If there is a contradiction in the bible, you should listen to the newest rule (where I'm coming from is here). Wouldn't it make more sense for orthodox Christianity that the books of the bible be put in chronological order? Would the order be as they were written or when the events take place?

The question: Is there a version of the bible which is in chronological order - if so, which chronological order?

  • Those two stories are in chronological order.
    – Flimzy
    Commented May 4, 2013 at 5:13
  • @Flimzy I agree that those two are in chronological order being OT and NT. However, should the NT be in order? Commented May 6, 2013 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


To answer the question directly, yes, there are Bibles arranged in "chronological order." This book for example, seeks to arrange every passage of the Bible chronologically. That said, I'm not sure that's really the best approach.

Firstly, by cutting and pasting passages from multiple books by multiple authors, one destroys the uniqueness of each book. Imagine, for example, if someone were to arrange Wagner's Ring Cycle, the movie 'Europa, Europa', the Diary of Anne Frank, and random information from 'The Rise and the Fall of the Third Reich' "chronologically. The mish-mash would do justice to none of it.

As it is, the Bible is arranged roughly right:

  1. The "historical" books of Genesis through 2 Chronicles + Ezra-Nehemiah and Esther is basically in order, with the caveat that 1 & 2 Chronicles are basically repeats 1 & 2 Kings.

  2. The "writings" aka "Wisdom literature" of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Eccelesiates are not chronological at all, and thus ordering would not make sense. Futhermore, the only "rules" in this category would be Proverbs - and even here, you'll find that wisdom != rules. (Proverbs, for example, admits that bribes work! It doesn't say that they are right, only that they are effective.

  3. The "prophets" from Isaiah to Malachi are the most troublesome ordering, for the traditional ordering is not chronological, but rather based on length, importance, and keywords. Still the "rules" again, really aren't the issue. If you want a "rule" it is simply "Be just, not corrupt!" Historically it would be more interesting, I'll admit, but not vital to the message.

  4. The Gospels historically represent a shift from Jewish to Christian thought. Jesus does alter the terms of the covenant to be sure, leading many (not me, but many) to say "NT supercedes OT." That division is useful for those who see a dichotomy.

  5. Acts is historical, and is placed correctly.

  6. The Epistles of Paul, Peter, and the others are arranged by length, not order, but they all fall within a period of 40 years at most - nothing like the 4000 years of the OT. As such, again, there is no particular "order" nor contradiction.

  7. Finally, Revelation is apocalyptic, not "rule" based.

As such, I disagree that a reordering of books is necessary.

Finally, progressive revelation doesn't actually say that God "changes" so much as we more fully understand what God wants. In the OT, the afterlife is only a vague reference at best - but it is clear in the NT. Is this a "contradiction"? Well, I suppose you could turn it into one. Likewise, the issue of child sacrifice - from norm to being abhorrent - was that really God or Man? Indeed, one could even make a case that the bible condones slavery, I don't believe it, but the case is made. Still, Christians eventually realized it contradicted God's deeper law. People change! The "rules" sometimes even reflect that. But that is not exactly what the progressiveness of revelation is really about. It's about us understanding God better - not Him giving better rules.


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