” the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole”

We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts (WCF Chapter 1, V).

Back in January, I started a “Bible in a Year” reading plan. I’ve done these before, but this year I did one that was slightly different. It’s a chronological reading plan. The idea is that your reading schedule is based on the historical order of events. For example, Job, who most likely lived after the flood but before Abraham, is read between Genesis 11 and 12.

For me the most helpful part of reading the Bible this way was putting together the history with the corresponding prophets. The books of the prophets are interspersed with the histories of 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles, as well as the various Psalms that fit with particular historical events. This helped me understand the flow of the history so much more than simply reading straight through. By the time I reached Malachi, my heart ached over how unfaithful we have always been as a people, I rejoiced in how merciful and faithful God has always been, and I longed for the coming of the Messiah. It was amazing to see God’s promises unfold.

But the most encouraging thing about reading the Bible this way was the examples over and over again, in both the Old and New Testaments, of the consistency of the whole of Scripture. It is amazing to read the same event described in Kings, Chronicles, and Jeremiah or in the Gospels. At times the focus or the length of the account is slightly different, but on the whole the the “consent of the parts” is striking. I know there are so many “scholars” who rejoice in pointing out the apparent inconsistencies and purported errors that Scripture contains, but only someone intentionally blinded to the truth can deny the beauty and majesty and absolute glory of the Word of God. There is no written word that compares to it.

If you would are interested, you can find a pdf document with the reading plan here. You can use it with whatever translation you prefer.

5 thoughts on “” the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole”

  1. Lori Grassman says:

    I really love the idea of reading the Bible in historical order. It gives you a much greater sense of how events unfolded and the immediacy of the scriptures.

    I was wondering how you think that Job lived before Abraham? I’ve heard people say that he may be post-exile, because the writer of Job quotes Psalms and Proverbs in the book, and because the writing style is very scholarly-well designed and poetically excellent, much as the book of Esther is. (Of course Deuteronomy also has a polished writing style, but that still is much later than Abraham). Job does live much like one of the patriarchs lived, but I think you could easilly insert him into the book of Chronicles, Kings, or post-exile. The ESV notes say that Ezekiel mentions Job and Daniel, and that they think that Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel. But Job is more mysterious! I find Job a fascinating person, and the writer of Job (if he’s not Job himself speaking in third person) equally interesting and mysterious!

    • Rachel Miller says:

      Lori~ I’ve read several different commentaries that place Job before Abraham for a variety of reasons. Here is one I found that summarizes it well:

      First, Job’s postdiluvian status seems apparent from a question Eliphaz raised in his final speech. While accusing Job of wickedness, Eliphaz asked: “Will you keep to the old way which wicked men have trod, who were cut down before their time, whose foundations were swept away by a flood?” (Job 22:16, emp. added). As Wayne Jackson noted: “That this is a reference to the Flood of Noah’s day is almost universally conceded by scholars” (1983, p. 58).

      Second, that Job was a patriarch who lived prior to the time of Moses, and probably closer to the time of Abraham, seems evident from the following facts:

      Like other patriarchs of old (Genesis 8:20; 12:7-8; 31:54), Job, as the head of his family, offered up sacrifices to God (Job 1:5; cf. 42:8). In the book of Job, there is no mention of the Levitical priesthood, the tabernacle, the temple, the Law of Moses, etc.

      Unlike Israelite law, where the family inheritance was passed on to daughters only in the absence of sons (Numbers 27:1-11; 36:1-13), Job gave his daughters “an inheritance among their brothers” (Job 42:15).

      Job’s material wealth was measured, not in money, but in the amount of livestock he owned (Job 1:3; 42:12), which is more characteristic of patriarchal times.

      Finally, that Job lived long before the time of Moses seems evident by the fact that the longevity of his life is more comparable to the long lives of the patriarchs who lived around 2200 B.C. The book of Job reveals that Job lived long enough to marry, become “the greatest of all the men of the east” (1:3), and then witness his first 10 children reach at least the age of accountability (1:5), and probably much greater ages (cf. 1:13,18). Then, after suffering greatly, losing all of his children and his material wealth, God blessed Job with 10 more children and twice as much wealth (42:10-13). The book of Job then concludes: “After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days” (42:10-17, emp. added). Thus, it would appear that Job lived well into his 200s or beyond. Interestingly, the Septuagint testifies that Job died at the age of 240—an age more comparable to the ancestors of Abraham (e.g., Serug, Abraham’s great-grandfather lived to be 230—Genesis 11:22-23).

  2. jilldomschot says:

    I have read a daily Bible for a number of years and have wanted to try the chronological approach, too. Maybe I’ll do it. Did you follow a specific plan, or piece it together yourself?

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