TXAB: The Christ Almighty Blog

07 January 2016

The bible, in chronological order. More or less.

Because your obsessive-compulsive disorder demanded it.

Some of TXAB’s readers intend to read the bible in a month—or in four weeks, anyway—and have expressed curiosity about reading the bible in chronological order. It’s not enough that the beginning of the world comes first in Genesis, and the end of the world last in Revelation: They want everything sorted out by date.

Okay, fine.

But I will point out this order is debatable. ’Cause of course it is. Since when aren’t Christians gonna debate about who came first, Job or Abraham? Or which letter did Paul write first 1 Thessalonians or Galatians? (My money’s on Galatians. But still.)

So here, for your convenience, is the bible in chronological order. Print it out and check ’em off as you read ’em.

Old Testament.

  1. Genesis 1-36.
  2. Genealogy from 1 Chronicles 1.
  3. Genesis 37-50.
  4. Job. (We don’t know precisely when its events occurred, but Job was an Edomite, so obviously he was born after Esau.)
  5. Exodus.
  6. Leviticus.
  7. Numbers.
  8. Psalm 90, ’cause Moses wrote it, and maybe Psalm 91.
  9. Deuteronomy.
  10. Joshua.
  11. More genealogy: 1 Chronicles 2.
  12. Judges.
  13. Ruth.
  14. Various older psalms: Psalms 43, 44, 45, 49, 73, 77, 78, 81, 84, 85, 87, 88, 92, 93.
  15. 1 Samuel 1-20, plus David’s earlier psalms: Psalms 11, 59.
  16. 1 Samuel 21-24, Psalms 7, 27, 31, 34, 52, 56, 120, 140, 141, 142.
  17. 1 Samuel 25-27, Psalms 17, 35, 54, 63.
  18. 1 Samuel 28-31, 1 Chronicles 3-10, Psalms 18, 121, 123, 124, 125, 128, 129, 130.
  19. 2 Samuel 1-4, Psalms 102, 103, 104.
  20. 1 Chronicles 11-12, Psalms 106, 107, 133.
  21. 2 Samuel 5-6, 1 Chronicles 13-16, Psalms 1, 2, 15, 22, 23, 24, 47, 68, 89, 96, 100, 101, 105, 132.
  22. 2 Samuel 7, 1 Chronicles 17, Psalms 25, 29, 33, 36, 39.
  23. 2 Samuel 8-9, 1 Chronicles 18, Psalms 50, 53, 60, 75.
  24. 2 Samuel 10, 1 Chronicles 19, Psalms 20, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70.
  25. 2 Samuel 11-12, 1 Chronicles 20, Psalms 32, 51, 86, 122.
  26. 2 Samuel 13-15, Psalms 3, 4, 12, 13, 28, 55.
  27. 2 Samuel 16-18, Psalms 26, 40, 58, 61, 62, 64.
  28. 2 Samuel 19-21, Psalms 5, 38, 41, 42.
  29. 2 Samuel 22-23, Psalms 57, 95, 97, 98, 99.
  30. 2 Samuel 24, 1 Chronicles 21-22, Psalms 30, 108, 109, 110.
  31. 1 Chronicles 23-25, Psalms 131, 138, 139, 143, 144, 145.
  32. 1 Chronicles 26-29, Psalms 111-118, 127.
  33. 1 Kings 1-2, Psalms 37, 71, 72, 94, 119.
  34. 1 Kings 3-4, 2 Chronicles 1.
  35. Song of Songs.
  36. Proverbs 1-24.
  37. 1 Kings 5-6, 2 Chronicles 2-3.
  38. 1 Kings 7, 2 Chronicles 4.
  39. 1 Kings 8, 2 Chronicles 5-7, Psalms 134, 146-150.
  40. 1 Kings 9, 2 Chronicles 8.
  41. Proverbs 25-27.
  42. Ecclesiastes, likely.
  43. 1 Kings 10-11, 2 Chronicles 9.
  44. Proverbs 30-31.
  45. 1 Kings 12-14, 2 Chronicles 10-12.
  46. 1 Kings 15-16, 2 Chronicles 13-17.
  47. 1 Kings 17-22, 2 Chronicles 18-23.
  48. Obadiah, likely.
  49. 2 Kings 1-11, Psalms 82, 83.
  50. 2 Kings 12-13, 2 Chronicles 24.
  51. 2 Kings 14, 2 Chronicles 25.
  52. Jonah.
  53. 2 Kings 15, 2 Chronicles 26, Isaiah 1-8.
  54. Amos.
  55. 2 Chronicles 27, Isaiah 9-12.
  56. Micah.
  57. 2 Kings 16-17, 2 Chronicles 28, Isaiah 13-27.
  58. 2 Kings 18, 2 Chronicles 29-31, Isaiah 28-39, Psalm 76.
  59. Hosea.
  60. Isaiah 40-48.
  61. 2 Kings 19, Psalms 46, 80, 135, Isaiah 49-66.
  62. 2 Kings 20-21, 2 Chronicles 32-33.
  63. Nahum, likely.
  64. 2 Kings 22-23, 2 Chronicles 34-35.
  65. Zephaniah.
  66. Jeremiah 1-40.
  67. 2 Kings 24-25, 2 Chronicles 36, Psalms 74, 79.
  68. Habakkuk.
  69. Jeremiah 41-52.
  70. Lamentations.
  71. Ezekiel.
  72. Joel.
  73. Daniel.
  74. Ezra 1-6, Psalm 137.
  75. Haggai.
  76. Zechariah.
  77. Esther.
  78. Ezra 7-10.
  79. Nehemiah, Psalm 126.
  80. Malachi.

The apocrypha.

I had a Catholic reader ask me about where to insert all the Old Testament books which Jews and Protestants don’t include in our bibles, which they call the deuterocanon, and we call apocrypha.

If you’re reading those books too, I don’t mean to leave you out. But you’ll have to swap these lines in the above list.

  1. Ecclesiastes, Tobit.
  2. Habakkuk, Judith.
  3. Lamentations, Baruch.
  4. 1 Maccabees.
  5. 2 Maccabees.
  6. Ecclesiasticus.
  7. Wisdom.

New Testament.

Many Christians figure the New Testament is already in chronological order: First Jesus in the gospels, then Acts, then the apostles’ letters. Right?

Well, sorta. But the apostles’ letters are sorted by author (first Paul, then the writer of Hebrews, then James, Peter, John, and Jude) and length (Romans being the longest of Paul’s letters, Philemon the shortest).

As for what came first in the gospels… well, that’s something we may never figure out. Yes, the order of Jesus’s life is easy to sort out: First he’s born, then starts his ministry, then dies, then is resurrected. But which parable did he tell first? Which miracle did he do first? (Yeah, John implies it was turning water into wine, Jn 2.11 but that word of knowledge about Philip under the fig tree Jn 1.48-29 is just as much a miracle.)

In any event, to get all the Jesus stories sorted out, you’ll need a gospel synopsis. I’m sorta doing one in my Jesus articles. But I admit it’s not gonna be a definitive sorting of which came first. There is no such thing.

In this list I just sort the gospels in order of composition, and leave it to you to sort out the details.

  1. Mark.
  2. Matthew.
  3. Luke.
  4. John.
  5. Acts 1-14.
  6. James.
  7. Acts 15-16.
  8. Galatians.
  9. Acts 17-18.
  10. 1 Thessalonians.
  11. 2 Thessalonians.
  12. Acts 19.
  13. 1 Corinthians.
  14. 2 Corinthians.
  15. Romans.
  16. Acts 20-28.
  17. Colossians.
  18. Philemon.
  19. Ephesians.
  20. Philippians.
  21. 1 Timothy.
  22. Titus.
  23. 1 Peter.
  24. Hebrews.
  25. 2 Timothy.
  26. 2 Peter.
  27. Jude.
  28. 1-3 John.
  29. Revelation.