Bible Timeline Study, the beginning of a Great Adventure

Updated January 14, 2021

One session into the 24-week Bible Timeline Study by Jeff Cavins (sessions are free at this host parish), part of the Great Adventure series, and I am thoroughly hooked. After class I drove to a favorite place for lunch, where they have wi-fi, and ordered the Study Kit. You can get it from Ascension Press. [CD’s and DVD’s can be purchased separately.]

Included in each kit are Study Questions and Responses (each is 100 pages, 8.5 x 11″), 33 full-color Bible Timeline Chart, Bible Timeline Study Workbook, full-color laminated Bookmark, and a Memory Bead Wristband. A customized D-Ring binder holds all materials. Each component of the Complete Study Kit contributes to the effectiveness of this color-coded, multi-sensory study. This comprehensive approach presents the story of salvation in a compelling and effective way so that the bible study participant not only learns “the big picture” but is able to retain it.

I’ve watched part of this series on EWTN before but this is the first time I’ll be able to take advantage of the color-coded timeline chart, special color-coded Bible tabs, and the workbook which ties the Catechism in with the study of the Scriptures, and the mnemonic device of the color-coded beads.

But Jeff’s genius does not end there. As he says in the introduction, to paraphrase: When we first begin to read the Bible, we tend to either plow through it from beginning to end (I’ve done this, and I was very confused when I finished) or we tend to read it out of order which keeps our interest for a while, but this way we never do develop the ability to see the Big Picture. We lose the thread of the narrative somewhere around Leviticus I and we never get it back because we tend to run low on enthusiasm and interest. Our hit or miss approach does not fare much better. We tend to lose interest when we lose sight of the plot. It’s stories we want, all of us, it’s simply a part of who we are.

Great Adventure, Journey Through the Bible

So how does Cavins propose that we get a grip on the story? By reading the books that tell the story first, and letting those books provide the background, the context, against which the other books will take on meaning and significance for us that we missed before. The chart below (copied from the free pdf) shows the 12 periods and 14 narrative books we’ll be reading in class. All of the other books of the Bible fit somewhere in those periods and should be read in context with their associated narrative books. This way we begin to see the story of salvation and we begin to reclaim history. His Story, the way history is meant to be understood: as pointing beyond the events, the milestones and markers of our lives to the One for and through all things were made. Amen.

The Great Adventure’s Narrative Timeline of Scripture

12 Periods: 14 Narrative Books
Early World: Genesis (1–11)
Patriarchs: Genesis (12–50)
Egypt and Exodus: Exodus
Desert Wanderings: Numbers
Conquest and Judges: Joshua, Judges; supplemental ‐‐ Ruth
Royal Kingdom: 1 and 2 Samuel; 1 Kings (1‐11)
Divided Kingdom: 1 Kings (12‐22); 2 Kings; supplemental ‐‐ Jonah
Exile: 2 Kings (17, 23‐25); supplemental ‐‐ Daniel
Return: Ezra; Nehemiah; supplemental ‐‐ Esther
Maccabean Revolt: 1 and 2 Maccabees
Messianic Fulfillment: Luke
The Church: Acts of the Apostles

Bibles recommended for use with the class

  • NAB (New American Bible, the authorized version for Catholics in the U.S. and some other places, used in the liturgy here; use it as long as you are aware of the problems with many of the footnotes, etc.)
  • And/or the RSV-CE (Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition).
  • Please also consider the RSV-SCE (Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition): excellent translation and notes and many corrections from the earlier versions. This is the one you generally see on EWTN.

For continuing study, consider the Ignatius Study Bible edited by Dr. Scott Hahn. It’s a series that still in progress, but the New Testament is complete, and many of the Old Testament books are complete, too. Hardcover. Paperback. Kindle. (Update: See related post: Some news about the Ignatius Study Bible.)

Full disclosure: When you make any purchase through my Amazon affiliate links (or my general Amazon link) on this site, I may make a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you. And thank you for your prayers and support.

7 thoughts on “Bible Timeline Study, the beginning of a Great Adventure

  1. Shirley

    Do you know where I can watch for free (ewtn?) the video of Jeff Cavins bible timeline? I am attending the series but our parish do not have the video presentation, only a set of questions from Jeff. Kind of group discussion setting.

    Shirley of holy trinity church


    1. Greetings, Shirley! I don’t know where you can get the video for free. The audio is available through EWTN’s audio library and I’ve linked to it on my resource pages. You can watch EWTN live via their website, and many shows are archived on their YouTube channel. But the video version of Our Father’s Plan is available only for purchase, as far as I know. You can get it through EWTN or Amazon. That’s all I know. That’s one of my favorite Bible studies, glad you’re enjoying it too. Peace be with you, Shirley. :)


  2. Janis Wyatt

    My Husband, Roy and I just started the Bible Timeline Study this week. We are looking forward to this special study that Jeff Cavins put together. I will be looking forward to your feedback on this. I was happy and surprised to see you speaking of the Bible Timeline Study. I’m sure God wanted me to see this. I don’t believe this is just a coincidence. So, thank you!
    Sincerely, Janis Wyatt


    1. Hi, Janis! I’m glad you’re taking the classes too! They’re turning off the internet here and closing up, but I’ll go to another shop and finish my comment. Talk to ya in a bit.

      Peace be with you, Janis, you and Roy too. :)


    2. Okay, I’m in a different spot now. I wanted to reply to you at greater length, Janis. I don’t know if you’ve ever had an opportunity to see Our Father’s Plan by Scott Hahn and Jeff Cavins on EWTN, but it’s similar to the Great Adventure. They split each show into two segments: in one segment Jeff gives a big overview in OFP and then Scott goes into more depth, as much depth has he can fit into the one-hour format, anyway.

      I’ve listened to OFP over and over and over again and have introduced many friends to it. Scott Hahn is one of the reasons I fell in love with Holy Mother Church and Jeff Cavins is a gifted teacher in his own right.

      Listen to or download the free MP3’s of Our Father’s Plan from EWTN’s Audio Library.

      Also helpful is Scott Hahn’s wonderful book. A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture. This book opened up the beauty, the meaning and the story of salvation history in the Bible for me when it was published in 1998. I was only 2 years into the Faith then and hungry for more understanding. Scott’s books and talks always deliver.

      May you and your husband grow in love and understanding through your shared study of the Holy Scriptures, Janis. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you both. And with anyone else reading these words.

      Disciple :)


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