Markup a Bible for Chronological Reading

Updated on 2021-08-21

I set a personal goal a few years ago to read the entire Bible. I have now read the entire Bible twice, although I skipped over the genealogy parts both times and the instructions from God for the building of the temple on the second read.

The second time I decided to read the entire Bible, I wanted to read the Bible chronologically; i.e. in the order of events. I decided to purchase HCSB Reading God’s Story: A Chronological Daily Bible by Dr. George H. Guthrie (henceforth called the HCSB chronological Bible). HCSB is an acronym for the Holman Christian Standard Bible, one of many Bible translations. I found reading the Bible in chronological order to be a more enjoyable and enlightening experience. However, the HCSB chronological Bible would not make a good reference Bible. If you needed to look up a particular book, chapter, and verse, how would you do that? I also much prefer the New American Standard Bible (NASB) translation of the Bible.

I then thought about copying the chronological format from the HCSB chronological Bible into a spreadsheet. That way, I could mark up my Bible of choice and have the best of both; a Bible that could be used as a reference and a Bible that could be read chronologically.

Before I embarked on marking up an entire Bible for chronological reading, I wanted to make sure that the chronological format of the HCSB chronological Bible was accurate. I performed an Internet search and discovered a chronological listing of the books of the Bible on the Whitefields Prayer site. I ended up creating two separate spreadsheets for each format and then a third spreadsheet combining both formats for comparison purposes. Both formats were somewhat close, but the chronological format of the HCSB chronological Bible appeared to be more accurate to me.

The Bible I marked up for chronological reading has nice chapter spacing and wide side margins. A Bible with less chapter spacing and/or narrow side margins might be a challenge to mark up for chronological reading.

Required Supplies:

You should also download and decompress the GPG signature for the chronological listing to verify that the file has not been tampered with. You will also need the Shared Bits public key and verification software.


01) Using the chronological listing for the HCSB chronological Bible, you’ll note that the first reading is the book of Genesis (Old Testament), chapters 1 and 2. Go to the end of chapter 2 in the book of Genesis; that should be verse 25. Using the red Sakura Pigma Micron 05 pen, write a notation to the side of the beginning of the verse or at the end of the verse indicating the stopping point and where you need to start reading next. In this instance, the next place to start reading will be the book of John (New Testament), chapter 1, verse 1 (John 1:1).

02) Turn to the book of John (New Testament), chapter 1, verse 1, and using the green Sakura Pigma Micron 05 pen, write a notation to the side of, or above, the beginning of the verse indicating that this is the starting point to read and the previous book, chapter, and verse. In this instance, the previous book, chapter, and verse was the book of Genesis, chapter 2, verse 25 (Gen 2:25).

Note: Initially I used greater than (>) and less than (<) symbols as an additional aid to indicate starting and stopping points, but I later determined that ink color was good enough and required less writing space.

03) Continue until you have marked up the entire Bible.

Post header image courtesy of Luke Palmer at Unsplash.



  • Jeffery Baldwin

    I read Challies (challies.com) blog, and he recommended a 5-Day Reading plan that is in chronological order that I was able to download from his web site via a link, and is also available from Lower Lights Publications (www.BibleClassMaterial.com). I started as of today (1 Jan 19) and doubled up for Mon & Tuesday to catch up for the week. The nice part is that as it is a 5-day plan, if I miss a day, I can catch up on the weekend. I am also starting with 1 January for the John MacArthur “Drawing Near” Devotional Bible for my Daily Devotionals.

    • Kurt Meyer

      Thank you for sharing the info. I’ll check it out. As far as missing a day, there are no days to keep up with, or keep track of, with what I’ve presented in this post. You choose when and how much you want to read. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *