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.
Col 1 — FULL-FILLED
"It pleased God to make absolute fullness reside in Him and, by means of Him, to reconcile everything in His person, both on earth and in the heavens, making peace through the blood of His cross." Colossians 1:19-20
In Christ is absolute fullness. In Him, we can attain:
- "full knowledge" of God's will (1:9),
- full sufferings (1:24),
- "His word in its fullness" (1:25),
- "the full measure of wisdom" (1:28), and
- "full assurance" (2:2).
Prayer: Jesus, may I be "complete" in You (1:28).
Promise: "In Him everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations, principalities or powers; all were created through Him, and for Him." 1:16
Col 2 — CULTS AND CONFUSIONS
"I tell you all this so that no one may delude you with specious arguments." Colossians 2:4
The Colossians were tempted to rely on an empty, seductive philosophy which followed "mere human traditions, a philosophy based on cosmic powers rather than on Christ" (2:8). The secular humanism of today is a similar temptation. Paul warned the Colossians: "Live in Christ Jesus the Lord, in the spirit in which you received Him. Be rooted in Him and built up in Him, growing ever stronger in faith" (2:6-7). If we are firmly committed to Jesus, we will not fall for secular humanism, the new age, cults, TM, the Enneagram, astrology, reincarnation, and other confusions.
Prayer: Jesus, may I never seek power from anyone or anything other than You. Give me the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits (1 Cor 12:10).
Promise: "Thus did God disarm the principalities and powers. He made a public show of them and, leading them off captive, triumphed in the person of Christ." 2:15
Col 3 — ON EARTH AS IN HEAVEN
"Be intent on things above rather than on things of earth." Colossians 3:2
After having focused on the exalted place of Jesus as Messiah, Lord, and God, Paul applied this reality to our everyday life: "Since you have been raised up in company with Christ, set your heart on what pertains to higher realms where Christ is seated at God's right hand" (3:1). "Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth" (3:5). When we set our hearts on heaven, then our earthly lives especially our marriages, families, and jobs are transformed and put at the feet of the exalted Christ.
Prayer: Father, in Jesus may Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven (Mt 6:10).
Promise: "Because you are God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you." 3:12-13
Col 4 — PRAY, PRAY, PRAY...
"Pray for us, too, that God may provide us with an opening to proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am a prisoner. Pray that I may speak clearly, as I must." Colossians 4:3-4
How can we be "complete in Christ"? (1:28) We must "pray perseveringly, be attentive to prayer, and pray in a spirit of thanksgiving" (4:2). Let us plead "earnestly in prayer" that we stand firm, "be perfect and have full conviction about whatever pertains to God's will" (4:12).
Prayer: Father, may I pray as I've never prayed before.
Promise: "Be prudent in dealing with outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your speech be always gracious and in good taste, and strive to respond properly to all who address you." 4:5-6
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
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