authority so as to be pleasing in Your sight.
Promise: "The grace of God has appeared, offering salvation to all men. It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires, and live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age as we await our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus." 2:11-12
"I want you to lay great weight on the things I have been saying, so that those who have committed themselves to God may be careful to do what is right. This is what is good and advantageous for men." Titus 3:8
We Christians are the only Bible many people will ever read. We are in the spotlight and people judge Christianity by what they see in us. Therefore, we are "not to speak evil of anyone or be quarrelsome" (3:2). We "must be forbearing and display a perfect courtesy toward all" (3:2). May everything about us draw others to Jesus.
Prayer: Father, may I be a sign pointing to You.
Promise: "When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us; not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the baptism of new birth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit He lavished on us through Jesus Christ our Savior." 3:4-6
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