The Bible follows the rise and fall of kingdoms and governments, covers millennia of ancient history, and reveals God’s plan for humanity through powerful accounts that are still relevant today. How can having a panoramic view of the events recorded in Scripture help in your own study of the Bible?
Bible Gateway interviewed Dr. Ed Hindson (@TheKingsComing2), who, along with Dr. Thomas Ice, is the author of Charting the Bible Chronologically: A Visual Guide to God’s Unfolding Plan (Harvest House Publishers, 2016).
What do you mean when you say the biblical view of history is linear, unlike other worldviews?
Dr. Ed Hindson: Biblical history is real history: real people, real places, real events. It unfolds through real time from creation unto the eternal city. In other words, these are the “bookends” of the timeframe of the Bible. Other ancient views of time are cyclical—an endless series of repetitious cycles with no final culmination. The Bible begins with God’s creation and ends with his re-creation of the new heavens and new earth.
Why is it important to study the chronological data presented in the Bible?
Dr. Ed Hindson: The specific data of the biblical events helps us place those events in their original context. The Bible was written in real history not in the realm of mythology. Charting the Bible Chronologically helps the reader understand the order of the biblical events as they will occur in the future.
In your book’s master fold-out timeline, you’ve placed the date of creation to be 4004 BC. What convinces you of that?
Dr. Ed Hindson: By taking the dates of the genealogies literally, one arrives at that date for creation. Otherwise, we would have no way to even begin to compute the date of creation. All other suggested possibilities are mere guesswork.
How do you account for the Bible recording the average age of people before Noah’s flood to be around 930 years?
Dr. Ed Hindson: Long life spans before the flood were likely due to several factors, especially genetics and environment. The human genome had not yet broken down and the pre-flood environment was much less hostile for human existence. After the flood, the environment changed drastically and lifespans dropped accordingly.
Your book summarizes the Bible into seven categories. Please briefly describe them.
Dr. Ed Hindson: The Creation, The Flood, The Abrahamic Promise, The New Testament, The Fate of Israel, Growth of the Church, and Promise of the Future. These simply provide a general outline of biblical history from creation until the fulfillment of biblical prophecies about the future. They give the reader a framework for understanding the Bible in its entirety.
How did the Bible come to be?
Dr. Ed Hindson: The Bible is a collection of 66 books in one volume. These were written under inspiration of the Holy Spirit over a period of 1500 years (from Moses to the Apostle John). Each book has its own unique message of the Bible. Both Jewish and Christian theologians accepted the individual books for canonicity based upon the criteria of their standards of “inspiration.”
What are the “divine institutions” you write about?
Dr. Ed Hindson: There are three institutions that God established before the Fall: 1) Responsible Dominion; 2) Marriage; 3) Family; and at least two after the Fall: 1) Civil Government; 2) National Diversity. These social responsibilities were given to all humankind either at creation or after the flood. Thus, the primary function of human government is to restrain evil so that the pre-Fall institutions can be successful.
What is dispensationalism and why is it controversial?
Dr. Ed Hindson: Dispensations are periods of time (stewardships) in which God dealt with humankind on the basis of his progressive revelation of divine truth. Therefore, dispensationalists view this progression as an essential context through which to interpret Scripture. Dispensational hermeneutics (interpretation) helps us understand how Jesus viewed the relationship of Israel to the church. As with many theological understandings, there are those who disagree and this results in controversy.
Explain the format of your book and how you hope it will impact readers.
Dr. Ed Hindson: The book is divided into historical periods with charts of the main biblical events (for example, patriarchs, judges, prophets, kings, apostles, etc.). These are supplemented with clear discussions of each time period. This enables the reader to move progressively through the Bible in chronological order.
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?
Dr. Ed Hindson: Bible gateway is an incredible tool that opens the Bible to the mind of today’s reader in a multi-faceted way that makes the Bible come to life today.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Dr. Ed Hindson: Thank you for this opportunity to discuss the importance of Charting the Bible Chronologically.
Bio: Dr. Ed Hindson is the Distinguished Professor of Religion and Dean of the School of Divinity at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
He is the speaker on The King is Coming telecast and a Gold Medallion author, having written over 40 books including The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey, The Book of Revelation: Unlocking the Future, and The Gospel of Matthew: The King is Coming. He also served as general editor of the Gold Medallion award-winning Knowing Jesus Study Bible, The King James Study Bible, and the King James Bible Commentary, and is the co-editor of the 16-volume 21st Century Biblical Commentary Series.
An executive board member of the Hendley Foundation, Atlanta Georgia, he is also a Life Fellow of the International Biographical Association of Cambridge, England. Dr. Hindson holds earned degrees from several institutions: BA, William Tyndale College; MA, Trinity Graduate School; the Doctor of Theology (ThD) from Trinity Graduate School, The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) from Westminster Theological Seminary, and the Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) from the University of South Africa. He has done additional graduate study at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Dr. Hindson has served as a visiting lecturer at Oxford University and the Harvard Divinity School, as well as numerous evangelical seminaries including Dallas, Denver, Trinity, Grace, and Westminster. He has taught over 50,000 students in the classroom and another 50,000 online at Liberty University in the past 30 years. His solid academic scholarship, combined with a dynamic and practical teaching style, communicate biblical truth in a powerful and positive manner.
Ed and his wife Donna reside in Forest, VA and have three grown children and seven grandchildren.
Thomas Ice is director of the Pre-Trib Research Center and has authored and coauthored 30-plus books. He has a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary and PhD from Tyndale Theological Seminary, and lives in Texas.
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