I recently received a copy of the new NKJV Chronological Study Bible put out by Thomas Nelson publishers. I have an old Reese Chronological Bible which is…well…it’s the Bible, chopped up in little bits and pieces, and there aren’t very many notes, and so it didn’t really help me understand the historical significance of the various Biblical events. Nor did it do anything to help me tie in extra-Biblical events with what was going on in the church. I expected a Bible where Job was put in front of Genesis, and the gospels were chopped up like mincemeat for a holiday pie. I was so very surprised! It’s different than I expected, and I mean that in a good way.
The Chronological Study Bible is different. There are images of historical figures (like Josephus, who bears no resemblance at all to Bocephus whom my mind has always strayed to when I read the name) and there are notes on the culture of the times–what exactly was happening in Corinth when Corinthians was written? And there are “time capsules” on some of the pages that give a snapshot of what was going on historically. For example, the one on page 1374 covers A.D.64, and Nero’s rule and the great fire in Rome. Putting this information in the context of 1 Timothy helps paint a complete picture, and the explanation of widows on that same page brings home the point that Ecclesiastes has made for millennium. There truly is nothing new under the sun: today’s problems plagued the ancients, too.
I look forward to studying out of this Bible for years to come. And much to my own surprise, I’ve started with Revelation. Which I now know was written during the time of Domitian, who was killed by his close associates and succeeded by Trajan.