Chronological Guide to the Bible: Explore God's Word in Historical Order

When I agreed to review this book I was specifically thinking of a friend that had asked me for a recommendation for a Chronological bible earlier this year.  I knew that such bibles existed but I had not read one.  So I was not really sure what to expect.  I knew this was not a bible, but a background book to be read along with the bible.

Once I received the Chronological Guide to the Bible I had a couple of concerns right off the bat.  First, I am concerned with the idea of a chronological bible.  Not because I do not think that background knowledge of scripture is important, because I do.  And not because I am concerned with changing around the order of scripture, because I am fine with that.  I am concerned because the concept of a Chronological bible tries to place a modern idea of history on scripture, which was not written as a modern history book.  I am pleased that throughout the book the authors repeatedly made the point that the bible was not history.  But the concept of bible as history is repeated even more.  The introduction has a very good background on why different decisions were made about the order.  But the summary on much of the decisions was that we have an educated idea, but then we have to guess.

My second concern is with the way this particular book is put together.  It is a very ADD format.  It is full color and is put together like a fancy magazine.  There are many, many short little articles to give background and history to the scripture that should be read along with the scripture.  I did not read along with scripture and my guess is that most others will not either.  I think much of the time it will be read more like an encyclopedia than a commentary.  The problem is that because of its structure you will probably randomly flip through it rather than move through it in a structured way, which defeats the purpose.

I have a kindle and I wonder why this could not be put together in a cleaner format, with a bible to be read straight through.  If formated for an ebook reader, you would not have to worry about the size of the book (a bible and the commentary in Chronological Guide would be fairly large.)    The benefit of this format is that it can be used with any bible.  As much of an inroad as ebook readers have made in the last couple years, they are still only about 3 to 5% of the book market.

Overall, this is probably a good idea to try once.  One year read through the bible Chronologically, but you can do that with a free online reading guide.  Summary review: go look at it in a book store.  And think about how you are going to use it before you buy it.

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Disclosure: This book was provided free for purposes of review.  It was passed on to a missionary friend that was looking for a Chronological Bible.

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