Why Establishing a Chronology of the Old Testament Is So Difficult

The study of biblical chronologies is viewed as one of the most difficult subjects of Old Testament studies. This is because the Old Testament books are arranged in chronological and theological order. Because these books were organized according to theological themes, perhaps it was not the intention of the authors of these books to provide perfectly chronological records, but instead to tell the history of Israel from a theological point of view.

Why Establishing a Chronology of the Old Testament is so Difficult

Photo Credit: Ryk Neethling

Therefore the task of a chronologist, according to the Tyndale Bible Dictionary,  is to “examine the pertinent biblical and non-biblical information, note areas of correlation among all the data, and finally establish a working system into which the most facts can be fitted.” With this careful (and even scientific) process an accurate chronology of Old Testament events can be reconciled.

This blog post will share a few dates which are known with certainty in the Old Testament while at the same time sharing why establishing a chronology of the Old Testament is difficult.

I. Firm Dates Known with Certainty in the Old Testament

Bible scholars can identify specific Old Testament events is with good accuracy most of the time.