When I first moved back to New Jersey from Brooklyn five years ago, a group of women in my parish were gearing up to start a Bible study program they’d heard about. I was looking for community, and they had kids my kids’ ages, so I readily joined. I had no idea how much of a game changer the eight meetings we had together would be — for both our friendships and for my experience of the Mass.
The program was Jeff Cavins’ The Great Adventure Bible study program (what I later learned was the short version). A former Protestant minister, Cavins converted to Catholicism in large part because, when he dug deeply into Scripture, he discovered how much of the Mass is drawn right from those texts. Needless to say, he has a tremendous love for the Church and for God’s Word. In his presentations, Cavins is intelligent and approachable.
Through a series of DVDs and discussions, our group looked at 14 books of the Bible that form a linear storyline. Cavins also divides salvation history into twelve color-coded time periods with snazzy names to help you remember them. The idea is that you read through these 14 books and get the basic chronology of salvation history, and then you can fit any other reading in the entire Bible into context by checking which time period it falls in. We had a laminated timeline, a more condensed bookmark, and even a bracelet with pony beads to help us remember the colors (slash keep our kids occupied while we talked Scripture).
As we worked through the program, my experience of the Mass was drastically changed, so much so that the program is in the recommended reading at the end of my book. Things that used to be so obscure now had a place! There were still cultural differences and historical contexts I wasn’t familiar with, but I connected so many more of the pieces than I ever had before. The other women had a similar experience, to the point that our parish ran the extended version of the study a few years later.
The Bible opened up to me in a whole new way. I can’t recommend The Great Adventure strongly enough, and I am so beyond thrilled that the program is now incorporated into the Bible itself.
The Great Adventure Catholic Bible has everything you need, all in one place — no pony beads required! The pages are color-coded at the edges, and there are descriptions of the timeline and key points throughout. It’s beautifully crafted, with two ribbons (I love ribbons!), legible text, and bright colors. I love the 90-day program up front that guides you through those 14 books, so that the rest falls into place in short order.
The work that Cavins and his team have done is invaluable to the Catholic world. That this program is now worked into an edition of the Bible is huge and such a gift. If you don’t know where to start with the Bible, or you just want to dig in deeper, buy a copy of this Bible. Make that two or three, since you’re going to want to give one to everyone you know.
What’s your favorite fun fact about the Bible? Mine — that I learned from The Great Adventure — is that when God told Abraham, “count the stars, if you are able … So shall your descendants be,” it was daytime! Abraham couldn’t even see the stars. God was asking him to trust in what he couldn’t physically see. And Abraham did!
Share your favorite Bible bit below!
Visit our Book Notes archive.
Copyright 2018 Lindsay Schlegel
This article contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchases through these links benefit the author.