Understanding the Old Testament Timeline

The Bible is sorted by genre rather than historical order, based on law books, history, poetry, prophecy, gospels, and letters. I help you make sense of it in my printable Old Testament timeline.

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THE OLD TESTAMENT TIMELINE

For those of you feeling like there’s no way you can ever make sense of the Bible, I challenge you to look at it with a new perspective. For this lesson, don’t try to figure it all out. And for those of you who have read these stories time and time again, don’t think you can’t discover more. Be a student learning about a new topic for the first time so that you can see the pages with fresh eyes. Before you tackle anything new, it helps to get organized.

So where do we start?

There is a disclaimer: the books of the Bible aren’t presented in chronological order.

They’re sorted by genre rather than historical order. These groups are based on law books, history, poetry, prophecy, gospels, and letters.

Look at the Bible as a collection of connected documents that tell the same stories in a different way. Some stories are told as poetry (Psalms), others as circumstantial rules (Leviticus), while others repeat the same story from different viewpoints (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

PRINT YOUR OLD TESTAMENT TIMELINE

Using some of my favorite Bible study resources, I compiled a simple printable to organize the order of events in the Old Testament timeline.

OLD TESTAMENT TIMELINE TIPS:

  • No one is exactly sure when Job was written, but most agree it was probably before the exodus from Egypt.
  • Exodus through Deuteronomy are all books during Moses’ life
  • The story of Ruth occurred during the time of the judges
  • 1 and 2 Chronicles mirrors a lot of what is written in 1 and 2 Kings, but it also covers the details of the Kingdom split into Israel and Judah
  • The Israelites in both kingdoms were eventually captured by Assyrians, then the Babylonians, and then allowed to return home when they were taken over by the Persians.
  • After the exile, they restore Jerusalem and then there were 400 more years of silence before the New Testament began.

This timeline breaks down complex ideas into a visual that makes it easier to understand the bigger story:


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You can order all of my Bible Timelines in my shop.

Then check out some other posts on spiritual development:

Keep learning, friend! You’ve got this! 

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