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.
- Bible (preferably one with nice chapter spacing and wide side margins)
- Sakura PIGMA Micron 05 green pen
- Sakura PIGMA Micron 05 red pen
- Chronological listing of the Bible (compressed file contains chronological listing files in ODS format, XLSX format, PDF format)
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.