488 of 499 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2008
The new Thomas Nelson Chronological Study Bible is more than I expected. Swirling around the publishing date of this new Study Bible was much controversy. Many people were skeptical about it and I admit so was I. However, if you purchase this Bible, I think your skepticism will subside (mine has).
I've been pouring myself into this Bible, wandering how long it would take me to review it. However, I can't approach this as if it were a normal fiction or non-fiction book. For me to read every page of this Bible, and then comment on it would take months. I have though, thoroughly looked at, worked with and studied this Bible. In fact I was up past midnight last night pouring into it! Below is a synoptic view of this Bible, starting with what it is.
Before cracking this Bible open, I expected it to be a Bible set up in the Chronological Authorship of the Scriptures. If this were the case, Job most likely would have been first, it being the first of the Biblical books written. However, the Chronological order is of the Biblical Narrative, not of the authorship. It also follows the narrative History of the entire world, placing the Biblical events into a time line, which we can (due to History class) better place in our minds when it happened. The Bible is divided into Nine Epochs (or ages of the Earth). The Epochs Being: Epoch 1: Creation- 2000 B.C.; Epoch 2: 2000-1500 B.C.; Epoch 3: 1500-1200 B.C.; Epoch 4: 1200-930 B.C.; Epoch 5: 930-586 B.C.; Epoch 6: 586-332 B.C.; Epoch 7: 332-37 B.C.; Epoch 8: 37 B.C.- A.D. 30; Epoch 9: A.D. 30-100.
Within these eras, the Chronological Narrative of the Earth and the Bible is placed. Instead of reading the Scriptures as separate books, this places the entire Bible on one Narrative time line.
I was skeptical at first, because I didn't know this was the approach of this Study Bible before I read it. I thought it would be the same feel as a normal Bible, so I wandered why I should bother spending my money on a product that simply re-arranged the Bible by the first books written to the last books written. However, placed in this narrative chronology, it brings the Scripture into a whole new light! You can follow for example David and his Psalms. We see an event happening to David and we can see the Psalm written by David, directly after the event! That in and of itself allows me to understand the particular Psalm as well as David better! It opens the eyes of the reader to a whole new plain of Biblical understanding.
I believe that Thomas Nelson has done well with this Bible also, because they understand the importance of story to my generation and the generations after me. Connecting to story is a HUGE way for my generation to connect with God. Placing the Bible in it's narrative chronological order will speak to people of my generation that a normal Bible won't.
Also, seeing the Scriptures in this ways brings a depth of Study that other Study Bibles don't bring. It incorporates the history of the world along side the Biblical History, helping the reader to better understand the cultural context of a particular piece of Scripture.
There are MANY features that I haven't even mentioned, all of which bring amazing things to this Bible. Some a person could do without, but they are all pretty interesting none-the-less. Here is what you'll also learn about (taken from back cover): Agriculture and Herding, Architecture and Building, Arts and Literature, Beliefs and Ideas, Cults and Supernatural, Culture and Society, Daily Life and Customs, Food and Drink, Geography and Environment, Health and Medicine, Marriage and Family, Plants and Animals, Politics and Government, Religion an Worship, Science and Technology. All of these features are placed in little boxes or bubbles in and around the text. My only issue is that at points it feels very cluttered and hard to follow. Once you get used to navigating the scriptures as well as these extra boxes and bubbles, it connects and makes sense, but it can be difficult at times.
Lastly, the layout of the Scriptures can be difficult to understand. If you are trying to find a specific passage from memory of where it was in your original Bible, chances are you won't find it. Unless you look at the very back of the Bible, which gives (in Biblical order) the pages certain portions of scripture can be found. It takes awhile to learn how to use, but once you do, this Bible is quite incredible. Read it as a story and it will make reading/understanding this Bible a whole lot easier.
142 of 147 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2008
The Chronological Study Bible is a new edition of the New King James Version, with the passages arranged in chronological order.
The dust jacket states that it is the "first study Bible" to have the passages arranged in chronological order; though this is technically true, "study" is the operative word, as there have been other chronological Bibles before. My family has had Harvest House's Narrated Bible for years; its author, F. LaGard Smith, arranged the New International Version text in chronological order and added some extensive (often over one page long) historical background.
That said, the Chronological Study Bible is a step above any other chronological Bible I've seen. Between every transition, there is a note explaining the historical context. Virtually every page either has an extensive commentary box (which, in a rather unusual move for study Bibles, is placed at the top of the page instead of the bottom), or smaller in-column boxes with notes on one of fifteen different categories. Categories covered range from Culture and Customs to Medicine, Science, and Technology.
One of the sticky issues that comes up in the arranging of a chronological Bible is whether or not to accept Genesis' account of the Creation of the world at face value. This Bible largely sidesteps the question, referring to Creation as "undatable" and putting the first eleven chapters of Genesis in a section of their own headlined "Creation--2000 B.C." However, the commentary works from Evolutionary dating assumptions, making references to an Old Stone Age before 10,000 B.C. and stating in a highlighted box, "Scholars have placed the first human settlements as early as 7,000 to 8,000 years before Christ. Time Capsules, which do provide reliably historical context elsewhere, provide dates as early as 23,000 B.C. at points in the first eleven chapters. I deducted a star for this (though, had deducting a half-star been an option, I would have had the rating as 4.5 stars.)
Outside of that, the notes and commentary look fascinating. This will be a useful addition to virtually any pastor's or layman's library.
97 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2008
For many people, the Bible is a familiar book. Through years of experience, we've learned where books like Jonah and Jude are located. We know that the Psalms are a large book located in about the middle of the text. Yet the Bible is rooted in history and THE CHRONOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE reminds us of this fact with every page.
The text is full of vibrant color and fascinating sidebars. From Genesis to Revelation with care and Biblical scholarship, the text is arranged in chronological order. As the introduction explains, "Rearranging the order of the Bible's books may appear to some readers to be a violation of the integrity of the Bible. The goal of THE CHRONOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE is not to replace the time-honored canonical arrangement, but instead to honor time as the setting in which the biblical record appeared. Readers who study this Bibl will return to their traditional Bibles better equipped to read them. No longer will the words be disconnected holy pronouncements out of the blue. They will be seen for what they really are: words "fitly spoken...like apples of gold in settings of solver" prov. 25:11) (xi)
The rearrangement of the text helps you see the Scriptures with a fresh vision. I loved the reading experience and highly recommend this book.
219 of 238 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2009
A while back I told my wife that I thought someone ought to publish a Bible organized chronologically to make reading and understanding it easier, especially for biblical neophytes. So I was initially excited when she found a copy of "The Chronological Study Bible" and gave it to me as a gift for Christmas.
Although there will always be some disagreement between scholars as to the exact order of events, a pretty good job is done of interweaving the history of the kings of Judah and Israel with words of the prophets of the times and the collections of poems and wisdom from authors of the times; similarly, the gospels show similar events in the life of Jesus from the perspectives of the different witnesses.
Where I took issue was with the very secular approach to history, especially early history, described in the side-panels outside the biblical text. The authors freely admit that "early dates are based on theories of evolution and geology," an approach most believers would find troubling. They also appear to consider the biblical accounts to be on par with myths of the ancient Near East: the Flood and other events in Genesis are discussed as being similar to accounts in Egyptian and Mesopotamian mythology. Another example is found in the discussion of cherubim, when they state, "The cherubim of the Bible are representatives of" other ancient Near Eastern "winged, mythological creatures." These commentaries seem to put forth the idea that the Bible took its ideas from other religions and cultures, not from divine inspiration (and not postulating that false religions may have borrowed from the true faith of the Hebrews).
In summary, this might be a good study resource for a student in a comparative religions class at a secular college, but believers and true seekers could do better.
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2010
There are two things I like about this Bible:
1. The NKJV text is written out in paragraph form instead of each verse starting on a new line. I really like this, as I like the NKJV translation but find the way it is formatted in regular Bibles distracting.
2. Unlike some chronological Bibles, this one includes the entire text of the Bible. When a story is duplicated in different books of the Bible, each version is included (usually one after the other, but not always).
The biggest drawback to this Bible is that the commentaries/articles are far less helpful and more distracting than I expected. I had thought that I would be able to just ignore them if I didn't like them, but there are so many of them, and they are placed very prominently (not in the margins like in some other study Bibles). I found that they continually drew my attention away from the Biblical text.
I began my reading with the gospels. I was interested to read them all combined and get what I thought would be fuller, clearer picture of Jesus' life. However, the commentaries were always pointing out "discrepancies" and explaining them from a what seemed to be a faithless perspective.
At first I thought maybe it was my own bias that made the commentaries seem to have an anti-Christian slant. So I continued to read, going next to Samuel/Kings/Chronicles. The commentaries there also had a secular slant, with a heavy focus on pagan religions. They seemed to be implying that the God of the Bible is no more real or true than any other. I tried to give the commentators the benefit of the doubt until I came across the phrase (in the commentary about King Uzziah) "Yahweh's Jerusalem cult." At that point, I decided to stop using this Bible.
Also, I found that reading the Bible chronologically didn't actually enhance my interest or understanding as I had expected it to. It still didn't read like a coherent story -- at least not in this particular version.
Oh -- one more tiny thing. Other reviewers had commented about the psalms being placed near the events they were written about, but it turns out that there are only a few psalms where this information is actually known. So what they did was lump chunks of psalms together topically. This was not helpful to me, so I usually ended up skipping over the psalms to get back to the narrative.
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2008
When Thomas Nelson rolled out their Book Review Bloggers site, there were 8 books up for review, two of which I had already reviewed. I decided to take on the Chronological Study Bible for review. I figured if I like it, it would be an asset to me. If I didn't like it, it would prove to me that I don't like chronological Bibles. I once downloaded a piece of software called "The Bible Planner." I don't know if it's still available. I never used the calendar, tasks, or other organizer utilities, but it came with a daily Bible reading plan. The Bible was arranged roughly in order. I read it for 3 months, but didn't like it. It was in the King James, which I was using heavily at the time. For some reason, I just stopping liking the trusty old KJV for daily reading (though it's still superior for quoting and memorizing) and settled on the New King James, which is the translation used for Thomas Nelson's Chronological Study Bible.
Reading the Bible chronologically can be a challenge, and I expect that producing a chronological study Bible can be equally as challenging. The book of Psalms, for instance, contains 150 Psalms, which span a timeframe of more than 1000 years. Psalm 90 was written by Moses, whereas a few Psalms were written after the Babylonian Captivity of Israel. When reading the Psalms, it can often be difficult to keep in perspective when and under what circumstances each Psalm was written. Placing them chronologically can provide a great deal of perspective. Reading the prophets outside of historical context can also be difficult. Isaiah's life was about 80 years, and his ministry spanned the lives of 4 kings. Placing his prophesies into their historical context provides a high degree of utility for studying Isaiah and his fellow prophets. Likewise, the New Testament is not canonically arranged in chronological order. The Chronological Study Bible does place the New Testament into an order. The Gospels are arranged in order of events, and the epistles are arranged roughly in the order in which they were written. Those that were written during the span of the book of Acts are included in Acts, and Paul's prison epistles are included in order after Acts 28. Jude is arranged before Hebrews.
However, placing the Biblical narrative into chronological order cannot be easy. Even good and committed scholars can disagree over which order certain events in the Bible happened. When I received the Chronological Study Bible, I decided to see where the book of Job was placed in the narrative. I personally hold the view that Job occurred prior to the Exodus of Israel, as there is no evidence in the book of a Torah or Levitical Priesthood or any of the Israelite customs or requirements laid out during that time frame. I decided that this was as good a time as any to explore the tools laid out in the Chronological Study Bible, and on page 1665 I found the Index of Scriptural Passages. This index is laid out in canonical fashion as we would find in most Bibles. I found that Job 1 is on page 901, directly following Proverbs 31. At the top of the page, I find that Job was placed in 586 to 332 B.C. I'll just say that I respectfully disagree on the dating of Job, but you can take that for whatever you believe it's worth. On page xi, the editors state:
Rearranging the Bible is, of course, a fallible human effort. Even those who have earned advanced degrees in the various fields of biblical studies would disagree on any particular rearrangement. The editors of The Chronological Study Bible have been forced at times to make hard decisions, to choose one location at the neglect of another that is equally plausible. In such instances, an honest effort has been made to acknowledge another possible arrangement and to present its case fairly. This allows readers to decide the issues for themselves.
I flipped to the back for some reason, and thought that the maps looked familiar. I thought that perhaps there is a standard stock of study Bible maps that can be used. I went through some of my other study Bibles, and found these exact same maps in the John Hagee Prophesy Study Bible, which by looking at the cover I realized is also a Thomas Nelson product. I looked at some of my other study Bibles and found different maps in them according to the publisher. This isn't a problem; just an observation.
While in the back, I decided to see what other tools were included for study. I found the concordance to be fairly comprehensive for a study Bible. Obviously, it's not Strong's, but it will help you find some high profile words. I decided to test a few, using E-sword for backup in the New King James. I noticed that the concordance in the Chronological Study Bible had one entry for the word "wizards", in Isaiah 8:19. E-sword backs that up. I next randomly picked out the word "watch". The Chronological Study Bible's concordance lists 17 entries. E-sword returned 53. I'm only putting this here for comparison. Most study Bibles aren't known for having superior concordances. This one seems like it will be good if you want to look up a word off the top of your head. You won't be doing extensive word studies from a study Bible concordance. I think this concordance is adequate for what it will be used for in most cases. I don't expect to use it often myself as I have plenty of other tools available.
The Chronological Study Bible is divided into 8 epochs, or time periods. Epochs 8 and 9 cover the New Testament, 8 being the life and ministry of Jesus, and 9 being the Church Age and Revelation. Epochs 1-7 cover the Old Testament. Time Charts and Time Panels are included throughout the study Bible in relevant sections. Maps are also included throughout when they will be helpful. Also included are transition points which appear whenever the order changes (such as II Samuel 12 transitioning to Psalm 51) or when the narrative within a book changes, such as the end of Genesis 20 transitioning to the birth of Isaac in Genesis 21. Also included are some translator's notes. I'm not sure how helpful these actually are. Sometimes when I'm studying in depth, it does help to see notes like "NU text leaves out Christ", but when I'm doing my daily reading I can find those distracting. There are text blocks throughout the study Bible with culture, notes on religion and worship, beliefs and ideas, and in-depth explanations of certain events.
I would surmise that this Bible was developed so that a person could begin in Genesis 1 and read the Bible through on a day to day (or other periodic) basis through to the end. It most likely would make a good daily reader. The chronological organization would make this Bible difficult to use for church or Bible studies. The notes are not designed for in-depth study, but will shed some light for you as you read through the Bible's timeline and cultures. I have several study Bibles, and they often are developed by to meet different objectives. When my wife and I first started attending church (before I became a Christian), she bought me the Promise Keepers Men's NIV Study Bible. I also have both the Tim LaHaye and John Hagee Prophesy Study Bibles, the John MacArthur Study Bible, The Evidence Bible, the Defender's Study Bible, and now the Chronological Study Bible. To date, my favorite is the MacArthur Study Bible, which is the most comprehensive. However, each is useful for certain purposes. I would place my recommendation on the Chronological Study Bible for daily reading and surface study. I think it's very well done, the New King James text is very accurate and readable (a difficult balance to achieve, believe me) and the notes and helps are as I said useful.
MSRP for the Chronological Study Bible is $44.95. You can purchase it from Amazon, for $29.69 new.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2008
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
In a recent book Scot McKnight says that there are five common ways of reading the Bible that are inherently flawed. Extremely briefly (and in my words) they are:
It's a book of rules:
(though I suspect most who read this way are selective about the rules they quote);
It's a book of blessings:
(they only quote the nice parts that we all love to hear);
The ink blot brigade:
(they read into the words what they expect to see - this shows us more about the reader than the text);
The systematic theology approach:
(we need to find out everything the Bible says about a particular topic and put it all together - but lets leave out the bits that don't seem to fit with the rest!); and
One book or set of books is superior to the rest:
so we need to make the others fit our favourite).
He suggests the correct way to read the Bible is to read it as a story. As always, there is more than an element of truth in a statement like this, however the Bible is a very difficult collection of books to read this way.
The Chronological Study Bible makes this task viable and probably more importantly it makes it possible for the ordinary reader.
As a pastor with a teaching ministry this edition cannot replace the necessary commentaries and dictionaries needed to explore the text fully. But the three most important rules for understanding scripture are, in order, "context, context and context", and this Bible makes understanding this almost ridiculously simple. The in text maps, time capsules, time panels, background notes, daily life notes and historical overviews add to the chronological text in such a way that the "story" is much clearer than normal.
If you're looking for a study Bible for everyday personal or small group usage, I highly recommend this. But don't expect to be able to take it to church and find a particular passage in time to follow the reading - because of the chronological nature of the text individual passages can be hard to find!
51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2011
I just received this Bible as a gift recently and I was initially delighted. However, I was almost immediately appalled to see that many of the comments in this "study Bible" have been heavily influenced by secular history and liberal scholars. It starts in the Genesis accounts at the beginning, which uses some secular history timelines that support the evolutionary record, or at least secular interpretations of so-called modern history. Rather than present alternative theories, the "time capsules" present their timelines as historical facts, leaving no room for literal interpretations of the clear genealogical timelines that are laid out in Genesis. There is only one mention that I could find of taking the genealogy accounts in Genesis literally, which places creation at about 4004 B.C. The notes in this Bible quickly dismiss this idea, which is disappointing. Another example that I read is in Esther in which the "scholars" point out problems with Esther from a historical view point. However, they then mention in later notes that Mordecai is mentioned in historical records, which seemingly contradicts their original point. I have not read through all the notes yet in this "study Bible", but I would strongly caution you against purchasing this if you take the Bible's history literally. The Bible has been proven to be the most reliable ancient source of history - more than any other document in the world, and secular views are consistently proven wrong when compared to the Bible, so why not trust it completely? As an alternative, consider buying "the Evidence Bible" or the "Defender's Bible" - both of which provide real factual evidence and don't rely so much on secular interpretations (see links below). Overall, there may be some helpful historical cross-references here, but sorting through the liberal and secular interpretations make this a disappointing purchase indeed and could lead people astray.
KJV New Defenders Study Bible
The Evidence Bible
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2010
I'm a teacher at a School of Ministry in Pennsylvania. I teach New Testament Survey and a few other courses. I thought this Bible would be useful for my classes and for personal study. The chronological order of the Scripture is very useful but the notes and commentary are not. If the commentary were removed I would give it 5 stars. I love how it was put in order so it could be read as a narrative. The commentary, however, is very liberal. It casts doubt on authorship of certain books (e.g. James) and gives a great deal of credit to carbon-14 dating in the commentaries on Creation found in Genesis.
I read in the introduction that they were trying to maintain an "unbiased" position, but their efforts ended up taking away from the uniqueness of the Word of God. They use stories from other cultures to show similarities with stories found in the Bible (e.g. the Flood). There's nothing wrong with that. If presented properly, it could be used to show the validity of the Scriptures. Anytime you make a comparison of this nature, it is vital to do it in a way that will exalt the Biblical account above the one it is being compared to, not leave it on the same level. It must be done in a manner that will show Christianity to be the True Religion, not A religion. I personally felt this could have been done better. A good study Bible will make the reader say, "I really CAN rely on this book! I CAN build my life on the promises it contains!" If I were a baby Christian, the commentary in this study Bible would make me ask, "Can I REALLY trust this?"
Being overly critical of the Word of God is very dangerous, especially when it comes to questioning authorship. If the book of James was not written by James and it is possibly pseudonymous, how can we preach and teach from it? How can we rightfully tell people to rely on it? Even if you read it and find the words of the letter to be spiritual, how spiritual could the author be if they lied about their own name? I understand the attempt to be unbiased and present "every side" of the coin, but honestly, it casts far too much doubt on the Scriptures and as a teacher of God's Word, I would NOT recommend it.
Again, the chronological features are wonderful. It sheds light on the history contained in both Old and New Testaments and brings a better understanding of each book and a greater appreciation for the same. The commentaries however, are disappointing.The Chronological Study Bible: New King James Version
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2008
I have had a Reese's Chronological KJV for many years. I wanted a less worn copy and a different translation. I do not like the NIV. In Bible College it was referred to as the "Non-Inspired Version.' To each his own. I like the beauty of language of the KJV but recognize that the language is 'stilted' so, for me, the NKJV is the next best step for each of reading and memorization. My next choice would be the ASRV but I'm not sure if that is available as a chronological. To read the Scripture in 'chronological order' makes it come alive and you can see where the various events occur. I throughly enjoy the layout and the extra information.