Studying the Bible Chronologically

The Bible is the most amazing book ever written.  It is the inerrant, authoritative, Holy Word of God.  It is a literary masterpiece.  It was written by at least 40 different authors over a period of approximately 1,600 years. Just imagine that timeline.  The writers range from Moses to the Apostle John.  Many scholars believe that the events in the Book of Job occurred prior to the Children of Israel leaving Egypt.  Their exodus from Egypt is dated around 1450 BC.  So, if we begin our timeline around 1500 BC to account for Job and continue it through the writing of the Book of Revelation around 100 AD; we catch a glimpse of how this book was divinely inspired, protected, and collected over sixteen centuries.

Add to this, the fact that it was written in three different languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.  To add further evidence of the need for God’s divine guidance throughout this process, it was written on three separate continents, Asia, Africa, and Europe.  Think about the different cultures, languages, geography, and world events that occurred over these 1,600 years; yet God’s Word presents a consistent story.  This story is God’s telling of creation, the fall, and the redemption of humanity for the glory of God.  Only God could orchestrate such an unimaginable task.  

There are two orderings of Scripture.  One is Canonical and the other is Chronological.  The standard ordering of the books is canonical.  It orders the OT from Genesis to Malachi and the NT from Matthew to Revelation.  In general, the canonical ordering follows the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate translated by Jerome in the 4th century.  This ordering groups books of the Bible by type of literature.  In the OT there is law, history, poetry, and prophecy.  In the NT there are the Gospels, history, and the epistles.

The chronological ordering of books groups books or even portions of books together according to their historical date.  It is important to note that not all scholars date biblical events the same.  Therefore, all chronological Bibles will not have exactly the same ordering of content.  Regardless of the order, it is a helpful learning tool to gain a better understanding of the chronological flow of biblical history from beginning to end.

Studying the Bible chronologically is simply a different method.  Chronological order provides a different lens through which we can gain insight into Scripture that is sometimes less obvious through only reading it in the standard order.

There are many benefits to studying Scripture chronologically.  The first is the benefit of simply laying biblical texts alongside historical events.  It offers fresh insights to read biblical events in the order they occurred historically.  To see how God continued to march His redemptive plans forward historically is awesome and this can sometimes be overlooked when we only study Scripture in the standard order.

In addition, it is helpful to view historical events and doctrinal lessons alongside each other.  For instance, to read about David’s life in First Samuel and interspersed throughout, you read the Psalms written by David that provide such important insight into the historical events in First Samuel.  It allows us to experience his life and his thoughts about how God was working through those life events at the same time.  Another example is taking the history of Israel in First and Second Kings, and at the appropriate time inserting the voices of the prophets who were God’s voices to the people as they lived in rebellion.  

For someone who has spent a large part of his or her life studying and teaching Scripture but may have never read the Bible chronologically, I can guarantee that there will be fresh insights throughout the study.  It is my hope that our entire Germantown Baptist Church family will take this journey together.  God will bless us abundantly through the process.

To download Pastor's sermon notes, please click here.

Comments

  1. Jo Dorsey says:

    Sunday's a.m. service was wonderful on Satan & sin. But Sunday wiped me away. As many years I had taught young married people and then teenage girls, I had never studied the time line that you gave us Sunday night. Almost too much to take in at one time. I didn't know if I should take notes, scripture references or just listen. Can you put your notes on your blog or anywhere else that I could find them.

    Thank you so much. You must have been awesome teacher at Union.
    • January 7th 2013 at 3:11 PM

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Charles Fowler

Senior Pastor of Germantown Baptist Church. Husband of Sandra and father to Anna and Sarah.

About This Blog

The purpose of the sharing Life blog is to provide opportunities to analyze cultural issues through the lens of biblical truth. Posts are written by Senior Pastor Charles A. Fowler as well as other members of the GBC staff. Our worship guides are also offered as a daily tool for guiding your family in worship at home.

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