Reading the Bible

Resources for Helping Children & Adults Engage the Bible Story

A key spiritual discipline is to develop and maintain the habit of reading the Bible on a regular basis. This page contains a summary of some helpful techniques and resources for readers of all ages.

We highly recommend The Great Adventure Bible Timeline developed by Jeff Cavins and published by Ascension Press.

This unique approach focuses on helping readers see the big picture of the Story of the Bible.

  • It simplifies the Bible by focusing on 14 narrative books that tell the story of Scripture from beginning to end.
  • It divides the Story into 12 time periods, like chapters in Salvation History.
  • It ties all of Scripture together by following God’s “family plan” from Adam and Eve to Christ and the Church.

12 Periods:                             14  Books:

1.  Early World                          Genesis 1-11

2.  Patriarchs                           Genesis 12-50

3.  Egypt and Exodus                 Exodus

4.  Desert Wanderings                Numbers

5.  Conquest and Judges            Joshua; Judges; Samuel 1-8

6.  Royal Kingdom                     1 Samuel 9-31; 2 Samuel; 1 Kings 1-11

7.  Divided Kingdom                  1 Kings 12-22; 2 Kings 1-16

8.  Exile                                  2 Kings 17-25

9.  Return                               Ezra; Nehemiah

10.  Maccabean Revolt              1 Maccabees

11.  Messianic Fulfillment           Luke

12.  The Church                       Acts

Additionally, this approach identifies 70 key stories from the above 14 books that fit together to  tell the Story of the Bible from beginning to end across all 12 time periods. This is a concrete and very practical way to grasp the unifying story which is salvation history.

Resources for using The Great Adventure Bible Timeline approach:
This learning system has been around for over 20 years. It began as an adult Bible Study program, spawned children's resources, and is now exploding in popularity with The Bible in a Year podcast which launched in 2021.

Adults: 
The Bible in a Year Podcast:

Probably the easiest way to immerse yourself in the Bible with a daily 20-30 minute podcast hosted by Fr Mike Schmitz and featuring Jeff Cavins. Available on all podcast platforms and on YouTube. You don't have to wait for Jan 1 to begin; just start with episode one whenever you are ready.  
- Tambien en Español: La Biblia en un Año con Fray Sergio Serrano, OP y Padre Dempsey Acosta.
- You may also download The Official 365 Day Reading Plan for The Bible in a Year PDF.


Bible Studies:
The Great Adventure Bible Studies are available in two formats offering online video presentations and supporting study materials. These have been used for parish Bible study groups in the past and may also be purchased individually for viewing at home. 
- 8-Session "Quick Journey" Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible
- 24-Session "In-Depth Exploration" The Bible Timeline: The Story of Salvation
- Walking with God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins is a book-length presentation of the material from the Bible Studies listed above. Available wherever books are sold.

Children:
Ascension Press calls their K-6+ materials God's Plan in Scripture (GPS). It uses the same approach as the adult The Great Adventure Bible Timeline. The key component is the Storybook which includes the approximately 120 short stories that form the Story of the Bible written for young readers aged 5-12. (They have marketed this as a 24-lesson package with additional workbooks targeted for each age bracket but the same Storybook used throughout.)
   - God's Plan in Scripture (GPS) Storybook

The Kids Catholic Bible Chronicles offers 70 key stories in longer formats which provide a bit more detail; designed for readers aged 8-12. 
   - The Great Adventure Kids Catholic Bible Chronicles (ages 8-12)

You may also use the following reading plan which lists the biblical book, chapter and verse, for each story so you can read it from any Bible you wish: 
   - The Great Adventure Bible Reading Plan for Kids PDF.

Other Unique Bible Resources:
The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (series)
The best Catholic study Bible available with extensive notes on every page providing historical and theological commentary on the biblical text. Series authors Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch have completed the books of the New Testament and are working their way through the Old Testament. The New Testament may be purchased as a single volume or as separate booklets. Old Testament books are currently only available as separate booklets.

Word on Fire Bible
This truly beautiful new edition of the Bible seeks to evangelize. It is intended for new readers of the Bible and does not attempt to duplicate the many study Bibles or devotional Bibles already available. The biblical text is surrounded with commentary and explanations from Bishop Robert Barron, the Church Fathers, and many of the greatest saints, mystics, and scholars throughout Christian history, illuminating the biblical text in light of the great tradition. Seven volumes are planned:  two for the New Testament (both now available) and five for the Old Testament.