Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Great Adventure Bible Study

To view ALL Great Adventure entries go to:

I have just started The Great Adventure Bible Study Course by Jeff Cavin.

What a great way to study the Bible! The chronological story & timeline is taking us from covenant to covenant. Bible stories I have heard all of my life fit like puzzle pieces into the bigger story of salvation history. Here is the Basic Lesson Overview.


Beginning “in the beginning,” Lesson #2 discusses what happened in the Garden of Eden. Moving through the common questions about creation, evolution, and Adam and Eve, this Lesson teaches how to read the first few chapters of Genesis and shows why understanding the beginning of the story is so essential to understanding our own role in it.

In Lesson #3, we climb the family tree, taking a look at the historical narrative in Genesis, beginning with Abraham. We find out who “begat” whom and what this means to people living thousands of years later. This lesson also focuses on specific characters and how each of them, lived out the invitation to surrender to God and trust Him completely.
The question that reoccurs is, “Do you thrust your God?” That there are consequences to disobeying God become crystal clear.

This lesson gives a fresh perspective on classic figures like Moses, obscure characters like Rahab, misunderstood personalities like Samson, and little known people like Ruth.

You will take a deeper look at the seemingly “tough love” of God, the hardness of the hearts of His children, and the merciful opportunity God gives us to start over after we fall.

In Lesson #5, we learn what happens when God gives us what we want rather than what we need. Study will focus on the highs and lows of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, learning the lesson the children of God should have learned along the way: that there is a God and that “we are not Him.” Particular attention is paid to the themes of power, popularity, and pain as we examine the lives of the kings of Israel and Judah.

The sixth lesson walks through the little known periods of the Exile (to Babylon), the return to Israel, the rise of the Greek Empire, and the Maccabean Revolt. We discover some of the most exciting figures and situations in the entire Bible!


This lesson offers everything people have been waiting for (even if they don’t yet know it)—a chance to encounter Jesus Christ in a personal way. Here we walk through the story of Christ, learning about Mary, St. Joseph, and others that Jesus touched. We are taught to look through an entirely new lens, one that shows us in a profound way just how much God really loves us. Far from being “the same old story,” this lesson draws life from the Bible texts and gives fresh breath to a Gospel that some may have long ago written off.

This final lesson begins with Jesus’ resurrection and walks through a brief history of the early Church. Focusing on the lives of the apostles and St. Paul, we will learn how the story of salvation history is still being lived out in our own lives and how we can “enter into” the story ourselves.. We'll see that we are not merely an “extra” in a movie but are playing a central role. Also, we will learn the importance of making prayer a regular part of our lives.

Theological Statement concerning The Great Adventure’s Approach to Scripture
The primary purpose of The Great Adventure Bible Study Series is to provide a simple catechesis to Catholics on Scripture. Although its authors and instructors are well-steeped in Catholic biblical scholarship, The Great Adventure is catechetical in nature and does not treat Scripture in an academic manner. The goal of the program is modest—namely, to introduce Catholics to Scripture and provide them with a basic biblical literacy.

Given its catechetical and evangelistic nature, The Great Adventure focuses on the final form of the text, using what is often referred to as a canonical or narrative approach to Scripture. This approach is common throughout the Catholic tradition. Hugh of St. Victor, for example, in his Didascalicon, writes that the best way to teach Scripture is to start with the narrative books so that the beginning student can grasp the overall story of the Bible before diving into more complicated matters. The list of books that Hugh suggests is nearly identical to the books used in The Great Adventure Bible Timeline study (see The Didascalicon of Hugh of St. Victor, book six, chapter three.) In 1993, the Pontifical Biblical Commission, in its document The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, observed that recent developments in biblical scholarship have emphasized canonical criticism, i.e., the final form of the text. This approach, both ancient and new, is characteristic of our method.

Although the catechetical nature of The Great Adventure commends the synchronic methods of biblical interpretation, we also fully embrace the diachronic methods that are indispensable to understanding the final form of the sacred text. In order to understand the intentions of the human authors, whom God inspired, one must be attentive to their historical circumstances, culture, and modes of writing (see Dei Verbum, no. 12). The text of Scripture must always be studied within its historical context. As such, The Great Adventure series always seeks to use history and its related fields of study to shed light on the biblical text. The authors of The Great Adventure therefore recognize and employ diverse methods to help discover both the human and divine aspects of Sacred Scripture.

Jeff Cavins developed The Great Adventure in 1984 when he realized that many Christians did not grasp “the big picture” of the Bible. Though people knew selected stories, they were not able to connect them into a full narrative. His answer was to identify the books of the Bible that tell the story from beginning to end. By reading just those 14 “narrative” books, a chronological story emerges. From this idea grew the immensely popular Bible Timeline program, that teaches the story in a way that is easy to remember, and helps people to continue reading Scripture on their own. Hundreds of thousands of people have learned to read the Bible through this system.

The Bible Timeline is Step One in a four-part foundational Bible study. Step Two, Adventures in Matthew: The King and His Kingdom, focuses on Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises of the Old Testament touching on Jesus’ establishment of the Church and the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Building on The Bible Timeline and Adventures in Matthew is Step Three, Adventures in Acts: Foundations of the Church and Spread of the Kingdom. By showing how Christ’s work continues through each of us in the Church today. Step 4, Adventures in Revelation completes the foundational series by demonstrating how the Kingdom established by Christ in the Church is intimately connected with the Kingdom of God in Heaven, especially through the celebration of the Mass.

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