Book Notes 720 x 340 dark gold outline and medium blue pen _ Notes light blueDo you want to study the Bible, but don't know where to start? Or perhaps the idea of embarking on a journey is daunting because you think it will take you years and you don't know if you have the time to commit to it? Never fear! Ascension Press has thought of you and has a study designed just for you. unlocking_the_mystery_productIt is called Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible, and it is a completely revised and updated version of their previous program A Quick Journey Through the Bible! Jeff Cavins is still leading this study, thankfully, as he is a wonderful speaker, and the Starter Pack comes with the DVDs, Leader's Guide, Student Workbook, a Bible Timeline Chart, and a Bookmark. The eight lessons in the program are as follows:

1. Introduction
2. Early World
3. Patriarchs
4. Egypt and Exodus, Desert Wanderings
5. Conquest and Judges, Royal Kingdom
6. Divided Kingdom, Exile, Return
7. Maccabean Revolt, Messianic Fulfillment - Part 1
8. Messianic Fulfillment - Part 1, The Church, Continuing the Journey

The Introduction begins by telling us what we will learn in this study, and introduces us to the color code, which is essential to all the study programs in "The Bible Timeline." There are twelve colors in all, and I know without the helpful bookmark, I would not remember half of them. For example, Egypt and Exodus is the color red, which corresponds with the Red Sea. Desert Wanderings is tan, because that's what color the desert is. The color code is a great tool and one that makes sense with the associations. It's just that my memory isn't as sharp as it used to be. It also introduces us to the fourteen books of the Bible that will be studied in this series. Fourteen books might sound like a lot, but when you consider that there are 73 books in total, you are only getting a concise narrative of the Bible.

The DVD sessions are approximately 30 minutes each and each session is brilliantly outlined in the workbook. Additionally, there are discussion questions for small groups to answer. Thankfully, the Leader's Guide provides suggested answers, because Bible Study leaders (rookies and pros) sometimes need all the help they can get. What I really like about the workbook are the maps, graphs, and charts. Visual aids always help materials stick and seeing maps of Israels progression from north to south and back north really made some things make sense that hadn't before. This study does a wonderful job of explaining how the Old and New Testaments relate as well as the different covenants through salvation history. I particularly enjoyed the session on Egypt and Exodus, but I'm just a fan of that section in the Bible, so what's not to love? At the end of the workbook is a 90 day reading plan for the fourteen narrative books that this study was based on, so I highly recommend you commit to that reading guide either while you're doing the study or afterward.

So why should you get Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible? For starters, it is affordable at only $99.95 for the entire starter pack. Secondly, it is brief at only eight 30-minute lessons. These two aspects make it the perfect program for someone at a beginner's level of Biblical knowledge looking to advance to intermediate level. There's also a great promotion currently going on at Ascension Press, At the parish-level, you can run this study program for free. Yes, you read that right...FREE! Go to this link, and follow the instructions. Participants in the program will have to buy their own workbook, but this is a great way to introduce your parish to the Bible and help them progress from spiritual milk to spiritual meat! Imagine if every parish took advantage of this, we could set the world on fire with the Gospel. Then, after you complete this study, I encourage you to study another and another! If you are looking to go deeper in your Bible study, then I recommend The Bible Timeline for a more in-depth look at what you just studied. But if you are interested in a different topic of similar length to Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible then A Biblical Walk Through the Mass or Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother are also great choices!

This study was provided to me for free by Ascension Press in exchange for an honest review.