Thursday, October 12, 2017

Chronological Bible Reading - Update

But how shall I speak of the glories I have since discovered in the Bible? For years I have read it with an ever-broadening sense of joy and inspiration; and I love it as I love no other book. Still there is much in the Bible against which every instinct of my being rebels, so much that I regret the necessity which has compelled me to read it through from beginning to end.
Helen Keller
I'd never have thought this in my younger days, but Helen Keller's words resonate with me: "I love it as I love no other book." Reading the Bible daily — sometimes eagerly, sometimes grudgingly, but always reading it — has made me love it. The Word speaks to me through it and provides riches, consolation, inspiration, and surprise.

As I mentioned a while back, I have been reading the Bible in chronological order. This really has given me more of a sense of how God's relationship with his people has progressed, to how history has had a hand in bringing about our salvation.

And it has increased my love for this incomparable book. I'm not quite done but I'm within five books of the end — at which point I'll start over again.

I eventually came up with my own chronological list because the one I began with was set up to get you through in a year. (See post linked to above.) To that end and, as they explained, to alleviate possible boredom, they'd jiggered things a little. Things like moving Chronicles to way after Kings. This confused me no end, by the way, when I was reading along in their order and suddenly thought, "What is David doing this far into the timeline? He died long ago."

Boredom is not my problem as much as wanting to feel the flow of history. I loved the way their timeline placed prophets in the timeline so you could feel history and prophecy together. So I used their order as a timeline template and started putting the out-of-order elements back where they belonged. The result is below as a jpg that you can download or straight text that you can copy or print.

The Old Testament is in the order in which it happened (as nearly as one can ascertain). Job is the most problematic, probably, but once I saw some people placing it during the Genesis timeline it made the book fall into place for me better because of Job's relationship to God. (Knowing it is a fictional examination of Truth, and so forth.)

The New Testament is in the order in which it was written. That is because I was interested in seeing what order the Church experienced these things being written down and distributed. Kind of a "being there" experience because we know the oral stories were circulating from the beginning.

NOTE: The first time through I've been reading without notes or commentary. When I begin again I'll probably be supplementing my reading with a few of those.

(Order in which happened)
  • Genesis
  • Job
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Psalms
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • Song of Songs
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings: 1-17
  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles: 1-28
  • Amos
  • Jonah
  • Hosea
  • Micah
  • Isaiah: 1-39
  • Tobit
  • Nahum
  • Zephaniah
  • Habakkuk
  • Judith
  • 2 Kings: 18-25
  • 2 Chronicles: 29-36
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Baruch
  • Ezekiel
  • Obadiah
  • Daniel: 1-12 (minus prayer in 3:24–90)
  • Isaiah: 40-55
  • Joel
  • Ezra: 1-6
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Esther
  • Ezra: 7-10
  • Nehemiah
  • Isaiah: 56-66
  • Malachi
  • Daniel: 13
  • Sirach
  • Daniel: 14
  • Daniel: 3:24–90
  • 1 Maccabees
  • 2 Maccabees
  • Wisdom

(Order in which written)
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessssalonians
  • Galatians
  • 1 Corinthians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Romans
  • Mark
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • Philemon
  • Ephesians
  • Matthew
  • 1 Timothy
  • Titus
  • 2 Timothy
  • Luke
  • Acts
  • Hebrews
  • James
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter
  • John
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude
  • Revelations


  1. This is great. I was following another one [] but this looks better and it's not tied to a one-year time period. Thanks.

    1. Hope you like it! I also was using the one from Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (made a note above so that's clearer). It was my base template. :-)

  2. Julie, this is so great!! I'm going to try it!

    Cathy Barber, Chicago

  3. I just printed the plan and I'm going to try it out. I like history so a plan in historical order interests me. Unknown to me the printer had scratch paper in it. The plan was printed on the backside of a flyer for a Christian kids camp I attended. Seems fitting.

    1. Nice coincidence! I'll be curious to see how it works for you!

  4. Also, I am sure you are familiar with reading "the story" first (as seen in the Great Adventure Bible Timeline) -- first getting to know the story, then going back and reading the other books in context

    1. Natch! I've read a lot of the Bible that way over the years, as one does with any book that one loves (and I've got lots and lots of books that I love). :-)

      You may be interested in looking over some of the Bible studies done here over the years.