Want to Start Reading the Bible? We Can Help!

The Bible is the most important book in the Catholic Church. It is the inspired Word of God and it is one of the ways that God communicates with his people, even today.

We hear it read aloud at Mass every Sunday and recognize how important it is to our Catholic Faith.

Many Catholics have tried to read the Bible throughout their lives but almost all express a desire to read it more. One of the most common questions we hear from these Catholics is “Where do I start?”

Even with a deep desire to read and understand God’s Word, sitting down to read Scripture can be difficult. It is even more frustrating when you don’t understand what you’re reading.

If this sounds like your experience, we can help!

For more than two decades, Ascension has been helping Catholics read and understand the Bible. For thousands of Catholics, reading the Bible has become the best part of every day.

They finally understand how God communicates with his people through Scripture. They finally recognize how the Bible relates to their daily lives. They finally hear God's voice in Scripture.

This can be your experience, too! Understanding the Bible is easy if you know how to read it—and we can teach you!


Finally, a Way to Understand

“I have tried to read the Bible many times in my long life and this is the first time I understand ... Studying with this Bible is a joy and I am beginning to understand that the challenges of so many centuries ago are exactly the same as today. Same problems, different players! The narrative before each section is beyond helpful. Such an approach is positively from the Holy Spirit. Thank you very, very much. Finally. A great effort.”

—Patricia F.


The best Bible we've ever had!

“This Bible makes reading the Bible easy, fun, and something I look forward to every day. I never knew how to read the Bible or pray with it until getting The Great Adventure Catholic Bible.”

—Wesley F.


Love it! 🎶🎉

“I am really loving this Bible! I have so many Bibles and yet I’ve had difficulty really connecting to them, but this one just seems to come alive! Together with Fr. Mike’s Bible in a Year podcast, I feel this Bible is bringing new revelation to me in Christ Jesus that is greatly encouraging my growth in my Catholic Faith. Thanks so much!🙏🏻”

—Lisa H.

14 Books of the Bible Tell the Story of Salvation.

The Word of God tells the story of salvation, the story of God’s people since the beginning of time. This story does not always seem like a happy one, but it reveals how God has formed a relationship with humanity throughout the ages and how he wants to form a relationship with you, too.

But the Bible is not written like a normal book. Though it has a continuous story, it is difficult to understand this story by reading it cover to cover, like a novel. Instead, the Bible is best understood by looking at the characters and events in their historical and literary contexts.

Each book of the Bible was written by a human author, with God’s divine guidance, at a specific time in history. For example, the events of Exodus took place before those of the Gospel of Luke. When organized according to this historical timeline, there are 12 distinct biblical time periods.

Click to expand the 12 time periods below to reveal the key moments in the story of salvation that took place in each biblical period.

Early World (Genesis)

God creates an ordered and good world, but Adam and Eve’s disobedience leads to separation from God and tragic consequences. Cain kills Abel and the world is flooded and re-populated by the righteous Noah.

Patriarchs (Genesis)

God calls Abraham to leave his homeland and beget a great nation. Abraham obeys God, and his son Isaac fathers Jacob who becomes the father of twelve sons, the ancestors of the twelve tribes of Israel. His youngest son Joseph becomes a powerful ruler in Egypt.

Exodus (Exodus)

The descendants of Jacob, the Israelites, are oppressed in Egypt and led to freedom by Moses through the 10 plagues. God gives the Israelites the 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai and makes a covenant with them. Moses builds the Ark of the Covenant and the Israelites experience God’s presence in the desert.

Desert Wanderings (Numbers)

God guides the Israelites from Mt. Sinai to the borders of the promised land. They repeatedly complain, doubting that they will be able to overcome the peoples already inhabiting the land. God punishes them with 40 additional years of wandering in the desert.

Conquest and Judges (Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel)

Under Joshua, the Israelites enter the promised land and conquer it, dividing the land between the twelve tribes. After Joshua’s death, Israel falls into a pattern of sin, servitude, supplication, salvation and forgetfulness.

Royal Kingdom (1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings)

God reluctantly gives the Israelites a king as they request. The first king, Saul, disobeys and is replaced by David, who establishes Jerusalem. God promises David an everlasting dynasty. His son Solomon builds the temple in Jerusalem but turns away from God.

Divided Kingdom (1 Kings, 2 Kings)

After Solomon’s death, the kingdom of Israel splits in two. God sends powerful prophets, including Elijah and Elisha, to attempt to bring Israel back to him. The Northern Kingdom breaks off from the Davidic line and is ultimately destroyed.

Exile (2 Kings)

The Southern Kingdom, Judah, continues to be unfaithful to God despite the prophets. Isaiah makes his famous prophecy “A virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” Despite valiant attempts by some leaders, Judah turns from God and is conquered by Babylon.

Return (Ezra, Nehemiah)

Babylon is conquered by the Persians, whose king allows the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. However, God’s presence does not return to the Temple until Jesus. The city walls are rebuilt and the people return to God’s law in the Torah.

Maccabean Revolt (1 Maccabees)

The Persians are defeated by the Greeks, who begin to oppress the Jews. Outraged by repeated acts of sacrilege, a group of Jews revolts and wins. However, they soon invite more foreign influence and become a client state of Rome under Herod, a non-Davidic ruler.

Messianic Fulfillment (Luke)

Jesus Christ, fully God and man, a descendant of David, is born of a virgin. He gathers twelve Apostles, establishing a new Israel around himself. He proclaims that the kingdom of God, foretold by the prophets, has arrived. He allows himself to be killed and rises again from the dead after three days.

The Church (Acts)

Jesus appears to the Apostles and gives them the Holy Spirit. After Jesus’s Ascension, Peter is shown that Gentiles may now join God’s covenant family. Paul converts, and the Church grows. John records his vision of the return of Christ. The Church, as established by Jesus, continues to the present day.

Through these 12 time periods, the story of salvation is revealed through Adam and Eve, the people of Israel, and, ultimately, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Reading the Bible in the context of this story is the best way to understand the Word of God!

You might have noticed that each time period above has at least one book of the Bible listed alongside it. This is the narrative book(s) associated with each period–the one that tells the story.

Not every book of the Bible contributes directly to the overarching story of salvation. In fact, only 14 books outline the story of God’s people throughout these periods. The remaining 59 books are what we call “supplemental” to the story. In order to best understand the story of Scripture, start with the 14 narrative books!

These 14 books guide Catholics through the overall narrative of salvation in a way that is clear and easy to understand. They encourage Catholics to walk with the people of Scripture as God leads them along the path of salvation, revealing the love and mercy that he continues to offer the faithful, even today!

After reading these 14 books and gaining an understanding of the overarching story of salvation, readers will then see how the remaining 59 books fit into this story. Understanding them will be much easier.

Read and Understand Scripture For the First Time with The Bible Timeline® Learning System!

Reading the Bible according to the 12 biblical time periods and 14 narrative books outlined above is called The Bible Timeline Learning System. This method of reading Scripture was developed by biblical scholar Jeff Cavins to help Catholics understand the most important book of their Faith.

By leading Catholics through the story of Scripture page by page, chapter by chapter, this system brings the characters, events, and locations of Scripture to life. It illuminates God’s love for his people from the beginning of time and reveals why this story is so important to our Catholic Faith.

This color-coded learning system is built into Ascension's popular Great Adventure Catholic Bible. With unique color coding, informative articles, and more, this Bible gives Catholics a big-picture view of God’s divine plan and brings his Word to life in their hearts—and all they have to do is follow the color-coded pages through the story of salvation.

With this Bible, thousands of Catholics have read and understood the most important book of the Catholic Church and found joy in doing so!

Key Features of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible

Color Coding

Full-color pages feature the comprehensive Bible Timeline Learning System, made easily recognizable with 12 unique colors.

Timeline Charts

12 timeline charts provide a visual overview of the important dates and context for each period of salvation history.

Key Event Callouts

70 key event callouts provide a brief description of milestones in the biblical narrative.

Join the adventure through salvation history that is captivating the Catholic community.

Open your heart to the depth and beauty of God’s Sacred Word.

Let the Word of God come alive in your life.

Understand the Bible like never before.


Simply Wonderful

“This the best gift you can give yourself or someone you love. The Bible followed with Fr. Mike’s teaching is transformative. I have never finished the Bible in its entirety, I am half way now because of this Bible and thanks to Fr. Mike. I am someone who has fallen time and time again and this program makes you want to keep going. Heaven sent!!!!!! No words can express my gratitude, I will forever be in debt to the Ascension team.”

—Caroline M.


I love this Bible! (spoiler: I am not Catholic)

“I love having the WHOLE Bible. I love the way it is designed to help the reader succeed!! Succeed in reading it all! Succeed in understanding all that can be understood! And, of course, I love the podcast, the reading plan, the notebook and companion. I love that when our focus is Jesus, we can study His Word and worship Him together … regardless of our background or denomination. ♥️”

—Michelle K.


A Blessing to assist me in my God inspired quest to read the entire Bible 🙂

“I purchased my 1st Great Adventure Bible once I discovered the podcast with Father Mike. It was a quest to actually read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation which I believe God helped me find The Great Adventure Bible Timeline. I’m currently into over my 90th day plus since I started reading 📖 ... Thank you so much to Ascension Press, Jeff Cavins and of course Father Mike Schmitz. God Bless you all 🙂”

—Tim G.