TIMELINE OF THE BIBLE
The Bible is based around about two thousand years of history, two thousand years of Israel’s history, God’s people, our history essentially.
Now at the beginning of the Bible you have this pre-historic history of Israel and we aren’t going to put a timeframe to that because it’s an incredibly debated topic. But during this time we learn about how God created everything. We learn about the Fall of Man where sin gets entered into the world. We see the great flood and Noah’s Ark and the Tower of Babel with everyone getting spread out all over the earth.
Then right around 2000 BC we get introduced to a man named Abraham and this is the start of Israel’s history. You see, their history can basically be split into 4 parts of 500 years each. The first section right around 2000 BC, the second section around 1500, the third around 1000, and the fourth around 500.
We learn about the 2000 BC section in Genesis 12-50. This is where the people are led by what’s called the Patriarchs. Abraham to Joseph. It’s a family of God’s people that’s beginning to build out into a large community. Then all of a sudden we have a 400 year gap in history where God was silent. There aren’t any records of what happened during this time in the Bible.
Beginning in Exodus we learn that the Israelites are now in slavery in Egypt and there’s a lot more of them than before. Whereas 70 Israelites entered into Egypt, during that 400 and maybe 30 year period, that number grew to over 2 million people! And during this 1500 BC timeline is when we see Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery and first into the wilderness and eventually the Promised Land.
Instead of being led by the Patriarchs, like before, the people are now being led by Prophets. Moses to Samuel. And we can learn all about it in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth.
Now the third section is around 1000 BC. This is the empire, led by princes, from Saul through Zedekiah. It was the golden age. One of the main people at the beginning was King David. And all Jews have looked back to that time period where everything was glorious. The Messiah was said to come from the line of David. This was the peak. But as time went on, everything began to go downhill. The Israelites split into two groups: You have the northern kingdom of Israel consisting of 10 tribes and then the southern kingdom of Judah consisting of 2 tribes. And everything falls apart for hundreds of years.
Around 500 BC we have the lowest part in Israel’s history. They were just getting out of being in exile and finishing up the second temple but it was nothing in compared to the first one. It was a fresh start but things weren’t looking good. The people were now being led by priests. We learn about this time in Daniel and Esther and a lot of the Major and Minor prophets. It can be tough to even read.
And then all of a sudden we have another 400 year gap where God is silent. During this time, the world is introduced to Socrates and Plato and Aristotle and Alexander the Great. A bunch of major thought leaders in history.
But then the New Testament comes around. And God begins to speak again. We meet John the Baptist first then Jesus enters the scene and everything changes. This is the Messiah that everyone was waiting for since the time of King David. He was here to bring restoration. To bring the Kingdom of God to earth. But it looked a whole lot different than people expected. If you remember, the Israelites tried to be led by the Patriarchs, prophets, princes, and priests, what they didn’t realize is that they needed someone who could embody all four types of leadership. And the only person who could do that was Jesus.
So for the next hundred years, the New Testament was only written in around 100 years or less, but during this time we see the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We see Paul go on his first missionary journey around AD 44, followed by 3 other missionary journeys. And we see the birth of what we know as the church today.
So if you want to see a full detailed timeline where you can plug in each book to know what’s happening in history so that it makes more sense as you’re diving deeper, you can find it in the Bible Study or in our Bible Made Easy download in the free resources section of our website.