Is the Bible written in a chronological order?

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Many Bible students think that everything in the Scripture is arranged in a chronological order. And this assumption can lead to misunderstandings.

The Bible is not a book of chronology.

But why is that so? The order of the Old Testament books is built on the order of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. It splits the books into three parts according to their literary style. First are the narrative books (Genesis through Esther), then the poetic and wisdom books (Job through Song of Solomon), and finally the prophetic books (Isaiah through Malachi). In a similar way, the New Testament books are split into three parts according to their literary style. First are the narrative books (Matthew through Acts), then the Epistles (or letters to early Christians), and finally the prophetic book of Revelation.

The books of the Bible were not written in sequence

For example,  in the OT, we see that even though 2 Chronicles comes before the book of Job, the narratives written in Job happened before those in 2 Chronicles. And the book of Job took place within the book of Genesis specially after Genesis 6. Also, Psalms and Proverbs are placed after Nehemiah and Esther but much of Psalms and Proverbs were recorded before Nehemiah and Esther.

In the NT, we might think that since 1 Thessalonians comes after the book of Acts, that Luke wrote Acts before Paul wrote his book to Thessalonica. But the facts show that, 1 Thessalonians was written before the book of Acts was finished.

The authors of the Bible did not always write their accounts in a chronological sequence

For example, in the Old Testament, Genesis 2:5-25 does not follow where Genesis one left off; rather, it gives more detailed data about some of the incidents recorded in the first chapter of the Bible. Thus, Genesis 1 is arranged chronologically, whereas Genesis 2 is arranged topically.

And in the New Testament, the differences in the sequence of the temptations of Jesus written by Matthew (4:1-11) and Luke (4:1-13) are understood properly only when we know that at least one of them is not recording the information in sequence.

Therefore, it is recommended that those that would like to have a proper understanding of  Bible sequence, to use the “Chronological Bibles” as it place the books of the Bible and its events in the actual sequence and thus give the reader an understanding of its real time frame.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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