One of the New Year’s Resolutions I actually kept in 2012 was reading the Bible in its entirety. The format I used for that was the The One Year Chronological Bible in the New Living Translation on my Kindle.
From the publisher:
Now you can gain a better understanding of the order of biblical events and the historical context in which they unfolded. The One Year Chronological Bible arranges the Bible text in the order the events actually happened. Prophetic books are interwoven with the historical accounts they accompanied. Psalms follow the events about which they were written. Proverbs are placed in the time frame in which they were compiled. The life of Christ is woven into one moving story. And Paul’s letters to the young churches in the first century are integrated into the book of Acts.
It is hard to reflect on a reading project like this (a lot of text over the course of a year) but I enjoyed it and recommend this to anyone. It was a rewarding and insightful process.
More after the jump.
First, I have to say reading this on the Kindle was great. Great to not have to carry around a big fat book and particularly easy to read at night before bedtime. It is also handy for looking up references and notes. It made it that much easier to keep to the discipline of reading every day and even in catching up when I didn’t. High recommend this for Kindle or other eReader owners who want to read through the Bible in a year.
The next aspect is the chronological format and I enjoyed that as well. As noted above, this is particularly helpful with the integration of the prophetic and wisdom books with the history of their times. In the New Testament it allows the reader to get a sense of the order of the Pauline Epistles and the backdrop of the book of Acts. Things get repetitive during the first and second Chronicles and first and second Kings section but otherwise is very useful to understand the chronology of events..
I don’t have any startling insights to offer I am afraid. What struck me in the OT was the constant way in which God seeks a faithful Israel and how his chosen people continue to fail at this most basic task. Israel insights on having a king and then experiences the ups and downs that come with that choice. But after the high point of David things turn ugly, sliding towards unfaithfulness and the resulting oppression.
In the NT, the thing that truck me was how big of a focus for Paul was the debate about ceremonial Judaism versus faith in Christ. We don’t think about it through this lens today but issues like circumcision and eating food sacrificed to idols were controversial and divisive. The issue of faith versus works was caught up in process of bringing the Gospel to the gentiles and the changing nature of Jewish identity. We think of faith and works in theological terms but for the early church is was much more practical and involved ethnicity and identity.
I didn’t think about the translation all that much to be honest but I found the NLT readable and well done. Here is a bit from the Bible Gateway:
The goal of any Bible translation is to convey the meaning of the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts as accurately as possible to the modern reader. The New Living Translation is based on the most recent scholarship in the theory of translation. The challenge for the translators was to create a text that would make the same impact in the life of modern readers that the original text had for the original readers. In the New Living Translation, this is accomplished by translating entire thoughts(rather than just words) into natural, everyday English. The end result is a translation that is easy to read and understand and that accurately communicates the meaning of the original text.
Just FYI. As I said, I enjoyed it and found it readable.
So to summarize, if you are looking to read through the Bible in a year, I highly recommend the Kindle or ebook format and the chronological format if you are looking for a different perspective.