The Bible may be the bestselling book of all time, but it can be difficult to read. Language barriers, cultural differences, and a lack of historical context—not to mention the challenges around interpreting complex allegories—often lead to confusion. Understanding that the Bible is one grand story, however, can transform how the holy text is comprehended. In an effort to promote biblical literacy, Tyndale House is publishing the One Year Chronological Study Bible (Sept.), which combines a study Bible format with a devotional format and puts the events in the Bible in chronological order.
“The Bible is a story—one big story—and all the books work together to tell that story,” says Jim Jewell, senior director of marketing and communications at Tyndale House Publishers. “When reading the Bible chronologically, you are able to see the bigger picture and how the Bible is connected. This puts Bible passages and stories into context and lets you travel the timeline of Bible events.”
The idea for the OYCSB originated during a meeting between a Tyndale employee and Iva May, CEO of Chronological Bible Teaching (CBT), a ministry dedicated to telling the gospel story as it has been revealed in scripture from the beginning, coupled with lessons on the story’s meaning. May was reading Tyndale’s The One Year Chronological Bible NLT, and it revolutionized her Bible reading. “It sparked a passion in her to help others go beyond reading the Bible to understanding and sharing the Bible’s full story,” Jewell says.
Tyndale’s Bible publisher at the time, Blaine Smith, recognized similarities between Tyndale and CBT’s mission, and he understood how a partnership could help bring God’s Word into people’s lives in a powerful way. Jon Bryant, an editor at Tyndale on the OYCSB, says, “The team at CBT absolutely loves the Lord, and they are extremely passionate about increasing Bible literacy by helping people read and understand God’s Word in a way that makes sense.”
The OYCSB is available in the New Living Translation (NLT), which is a thought-for-thought, rather than a word-for-word, translation that uses English phrases to render complex Hebrew and Greek words more faithfully. In addition to offering the complete text of the NLT, the OYCSB is arranged in the order that events actually happened. This unique approach to the Bible allows readers to view it as a single story and reveals God’s plan through history.
The OYCSB features 365 daily readings, introductions, and discovery questions. While the study part of this Bible aims to enhance the impact of daily readings, the daily devotions encourage reading retention and engagement. Further, the biblical stories are divided into 14 eras, with articles and charts to establish context and connection.
“The OYCSB really allows the story to come together for readers,” Jewell says. “The chronological format allows readers to understand the story of God’s Word afresh, while the tools provided by CBT help the story sink in and generate a response from readers.”
When viewed in the context of a larger story, even the most difficult and seemingly uninteresting parts of scripture can come to life. And rather than reading the Bible in bits and pieces, viewing the full story of the Bible can help readers understand what the Bible means in their own lives and stories.
“Humans are shaped by stories, and reading the Bible as a story allows us to discover the overarching narrative, to understand the ways of God as they are imprinted on our hearts and minds, and to participate in His plan of redemption,” Jewell says. “We truly believe that when people not only read but also understand the Bible, it changes everything.”