“solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”-Hebrews 5:14
There is no substitute for reading the Bible. This system of organizing the Bible in a way to make it easier to find things, assumes you know the story of the word of God. God’s promises to Abraham, Israel becoming a nation and conquering Canaan, the periods of judges and kings, and eventual captivity; must be in your mind in an orderly way. If you are unfamiliar with the events of the Scripture, all the landmarks and timelines in the world will only be of limited service to a novice Bible student.
Take advantage of the long-term study provided by North Second Street. We cover the majority of the Bible in a four-year period. Do not be discouraged because of how little you know. Be thrilled at how great an opportunity you have to learn!
Timelines And Landmarks
For most of us (especially those with parents who blessed us with regular attendance in Bible classes) we may have a relatively solid understanding of the Bible story. We know Moses comes after Abraham and Joshua precedes David and Solomon. But finding the exact Scripture that tells the story of these characters may still be difficult. This is where I find timelines and landmarks to be useful.
We will get to the New Testament and the latter half of the Old (I Chronicles-Malachi), but let’s start with a timeline of Genesis through II Kings. If I have a rough, chronological understanding of the main characters and events, we should begin to make great strides at this point of our study.
The dates provided on this timeline are not intended to be exact. Dating the Bible record prior to about 800 BC is difficult. For instance, scholars disagree sharply on the date of the exodus based on which Pharaoh they believe to have occupied the throne at the time. They alternate between 1446 BC and 1225 BC. For our purposes, I am using 1400 BC because it is a round number and my sympathies are with the early date.
Biblical characters are recorded in history. Ahab king of Israel is mentioned in records of Assyrian king Shalmaneser III around 850 BC. By 701 BC, Hezekiah king of Judah is mentioned by Sennacherib, a later Assyrian ruler, and almost all dates later than 700 BC are mirrored by secular history. It helps to understand where the Scriptures stand in time, but the Bible is not a book of dates. Its purpose is to glorify and build faith in a holy God. This timeline is humbly submitted to give perspective and a definable order to the great truth of Scripture.