Chronological Guide to the Bible
Published by Thomas Nelson
(Note: This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson. This did not affect my review in any way.)
Let’s be honest, here – I am not a history buff in any way. It was one of my worst subjects in school. I almost failed both semesters in college! There has been almost no other subject that I have approached with as much dread as history; World, U.S., Social, Heritage – you name it, I hated it. And yet…
At the same time I have always wished that I knew what was going on in the world at large during the Biblical stories I’ve heard since I was a child. Questions like, “Which Pharaoh didn’t know the great Joseph (Exodus 1:8) and why?” have haunted me.
The Guide divides the Bible into nine epochs, beginning with undated creation and ending with the Revelation. It is designed to
“provide you with a guide through the history and culture of the Bible. It will help you follow the flow of events in the Scriptures and see where sacred history and secular history converge into one story of salvation.” (from the “Introduction”)
Each epoch is introduced with an overview of the time period followed by archaeological insights, information about the peoples and groups living then, and the Biblical books that fit within that time.
While it’s not necessarily meant to be read from front to back, it reads like the story that it is – the story of our world. And the pages (which feel like thick magazine pages) are full-color bursting with charts, timelines, pictures, articles, and outlines on every page.
My only criticism of this excellent reference guide comes in two forms:
- There are a few dates that I do know (and they are my litmus test when it comes to books like this) that it gets wrong. But they are not many and certainly not enough to ruin my praise.
- This book is designed to be a wide reference. That means that it provides more information than is necessary for someone who just wants to study the Bible. For example, instead of just sticking with the Biblical Job, this Guide tells us about other “Job” stories from Mesopotamian legend.
I cannot say that I have read every page, because I haven’t. I have, however, looked at every page and read several of the articles, searched the timelines, and verified many things that do line up with the way I teach the Scriptures. At this point I would recommend this Guide to anyone who wants to see how the Biblical story fits within the story of the world.
Anyone want to study some history with me?