Reader Appeal: Adults, Teens, Young Adults
FBSN Rating: A-
If you, or anyone in your family, ever wanted to read the Bible from beginning to end, this is the way to do it. The Chronological Study Bible’s unique conceit is simply to arrange the text of Scripture in “historical order.” Is that enough to make a difference? I’m not sure, but it certainly makes an impact.
Instead of organizing the biblical books in their traditional chronology—which can be confusing for new students of Scripture—this study Bible has taken all the texts and placed them in order of 9 “epochs,” or historical periods as defined by each book’s content. The epochs begin with the Creation histories, then move through the biblical literature covering the Patriarchs, the Exodus, the national histories of Israel and Judah, the fall and dispersion of the two nations, the Hebrew exile and return. Next they cover the New Testament epochs in two sections: the life of Christ and the formation of the church. Interestingly, this study Bible includes an epoch (number 7) that briefly explains the 400-year period between the conclusion of the Old Testament and the birth of Christ. While this is not actually Scripture, it is helpful background information to bridge between the ages.
The result of this organizational ploy is to present a text that reads much more like a book than like a collection of writings. The blending of literary styles in this format (history alongside prophesy and wisdom literature and so on) really helps to place Bible texts in historical context, and just makes for interesting reading. Additional helps are sprinkled throughout, including background notes, transition notes (to help the reader bridge between Bible texts), introductions, a glossary and concordance, and even a few “daily reading plans.”
Will the Chronological Study Bible replace your traditional Bible? No, simply because it’s not all that concerned with helping you move easily between the traditional texts and the chronological texts. But it does have value as a second, “reading” copy of the Scriptures and will add new perspective and understanding that any Bible Study Nerd will enjoy.
(Thomas Nelson Publishers)
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