Monday, April 14, 2014
The Chronological Study Bible: Explore God's Word in Historical Order
The NIV Chronological Study Bible: Explore God's Word in Historical Order, Thomas Nelson Publisher, hardcover.
The Chronological Study Bible in the New International Version presents scripture in the order in which the events actually happened. Included within the chapters are notes, articles, and full-color graphics and maps that help the reader understand the the culture of Bible times in their proper historical and chronological context.
This bible is divided into epochs, each of which represents a period of time that is characterized by peculiar features or events. For example, Epoch 8 is about the life and ministry of Jesus and includes the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with the accounts of Jesus' acts arranged in chronological order, meaning that the chapters from the four gospels are mixed together. In other words, you won't read the gospel of Matthew from start to finish without some chapters from the other gospels mixed in so that the chronological order of the actual events is intact, as witnessed by each of the disciples.
This arrangement takes some getting used to as it is different from the traditional order of scripture. It takes a little more effort to find specific scriptures but the extra commentary that this Bible includes makes it worth the adjustment. As the contributors explain, the goal was not to replace "the time-honored canonical arrangement, but instead to honor time as the setting in which the biblical record appeared" and becomes a tool to equip readers with the historical and cultural perspective of the time in which various scripture was written.
The helpful features throughout this bible include lots of illustrations as well as notes on politics and government, cultural practices, science and technology, and arts and literature that influenced people during certain time periods, all of which help the reader understand the context from which scripture was written.
Over all I think this is a very helpful resource for students of the Bible as it keeps scripture intact while providing an historical and chronological perspective.