The Chronological Guide to the Bible is a handy little reference tool that attempts to provide an historical arrangement to the Biblical text. It’s designed to help one “follow the flow of events in the Scriptures and see where sacred history and secular history converge into one story of salvation.” To do that, the authors have simply rearranged the canonical order “according to nine epochs of time and providing a chronological Bible reading list within each of those epochs.”
One does not need a chronological Bible to find this book useful. It’s filled with colorful maps and timelines and reading guides and boxes that provide clarification on historical culture and customs no matter what version you use.
For instance, have you ever wondered how tall Goliath really was? Or what the deal was with concubines? Or how the prophets overlapped each other? Or who was in power where and when? Or why the Ephesians were especially upset with Paul for preaching against the goddess Artemis (Diana)?
I was reminded that clothing was handmade, and so tearing it as an expression of grief reinforced a depth of sorrow, especially if the item was a special possession, a robe of many colors. I also appreciated references to how clothing was symbolic of one’s inner being and the symbolism of Jonathan’s transfer of his robe to David.
The authors note that they tried to present a balanced view of debatable issues. I can’t say I agree with everything, but I do find this book helpful as I explore the Bible in context.
This book can help provide some answers and give some food for thought. It’s a bit pricey at a suggested price of $24.99 for 217 pages, but I do expect to turn to it again and again, and if I not received it to review, I would definitely have considered adding it to my reference shelf.
Copyright © 2010 by Sandra Heska King
NOTE: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”