That’s a great question! One that many Christians haven’t much thought about! In fact, the vast majority of Christians have never even considered it, let alone done it.
That’s about to change for many of them!
The reason is because of a new reading program called “Through the Bible . . . as It Happened!” It re-arranges the Bible material into a chronological format. That means the events are re-arranged so the reader reads them in the order they occurred – much like a novel. The normal way the Bible is arranged is “themed.” That means the material is all put together according to subject, not according the when it happened.
For example, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles all cover much of the same material. It is a theme: the history of Israel from the time of the kings until the country’s dissolution. If read as they appear in the Bible, the reader reads about that history not once, not twice, but three times. The chronological version puts all of them together seamlessly – so the reader reads that part of Israel’s history just once, and with the ability to compare the nuances of each of the three accountings. And they do differ in many of the details.
That’s just the start of it! Most of the prophets had their ministries during that part of Israel’s existence, but their books appear long after those books, way back in the end section of the Old Testament.
The author of the program, David Shreve, has put all of those prophetical writings where they belong, verse by verse. It completely changes a person’s understanding of the Bible! The same is true of Job, the Psalms, Proverbs and the other books of the Old and New Testaments. Each is placed where they occurred. Imagine reading a psalm when the event which precipitated its writing occurred. That psalm just comes to life!
All of the Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – has been re-arranged. It’s just fascinating!
And there’s more. The author has filled “Through the Bible . . . as It Happened” with over 1,200 pages of commentary notes, all written by himself. His education comes from Cedarville University, where he received a degree in Bible and in Greek. He has researched and taught the Bible for nearly 50 years, so he is certainly not a novice in this field. He would be described as evangelical conservative.
This program began in 1974, when there were no chronological Bible reading systems in place, and has been continually revised since that time. Launched to the general public in 2018, it may become a standard in Christian circles.