So the opportunity to review the Chronological Study Bible from Thomas Nelson was something I had to take.
The publisher describes this Bible this way:
The Chronological Study Bible presents the text of the New International Version in chronological order—the order in which the events actually happened—with notes, articles, and full-color graphics that connect the reader to the history and culture of Bible times and gives the reader a dramatic, "you are there" experience. Features include full-color illustrations of places, artifacts, and cultural phenomena, contextual articles that connect Biblical times and world history and culture, daily life notes, time panels and charts that show the flow of Biblical history, and in-text and full-color maps.My thoughts:
I settled down to read the introductory section, which talks about how they decided the chronological order. That was fascinating. Then I flipped around a bit, looking at things here and there. I was impressed with the number of notes, and the variety.
One thing I really love is that there are "transition" sections, particularly where the text jumps from one book to another (like inserting one of the epistles into the Acts narrative). These help to ease you into new material, and I found myself flipping through pages to find transition notes just to read those.
We are currently studying 1 Corinthians at our Christian Education Night at church, so I flipped over to read through that book. Even though we've worked through roughly two-thirds of the book in our classes, I found the notes fascinating. A couple of weeks ago, there was a huge argument about passages in 1 Corinthians 7 regarding divorce and remarriage. The explanatory notes here were terrific:
In using the phrase "not bound," Paul was echoing the exact language of ancient divorce contracts, which spoke of marriage as "binding" a woman to her husband and divorce as "loosing" or "freeing" a woman for remarriage. Such divorce terminology appears in Jewish texts, such as the Mishnah, and in actual 1st-century Jewish divorce contracts that have been recovered. Ancient readers would have understood "not bound" as Paul's permission for an abandoned person to remarry.
A page or so later, one of the notes talks about 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, relating to running the race and getting the prize. It had never really occurred to me that this is a direct reference to the Olympics, which took place 75 miles west of Corinth. Of course, athletes would compete in other races too and not just the Olympics. But for whatever reason, until this note, I never read this paragraph and thought about the Olympics.
A Chronological Bible shouldn't be the only Bible you own, as it is rather difficult to find specific verses. It is a great resource, though, to help you get events more in context, especially when reading books like 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles. It is also really nice when reading through Acts.
If you do not already have a Chronological Bible, this is a really nice choice.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”