How to read the Bible

Think you know your Bible? Many Catholics fumble when it comes to Sacred Scripture. The Great Adventure Bible wants you to know it’s even better. Jeff Cavins, former EWTN host and best-selling author of “The Bible Timeline Chart,” among other books, will explain the “story” of the Bible on September 28 at Christ Cathedral.  

Hosted by Ascension Press, The Great Adventure Bible Timeline seminar marks the 15th anniversary of The Great Adventure Bible Timeline study, an in-depth, color-coded learning system resource to better understand the books of the Bible. Ascension Press published the “The Great Adventure Bible” in fall 2018, and it is currently the No. 1 best-selling Catholic Bible on Amazon. Christ Cathedral joins the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. as the two venues hosting the 1-day sessions. Under the instruction of Jeff Cavins, creator of the timeline study, the event seeks to equip registrants to confidently read and share the Bible. 

“The Great Adventure Bible Timeline study is a rock-solid foundation for anyone who struggles to read or understand the Bible,” said Josh Rudegeair, Ascension’s director of marketing. “One of the reasons many people struggle to read the Bible is because they try to read it all the way through from beginning to end,” he said. It is more like a library, with the different books of the Bible covering things as diverse as poetry, history, apocalypses, laws, and letters. The way to make sense of the Bible is to understand the story that ties all of it together. Only when you understand that ‘big picture’ will everything fall into place.” 

“The Great Adventure Bible Timeline is a great tool for learning the narrative arc of the Bible and connecting the dots between individual stories we’ve heard over and over again in the readings at Mass,” said Katie Dawson, Diocese of Orange’s director of Faith Formation. “Catholics are often intimidated by the size and scope of learning about the Bible,” Dawson said.  

The Great Adventure Bible seeks to alter that perception. “The Bible Timeline highlights the 14 narrative books of the Bible,” Rudegair explained, [those] you can read from beginning to end, chronologically, that tell the story of salvation.”  

Those 14 narrative books are: from the Old Testament, Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, I Maccabees, and from the New Testament, Luke and Acts. There are 73 books in the Bible. 

The key to the Timeline’s success is by broadening the scope to the ‘big picture,’ Rudegair said. That key is the story of salvation. Rudegair noted how frequently one opens reads parts of the Bible at random or piecemeal without understanding that bigger picture. “Once readers understand that ‘big picture,’ all the books make so much more sense,” Rudegair said. “[Readers] can be more confident reading the Bible on their own or in a Bible study. After The Bible Timeline [seminar], specific books of the Bible can be studied with the rest of the Great Adventure series,” Rudegair said. 

Ascension’s Great Adventure series, in addition to “The Great Adventure Bible,” Timeline chart, and companion book, offers additional study resources, materials geared towards children, Bible studies for teens, and a 24-lesson study through the whole of the Bible. Individual books are discussed by leading Biblical scholars, such as “Exodus: Called to Freedom,” with Dr. Tim Gray and Dr. Scott Powell.  

Jeff Cavins, creator of The Great Adventure Bible Timeline study program, spent 12 years as an evangelical pastor after being raised Catholic, but eventually returned to the Catholic Church. He honed the Bible Timeline study program at Franciscan University of Steubenville in the 1990s. He received his Master of Arts in Theology from Franciscan University in 1999. Cavins will be guiding attendees at the Sept. 28 seminar on equipping themselves with the timeline’s tools. 

“Participants in The Great Adventure Bible Timeline Study seminar can be expected to have that entire system explained to them in one day,” Rudegair said. “They will leave, chart in hand, with a firm understanding of the big picture of the entire Bible, the historic and symbolic context of every single book in the Bible, and the confidence to pick up their Bible and start reading it. Once they understand this system, they will be set up to read the Bible for the rest of their lives.”  

“It’s great that Ascension is providing this opportunity for training in using this tool and I hope many of our local leaders will take advantage of it,” Dawson said. 

The Great Adventure Bible Timeline event is suitable for individuals, parish groups, or diocesan staff. Lunch is included, and attendees may choose to register with an option to purchase “The Great Adventure Bible” at a value rate. For more information or to register, visit ascensionpress.com/pages/tga-events.

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