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.
Zeph 1 — THE DAY
"I will completely sweep away all things from the face of the earth, says the Lord." Zephaniah 1:2
Because of Judah's idolatrous and worldly ways, Zephaniah announced: "Near is the great day of the Lord, near and very swiftly coming, hark, the day of the Lord! bitter, then, the warrior's cry. A day of wrath is that day, a day of anguish and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of thick black clouds, a day of trumpet blasts and battle alarm" (1:14-16).
Prayer: Father, I repent now before the day of destruction.
Promise: "Silence in the presence of the Lord God!." 1:7
Zeph 2 — DISCIPLING THE NATIONS (Mt 28:19)
"The remnant of My people shall plunder them, the survivors of My nation dispossess them." Zephaniah 2:9
The Philistines, Cretans, Moabites, Ammonites, Cushites, and Assyrians will be destroyed on the day of God's judgment. Finally, however, "all the coastlands of the nations shall adore Him" (2:11). This prophecy was partially fulfilled at Pentecost (see Acts 2:9-11).
Prayer: Jesus, I will be Your witness beginning right here and extending to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Promise: "Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth, who have observed His law; seek justice, seek humility; perhaps you may be sheltered on the day of the Lord's anger." 2:3
Zeph 3 — THE REMNANT
"I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord." Zephaniah 3:12
Jerusalem will be destroyed because of its sins, but a remnant will be spared. The Lord will rejoice over us, renew us in His love, and sing joyfully because of us. The Lord promised us: "At that time I will bring you home, and at that time I will gather you; for I will give you renown and praise, among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring about your restoration before your very eyes, says the Lord" (3:20).
Prayer: Father, I rejoice with You in my repentance and restoration (Lk 15:7).
Promise: "For then I will change and purify the lips of the peoples, that they all may call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord." 3:9
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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