The Chronological Guide to the Bible (Review)

20 March 2010

Christopher J Wiles

writer | speaker | servant

Thomas Nelson recently provided me a complimentary copy of the Chronological Guide to the Bible. The following is my review of this product:

The book divides Biblical history into nine distinct epochs and arranges the Bible’s contents based on approximate chronology rather than traditional canonical order. Each epoch is explored through the lens of history and anthropology, situating the Biblical story in its original cultural setting.

Positively, the book is…

…lavishly illustrated.

…densely packed with historical and archaeological data.

…a good introduction for those looking for an overview of Biblical chronology.

Negatively, the book is…

…not what it is marketed as. Those looking for a devotional approach should look elsewhere.

…hard to navigate. The index helps but it is occasionally difficult to find a particular book.

The biggest problem is the book’s own brevity. The articles stress the similarities between the Bible and the surrounding culture without articulating its uniqueness (e.g., Job is compared to other Mesopotamian theodicies without observing the way Job’s theology is so markedly different).

Though such incidents are relatively minor, they still raise problems for beginning students of the Bible, for which reason I am reluctant to recommend this book to others. I would recommend instead Nelson’s Old Testament and New Testament surveys. Though not chronological, they are affordable resources that will help new students better understand the text.

20 March 2010

Christopher J Wiles

writer | speaker | servant

Chris is a writer and speaker. He currently serves as teaching pastor at Tri-State Fellowship and as a research writer for Docent Research Group.

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