September 19, 2020
Simple Bible Reading Guide
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"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.
Nah 1 — A JEALOUS GOD
"The Lord is slow to anger, yet great in power, and the Lord never leaves the guilty unpunished." Nahum 1:3
"A jealous and avenging God is the Lord, an Avenger is the Lord, and angry; the Lord brings vengeance on His adversaries, and lays up wrath for His enemies" (1:2). In Nahum's time, God's enemies were the brutal Assyrians. Nahum hated the Assyrians as much as Jonah did, but, while Jonah's mission was one of mercy, Nahum's mission was one of announcing God's judgment against Assyria.
Prayer: Father, may I repent and receive Your mercy before You have no choice but to give me Your justice.
Promise: "The Lord is good, a Refuge on the day of distress; He takes care of those who have recourse to Him." 1:7
Nah 2 — "THE WAGES OF SIN" (Rm 6:23)
"Emptiness, desolation, waste; melting hearts and trembling knees, writhing in every frame, every face blanched!" Nahum 2:11
The driving, shocking power of this poetic description of the fall of Nineveh is almost impossible to translate into another language. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the meaning of this chapter (Jn 14:26).
Prayer: Father, may I want my enemies to repent rather than to be destroyed.
Promise: "See, upon the mountains there advances the bearer of good news, announcing peace! Celebrate your feasts, O Judah, fulfill your vows!" 2:1
Nah 3 — UNSTOPPABLE?
"There is no healing for your hurt, your wound is mortal. All who hear this news of you clap their hands over you; for who has not been overwhelmed, steadily, by your malice?" Nahum 3:19
Without repentance there was nothing to stop the destruction of Nineveh. Contrast this book with the book of Jonah.
Prayer: Father, by repenting, may I stop the destruction of my country, church, and family.
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
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