Review of the Once a Day Chronological Bible

Walk into a Bible bookstore and you’ll see Bibles for every occasion, purpose, and theme. There are Bibles for for women, for men, for kids, for teens, for leaders, for study, for gardeners, for music lovers, for survivors, for those who want life application, and dozens more. In most cases, these are just a typical Bible with a lot of extras added around it, whether it’s commentary, study notes, charts and diagrams, or others. Some of these Bibles are done really well, others are obviously slapped together just for Zondervan to make money off another niche.

I’ve been looking for a once-a-day Bible for a long time. I just turned 45, and for about 20 of the last 30 years I started the New Year with a resolution to read the Bible through in a year. But try as I might, I just can’t seem to get through. Most years I end at Leviticus, I think a few years I made it through to the history books. But I always get distracted, and before I know it weeks have past, I’ve forgotten what the last thing I read was, and there I go waiting for another year.

What’s pretty cool about the NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition is not just that it’s broken into 365 day chunks, which a lot of other “finish in a year” Bible are, but it’s also arranged in chronological order. So you’ll read about Job around the time you’re reading about Noah, which is where many scholars place him in time. You’ll find David’s psalms juxtaposed with the events in the books of Samuel and Kings that inspired them. And so on. You’ll even read the events of the gospels in their correct chronological order. It feels a lot more like reading a paperback novel versus “studying” a religious text.

One thing I love about this Bible is its simplicity. With study Bibles, it seems that every third word has a little letter or number next to it that distracts the flow of reading. With this Bible, at most you’ll find 2-3 footnotes from the NIV translators. Each reading is separated by days, and at the end of each day you have a reflection of about 1-2 paragraphs that help reinforce what you read, albeit some of them seem to be a “stretch’ as far as tying a practical insight to the day’s reading. I like that there are no red letters, no charts and maps, no commentary scattered all over the pages–those are great when you’re studying the Bible, but when I just want to curl up with a good book (that is, The Good Book), I like it simple. If there’s one wish I had, it’s that they’d have released it without any chapter and verse numbers so I could literally read it like a book.

The pages are thin, which makes for a paperback book that’s not too bulky, although you can still see the ink on the other side bleed through the paper. There’s a Kindle version of the same Bible, but call me old-fashioned, I still like the feeling of holding the physical book in my hands and seeing my progress by looking at where I am in the book.

Overall, it’s a great approach to daily Bible reading, and now that I’ve had a birthday, one I’m planning to try myself. Pray for me that I can make it through this year. 🙂