As you probably know, this week marks the fourth year that I have kicked off a 4-Month Bible Read Thru. If you are new to the blog, you can find out more here. (link removed since this was a time-sensitive signup).
As you set off on this journey – which will be life-changing – you might not realize that the Bible isn’t set up chronological. If you don’t know this going in, you might be a little confused when you read a story and think, Didn’t I read this same story a few weeks ago?
You see, some books cover very long spans of times (think centuries, not years). Others cover a relatively short period of time. That short period of time is often covered in one of the other books.
These two modern scenarios might help make it clear:
Book A: Someone decides to write a book that covers the history of the football program at Such-and-Such University. Decades are spanned. Coaches and players are profiled. Highlights are given.
Book B: Several years later an author decides to write a book about one, specific, amazing season the football team at Such-and-Such University had decades earlier. Some of the same coaches, players, and games will be mentioned for sure. But there will certainly be a lot more (or less) detail about specific people or events.
Knowing where everything fits is extremely helpful…and makes it heaps more fun!
That is what I love about reading the Bible chronologically. Even if it means jumping around from place to place in your Bible, getting a detailed account – or simply a different perspective – on similar events adds a layer of depth and understanding.
I have looked at a lot of different chronological Bibles and plans. Simply type “chronological Bible” into your favorite search engine and you will see that there is no lack of options.
These are the best plans I have found (and when/how to use them):
ESV.org – Best for PRINTING.
- I discovered this a couple years ago when I decided to read in the English Standard Version (which is a terrific translation by the way). NOTE: While the site is tied to the ESV, the Scripture references obviously apply no matter which translation you are using.
- They have redone the site since I last used it and there are now several options: Have the passages emailed to you, download via RSS, embed it into your calendar (via iCal), read on a Mobile device, or download a PDF for printing.
- The plan (as with all of the ones I found) are laid out for a year. I simply print the PDF and check off the references as I read – ignoring the dates.
E-Word Today – Best for reading ONLINE. (computer, tablet, or phone)
- This couldn’t be easier to use. Select your favorite translation. (All the major ones are in there as well as a ton of lesser known ones and many different languages.) Click “Chronological.” Select a starting date. Voila!
- This is integrated with the online Bible for www.BibleStudyTools.com, so when you click that day’s passage, it shows up on the screen. Obviously, since you’ll be accessing an online Bible you will need to be connected to the internet while you are reading.
- Like the one above, it is set up for a year, but you can read ahead with no problem.
Best PHYSICAL Bibles
- These are the highest rated/reviewed Bibles on Amazon. All of these are already laid out chronologically, so you won’t have to flip around. Just start reading like you would read any other book.
- New International Version (NIV)
- New Living Translation (NLT)
- English Standard Version (ESV)
- New King James Version (NKJV)
- Reading God’s Story: Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Let me know what you think of reading chronologically. And please tweet this post or email/share it with anyone you think might be interested in discovering one of the best – and most enjoyable – ways to read the Bible!
Question: Have you found another chronological Bible (or plan) I should add to this list?
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. That said, I would never link to a service or product that I don’t think is terrific.
Photo Credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net by Evgeni Dinev