Periods of Bible History

Periods of Bible History

This slightly adapted from Wilbur Fields Old Testament History. I always encourage every student to memorize these periods and be able to place any book or passage you are studying in the proper place of history. It keeps you focused on the whole of the story as you study a smaller story within the big picture.

Explanation of the chart

A. The three large arches across the top are the three great dispensations in God’s program between creation and Christ’s Second Coming. A dispensation is a period of time when God administered His kingdom in a particular way. In each dispensation God dispensed His laws in some particular manner.

B. The periods of Bible history within each dispensation are indicated by abbreviations. In the list that follows the portions of Scripture that tell of each period are given.

1. Before the Flood - A.D.P. Antediluvian period, or period before the flood (Genesis 1–8). In this period mankind went rapidly into sin. Because of the wickedness of mankind God destroyed the world by the flood. This period lasted over 1600 years.

2. After the Flood - P.D.P. Postdiluvian period, or period after the flood (Genesis 9–11). People went back into sin after the flood and tried to build the tower of Babel.

3. Patriarchs - P.A.I.J. Period of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 12–50; Book of Job). God called Abram and his family to separate themselves unto Him. Through these men all nations of the earth were to be blessed.

4. Egyptian Bondage - P.B.E. Period of Bondage in Egypt (Exodus 1–12). 430 years in Egypt. In Egypt the family of Abraham multiplied into a great nation.

5. Wilderness Wandering - P.W. Period of Wandering (Exodus 13–40, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). Forty years in the desert with Moses. Israel became God’s covenant nation at Mt. Sinai.

6. Conquest of Canaan - P.C. Period of Conquest (Joshua). About 7 years.

7. Judges - P.J. Period of Judges (Judges; Ruth; 1 Samuel 1–7). About 300 difficult years, when “everyone did as he saw fit.”

8. United Kingdom - U.K. United Kingdom. Reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon. (1 Samuel 8–31; 2 Samuel; 1 Kings 1–11; 1 Chronicles 10–29; 2 Chronicles 1–9.

The poetic books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs are from this period.)

9. Divided Kingdom - D.K. Divided Kingdom (1 Kings 12–22; 2 Kings; 2 Chronicles 10–36). Two kingdoms: Judah and Israel.

10. Babylonian Captivity - P.C.B. Period of Captivity in Babylon (Books of Daniel and Ezekiel; Psalm 137). 70 years in Babylon.

11. Return and Restoration - P.R.& R. Period of Return and Restoration (Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi).

12. 400 Silent Years - 400 years (or a few more) between the Old Testament and New Testament.

13. Life of Jesus - L.C. Life of Christ (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

14. Church age - Church age. (Acts, epistles [Romans through Jude], part of Revelation). During this age men can receive Christ Jesus, and be saved from the world.

The first part of the church age (to about A.D. 100) was the A.P., the Apostolic period.


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