New Bible in a Year podcast deepens relationship with God through Scripture
Beginning a new project, book or practice involving a daily commitment requires genuine interest, a sense of purpose, and some type of reward. Otherwise, it becomes burdensome. It’s all too easy for the needed discipline, growing in a competing field of schoolwork, extracurriculars and other obligations, to wilt and die off.
The Bible, in fact, is one such opportunity—the Bible in one year. As of January 1, 2021, anyone and everyone now has a new and easy opportunity to delve into the Word of God from beginning to end. Since its debut, The Bible in a Year, hosted by Fr. Mike Schmitz, immediately rose to popular acclaim, even nailing the #1 spot on the charts in Apple Podcasts. The podcast remains among the top 6 and continues to tick off downloads past 20 million.
A recent pilgrim on this unabridged scriptural path, senior Camila S. said, “I was hoping I would do it at some point before I died.” If once upon a time, you yourself sat down, opened up the first page of Genesis, perhaps even made it through three chapters of the notoriously dense Leviticus and then, alone and disheartened, gave up, this is the chance to try again.
What is essentially a 365-day audiobook of the Catholic Bible offered as a podcast debuted as The Bible in a Year on the first day of 2021. Published by Ascension Press, Father Mike Schmitz of the Diocese of Duluth in Minnesota serves as host.
Many readers will know Father Mike from his YouTube videos teaching and reflecting on topics of the Catholic faith. He frequently speaks at Catholic conferences, and visited Notre Dame in February 2020. In addition to his goofy humor, authentic spirit, and moving insights, Father Mike is well known for the rapid speed of his talking voice. All these characteristics combine in the podcast to create 20-minute-long segments of Scripture, prayer, and reflection.
Fellow listener and Campus Ministry staff member Brett Perkins can empathize with anyone who has tried unsuccessfully to read the entire Bible. He appreciates how the podcast frames the narrative arc of Scripture and inserts complementary books in between.
Perkins said, “It definitely makes the story of Sacred Scripture and Salvation History easier to follow than simply reading the Bible cover to cover.”
The podcast follows the Great Adventure Bible Timeline developed by Catholic Bible scholar Jeff Cavins and uses the Revised Standard Version (Second Catholic Edition) of the Bible. Father Mike reads from two to three different books each day, beginning the podcast with Genesis, Job and the Psalms.
Perhaps you hold on to the notion, even without realizing it, that the Bible is somewhat dry and dull. Or you might say, “I’ve heard it all before.” On the contrary, Scripture is anything but boring. If you enter into it this year, you may find yourself marveling at the beauty and wealth of God’s Word and delighted by the connections and insights to be discovered.
“I was struck by the LORD’s clear instructions to Israel about how He wished to be worshipped and how He wanted His people to live,” Perkins said, as the podcast currently moves through the books of Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus, “and to see how many of these practices have been preserved in our own understanding of worship within the Catholic Mass and Sacraments.”
First year Juliet Hall listens to the podcast with breakfast. “The Bible is meant to be proclaimed,” she said. “Obviously, there is a good thing in having it read, but there’s really something good about listening and hearing it spoken.”
In Scripture, God reveals Himself to us and speaks to our hearts. Thus, it is only natural that we should respond to Him. The podcast offers listeners that opportunity through its incorporation of prayer. With every segment, Fr. Mike says a brief and heartfelt prayer before launching into a short explanation and reflection on the passages.
Father Mike never fails to connect the passages to ourselves and our present joys and struggles. You might not think of Abraham or Job as would-be friends, but Father Mike deftly shows how the stories of such figures and their relationships with God are similar and illuminating to our own.
“Listening will make people more familiar with God’s Word and make them less afraid to encounter it. And I think that through this, they will be able to get to know Him better, who He is and His great love for us,” Camila said.
Immersing yourself in Scripture yields powerful fruit in the spiritual life. Realizing that the Bible is not meant to collect dust on a shelf but rather seeing it as the living Word of God is key, especially for Catholics, who have earned a reputation for biblical illiteracy among Christian denominations. Each episode can plant the seed of God’s Word in your heart. Ultimately, the podcast is more than an accomplishment: it’s a beautiful way to deepen your relationship with God.
Even though the year-long journey through Scripture debuted on January 1, it’s never too late to start listening! All episodes (to date) of the podcast are available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and other streaming platforms. Join millions of Christians and experience firsthand the renewal of God’s word, so beautifully expressed by the Scriptures themselves: “May my teaching soak in like the rain, and my utterance drench like the dew, like a downpour upon the grass, like a shower upon the crops” (Deuteronomy 32:2).
Sarah Hui is a first year majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies and Theology. She is from North Texas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.