As we've purposed to walk our kids through the Bible this year in chronological order, I have been keeping my eyes out for excellent resources to supplement our studies. The gospels have always fascinated me with their distinct flavors, while each telling the same story. When I saw Christ Chronological, a new resource from Lifeway publishers, I was fascinated to get my hands on it and see if it would be helpful for our pursuit. It is incredible.
I received a copy of Christ Chronological for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. See my full disclosure for more details.
This book is exactly what it sounds like, a chronological compilation of the writings of the gospels. What I love about it is that it uses color to differentiate each gospel writer, and then places the writings side by side so the reader can clearly compare each account.
The resource begins with the prehistory and birth of Christ. As an introduction to each of the events, the editor presents helpful context for understanding the contents. He quotes Morna Hooker's observations about the importance of how a story begins and ends. She explains that "each provides important clues about the meaning of the material that lies in between."
Why Are There Four Gospels?
As we read through the gospels, its important to note the purpose and audience of each of the writers.
- Matthew wrote to the Jews with the intent to present Jesus Christ as the King of Kings
- Mark wrote to the Romans and showed how Jesus came as a Servant
- Luke, the doctor, wrote to the Greeks and focused on how Jesus was the Perfect Man
- John, written years after the first three, writes to a broader gentile world (not the Jews) and works to present Jesus as the Son of God.
Keeping these simple purposes before you as you read through each account provides a fascinating study on why each author included each event in the way in which he did. This clever compilation does a masterful job of presenting this information in an engaging format that draws the reader in.
Questions to Help You Know Christ Better
I love how Aristotle's five common topics help a reader discover more about what they're thinking about. Those simple questions can bring your sanctified imagination to life in unexpected ways!
This is about understanding the basic essence or nature of a thing.
- Who is Jesus? What is a servant? What does it look like to be perfect?
You can find out more about a thing by looking at how it is similar or different than another thing, and to what degree their differences and similarities exist.
- How is Jesus similar to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob? How is he different?
- Is the way Jesus came to earth better/worse than what the Jews expected?
There are four categories in which to discover how two things naturally relate to each other: cause/effect, antecedent/consequence, contraries, and contradictions.
- Did something cause Jesus to do what he did?
- What will happen if Jesus does or doesn't do what he promises?
This topic covers the basic limitations on what is possible as well as what is and is not probable.
- Is it possible to live a perfect life?
- Is it possible to break the curse?
- If we believe Jesus is who he says he is, can we be certain that he will save us?
- What else was going on in the world when Jesus came? preformed his miracles? died on the cross?
Who can offer an expert opinion on a subject?
- Should a disciple be considered an authority?
- What are the biases of these authorities?
- Who all said they saw these things happen? Can they be trusted?
The beauty of scripture is that can stand up to scrutiny. It has for thousands of years, and it still stands today.
Enjoy Christ Chronological with your family as you engage your mind in soaking in the scriptures.