The Guinness Book of World Records says that the Bible is the best selling and most distributed book of all time – in 1995, this included an estimated 5 BILLION copies translated into 349 different languages. Twenty-five years later, that number has surely increased (and that would be without counting people accessing the Bible via apps or the internet!) What is it about the Scriptures that so many to them? In the fourth century St. Jerome, who spent thirty years of his life translating the Bible into Latin (the “Vulgate”), famously said that “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” For those of us who identify as Christians, the Bible represents one of the easiest places to both encounter Jesus and to learn our story.
While many people would agree that it’s a good thing to read the Bible… actually doing so can be a bit harder. That’s because the Bible isn’t just any other book. The word “Bible” itself comes from an old latin word biblia, which means ‘a collection of books,’ a term which aptly describes the collection of 73 books that make up today’s Catholic Bible. These seventy-three books are written in multiple genres by numerous authors who lived in a very different world than we do today – which is a big part of why people can get so lost when they try to read it.
In my own life, I owe a great debt to two modern day Bible scholars who helped me make sense of things. One is Dr. Scott Hahn, a former presbyterian minister and a professor of mine at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Dr. Hahn is the one who helped me understand that covenants are the key to unlocking all that’s going on in the Bible. The other is Jeff Cavins, a Catholic who left the Church, became an evangelical pastor, and then returned to the Church. One of Cavins’ major projects is the Great Adventure Bible Study, which describes fourteen books of the Bible as narrative books – these fourteen tell the story from creation to the establishment of the Church, and all the other books of the Bible are best understood in the context of this story.
And so this year, for the ten school communities I serve as Chaplain in Evergreen Catholic Schools, I’m inviting you to join me in studying these fourteen books: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 Maccabees, Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The study will run from October 5, 2020 until April 30, 2021.
- The idea is that from Monday to Saturday, you’ll need to read two or three chapters from the Bible (which means when you miss a day here or there, Sundays can be a catch-up day.)
- Every Monday morning, I’ll have a post on this site (mikeisthird.com) outlining what you need to do this week (put your email address into the subscription box below and you’ll receive a weekly email from me!)
- I’ll be posting videos from time to time that will help you make sense of what you’re about to read or to explain a particularly difficult or confusing section of our study.
I’ll be posting everything on this Bible Study page: a printable checklist for the books & chapters we’ll be reading, links to the videos and weekly updates, and any other resources that I come across from time to time. If you have any questions, please use the contact form to get in touch… otherwise, I look forward to diving into scripture with you over the coming school year!