Why Isn’t the Bible Chronological?

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Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Hey guys, I don’t know the answer to this question, so maybe you can help me out by sharing your thoughts in the comments section.  Or, perhaps you would like to simply RANT along with me, because this post is basically a complaint.

WHY are the books of the Bible NOT in chronological order?

WHY are the stories out of order?

Ezra should come after Daniel.  But they put if after 2 Chronicles.

Haggai should come after Ezra, but it’s way in the back by Malachi.

There are probably other examples, but you get my point:  this is really annoying!

Were the unregenerate non-believing Jews who put together the Old Testament trying to confuse people on purpose!??

Don’t get me wrong, I adore the books of the Bible, cherish the stories, delight in getting to know Old Testament saints like David and Elijah, and rejoice in the complete redemption that is described in Romans through Revelation . . .

But I just have to say that things would be a lot clearer if the books of the Old Testament were consistently chronological.

And to quote Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”



March 2, 2019  12:28 PM

6 thoughts on “Why Isn’t the Bible Chronological?

  1. Lee Poskey

    Hey miss Lisa, I wish I knew the answer, but I don’t know either why the books aren’t arranged in chronological order.

    I am interested to learn that answer too.
    And I imagine that someone knows the answer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tom M. (palm trees)

    Hi! Thanks for your keeping our brain cells churning and active. Not saying I have the correct answer, but here are a few things to ponder. Jesus stated in Luke 24:44, ““This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” This is the categorization of the Hebrew Old Testament and it has a different order than the English Bible versions, so I believe. Interesting that the categorization of the English Bible books similarly follow this layout: (1)The Pentateuch/Law; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; (4/5) The Prophets; and (3), the Psalms. Inserted in-between are (2), the Historical Books: Joshua through Esther. Jesus broke the categories even more simply as “the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 5:17).

    I recall reading somewhere that honor was given to the Prophets by listing them according to their ‘status’, if I am not mistaken. Hence, we have the greater prophets vs. minor prophets. Therefore, my thoughts are that one would not place a ‘minor prophet’s’ writing alongside a ‘greater prophet’s’ writing. (Ezra following Daniel). You would not place a ‘minor prophet’ in the same category as a ‘historical book’ (Haggai with Ezra). It would be nice if Job was placed appropriately somewhere in Genesis since that would follow its timeline better. However, since it is considered a ‘poetical book’, if I am not mistaken, it is placed with the ‘poetical books’ in the Bible. Jeremiah’s Lamentations follows his writing, though, in the Major Prophets.

    Please, don’t take my word on this. Follow the pattern of the Bereans (Acts 17:11) and check for yourself if this is true or not. I often hesitate giving my opinions because they can, may and often be wrong. I worry about James 3:1! Regardless, merely a suggestion and a guess are presented here and is not to be taken as fact. Thanks again for stirring our brain cells with your query!

    A really nice book to read regarding how we obtained our Old and New Testament is, “From God to Us” by Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix. It has been ages since I read the book. I need to go back and re-read it. I don’t recall if it speaks about how the order of the books were determined, though.

    Spring is only several weeks away!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. momforfreedom

      Hey Palm Tree Tom! I so enjoy reading your comments. Thank you for all of that detailed information. You reminded me that there is a reason for the madness — lol. 😁 I truly appreciate your take on this, and your reminder to us that there is an academic view that explains the categorization and order of the OT books. That certainly does help!

      My biggest complaint is that Ezra was placed after 2 Chronicles, which gives one the impression that the events of Ezra happened directly after the events of 2 Chronicles, and which makes the history of Israel seem entirely confusing. How many ‘seekers’ pick up the Bible, begin reading from the beginning, achieve the miracle of making it through 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings AND 1 & 2 Chronicles (not the most exciting reading in the world, especially if you’re a girly girl like me who doesn’t really care about all the fine details of wars and battles….), and then this seeker makes it to the book of Ezra! And …. uh? . . . What? It’s totally out of order, and what if they get so muddled that they just throw away the Bible in frustration. … but, who knows? Maybe most people have more patience than me. And, thankfully, God doesn’t ask us to put our faith in the Bible, but in the living Word of God, Jesus Christ who died and who rose again.

      Anyway, it’s always fun chatting with you, Tom. Have a great week!


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