“The Lord told me to write a Bible study when I was 23 years old,” said author Daniel Kennedy, “but I just blew it off.” And why wouldn’t he? “I had never done any Bible studies at all. I don’t think I’d ever read a verse, really. Growing up I don’t remember a Bible being in the house. I’d been at different churches a couple times with some friends. I knew about Christmas and Easter, but that was pretty much it,” he admits.
His parents divorced when he was in fourth grade, and his mother struggled to make ends meet. In his teens, he dropped out of school, left home and started working in a warehouse. By the time he was 18, he’d been promoted to assistant manager and was living the party life. One weekend, when he was vacationing on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey, a street evangelist asked him a question that would change his life forever, “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?” Daniel blew him off too, but the question lingered. “I knew something was missing out of my life,” Daniel said, “and I said, ‘OK, Jesus, I accept you.’”
When he got home, Daniel said to himself, “I meant that decision. What do I do now? There were no Christians in my life to ask, ‘What did that mean?’” But it occurred to him that he might need a Bible, so he looked in the phone book, found a Christian bookstore, and bought a Bible. “Then I just read the Bible, front to back, and I read the Bible every day for five years.”
“But could I be honest with you here?” Daniel asked. “I thought ‘I like this part, but I don’t really like that part.’ I did. I said that. And as I sat there, kind of picking and choosing, the Holy Spirit said, ‘No, no, no. You can’t do that. Either accept all of it, or none of it.’ And I said, ‘Okay. I accept all of it.’ And I’ve never turned back since.”
“I started going to church, and I quickly discovered that the church people did not really know their Bibles. I could tell by talking to them,” Daniel said. “They’d misquote things, and they’d say the Bible says things that it doesn’t. It blew my mind.” One Sunday morning, when the pastor asked the members to open their Bibles to Ephesians, the man sitting in the pew right behind Daniel said, “Ephesians?! Where’s that?” It was then that Daniel was impressed to write a Bible study so basic that anybody could learn to read and understand the Bible. Bit by bit God began to instruct Daniel how to write the study. “I’d be going about my daily routine, and after a while, it was all downloaded to me, and I knew how to write the program. I knew what to do. I just needed to do it.”
But life was busy. “At the time, I had four kids at home, and his and her businesses,” Daniel explained. But he remembered, “There’s a place called Praise Mountain in Florissant, Colorado, about a two-hour drive into the mountains. I’d been there before, a night or two, to fast and pray. So I said, ‘I could get up there and get away from everything and write this program.’” He signed up for a week. “I fasted and prayed for seven nights, which I’ve never done before, and this thing just unfolded. I never left the cabin. I lived on Mountain Spring water. I just wrote that program from morning till night, and got about half of it done. Several months later I went for another seven days for the other half of it, and several months later, I did it again and went through it, to make sure that it all worked right.”
Friends offered to turn his hand-written notes into a Word document, to help with the layout and design, and to publish. Now there are seven versions of the study, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and his site BasicBibleGuide.org These versions include the original 126-page book using verses from the King James Version or the English Standard Version, a travel size, a compact military edition that includes inspiring quotes from military leaders, a student edition geared toward middle and high school students, a Spanish language version, and a 365-day daily devotional. A French language version and a children’s version are in the works.
“The Basic Bible guide is a simple book with brief facts such as what are prophets or apostles and who wrote it,” Daniel explained. “It shows highlights of the Bible while using Scriptures from the New Testament to help you understand the Old Testament. There are no doctrines or opinions. It’s just the Bible teaching itself. The Basic Bible Guide is being used in places such as schools, military bases, pregnancy centers, senior living homes, homeless shelters and many others where hope and love are so desperately needed. Through the Basic Bible Guide, people are reading the Bible for the first time ever, growing in faith, understanding it better than ever before, and having their lives positively changed!”
“About eight years ago I talked to a guy about it. He’d been a pastor all his life–he was probably in his mid-fifties–and when I told him about it and how it works, he about jumped out of his chair and said, ‘I’ve been looking for this all my life! I’ve gotten all these different Bible studies, and they’re always about fasting or prayer, or the Book of John, or something. But I’ve never had anything that does what this does, and goes from the front to the back of the Bible through all 66 books,’” Daniel recalled. “It’s just the pure Bible, teaching itself without opinions or commentaries. He loved it, and that’s why people everywhere are doing it.”
The study is designed to be done in 12 one-hour sessions, individually or as a group. “A real beautiful thing about it is there’s no homework, and there’s no preparation for the group or the leader. You just show up with the Bible guide and a Bible, and a notebook if you want to take notes. Start and stop wherever you want. Mark where you left off and you’re ready to go for next time,” Daniel said. “Everyone is busy nowadays. We’re doing our best to take away the excuses people have to not study the Bible.”
Additionally, Daniel and his daughter Lor Gillette host a Monday morning Facebook Live show at 8:30-9:00 a.m. MT, where they read and discuss the Bible. “This program reaches the world. We’ve had pastors and missionaries around the world from the Middle East, to the Philippines, to Africa, in addition to those here in the US. We recently sent materials to a missionary in Colombia.”
“I am so thankful God did not give up on me through all the years of sin and disobedience. But I didn’t give up on pursuing God either, seeking to comprehend His love for me, loving Him back, loving others, and just doing the best I can,” Daniel said. “It’s a struggle that we’re all in, here on Earth, with the distractions and temptations, and everything, but I really do strive to live my life for the Lord. Everything I have ever gone through or learned in my life has brought me to this point: the calling to help people understand God’s love and plan for them, as revealed in His Word, the Bible. My vision is to have this guide distributed all over the world, and provided in every language. I have titled it simply, ‘Basic Bible Guide’, because that’s exactly what it is.
I just can’t help talking about God and the program that He told me to produce, pretty much everywhere I go. It’s an exciting life I live.”