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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Amazing Bible Timeline Review

My kids and I have started a chronological study of history based on the Bible, so receiving this Amazing Bible Timeline to review right now was perfect timing. Or at least it should have been. Unfortunately, it's kind of a double edged sword. Let me explain.

The Amazing Bible Timeline is HUGE-it's size alone justifies the "amazing" part of its name. (It's 38" x 46".) Here's a picture of it that shows its size a little better.
But that same huge size means it has to be curled up to be shipped, and because it is on heavy duty card stock with a varnished top, it took quite a bit of convincing to get mine to lay anywhere close to flat. We started with it face DOWN on the dining room table (to get it to uncurl) and then eventually flipped it upright, but had to cover it with a vinyl clear shower curtain to protect it and keep the edges from curling, and then the kids couldn't really see it, so now it's taped to our wall, and that seems to be working better. Except my dining room is now decorated in "early homeschooling".

The goal of this timeline is to present the events of the Bible in a way that you can see the whole Bible timeline at once...and see it concurrent with the other world events of that time. It covers everything from creation to the end times, with the BC stuff to the right as you view the timeline, and the AD stuff to the left. The centuries come out from the middle on spokes and are numbered along the outer edge too. Four different colors are used to show the descendants of Noah's sons, and also to show the major acting influences on the church (the reformation, the catholic church, etc.). It attempts to allow the viewer to get an idea, at a glance, of all the things that were going on around the world at the same time as any Bible event they are studying. It is an awesome task to undertake, and hard for any one resource to do well.

The pros to this product are that it really does help you see how things overlap in history. Even the early Bible genealogies are helpful. To SEE how Adam was still alive during the lifetime of Noah's grandfather, and even FATHER, was very eye-opening. And to see when Buddha or Confucius or the other major characters from other "religions" fit into the Bible timeline is all very interesting to me as a history buff. The timeline bases itself on the research of Bishop Ussher, who in the late 1500's, put together probably the most comprehensive Bible timeline ever, so it begins with a solid foundation (for Christians who subscribe to the "young earth" idea).
And it comes with a few free downloads, including a smaller version of the Amazing Bible Timeline for your computer, and an interactive map of the Holy Land.

Oh, but the cons...they are numerous too. First, there's the whole, "I can't get it to lay flat"thing, which is compounded by the fact that I did not want to have to tape it to the wall, but that proved to be the only way to make it usable. Then, there's the fact that it's not laminated, so you can't mark on it, and that tape that I used to tape it to the wall will now have to be a permanent addition because It would rip the timeline apart to remove it. Then there's the issue with it taking a bit of time to "wrap your brain around it" so you can really read it-this is not a tool a younger child could use. I'd say you are definitely looking at upper middle school and up. And the colors were confusing to me. I'd rather have seen the histories separated out clearly by continent, and then a side notation of which son of Noah they are believed to descend from. Except you couldn't do that because Africa is totally skipped over other than Egypt. Apparently nothing interesting in the history of the world happens there. But oddly enough, there's a LARGE focus on the pre-Colombian history of the America's.
It starts here.

And continues here (it's the outermost ring).

And keeps going HERE...and you might want to actually READ above, because yes, there is cited as a reference the Book of Mormon.

That explains a LOT of the emphasis on the history of the Native Americans, since the Mormons believe Jesus came to visit the Native Americans after His resurrection. That doesn't line up with God's Word, and so those references are not valid in my opinion. Now, I don't mean to take issue with anyone else's belief system, but I know personally that God's Word tells us in Jude 3 that we should earnestly contend for the faith against false doctrine, so that is what I must do here. The link to Mormon beliefs also renders all the references to end-time prophecy null, since their understanding of the prophecy of Daniel and mine are totally different. And since my kids are currently studying Daniel (they'll move to the end-times stuff in January) and they spent last year doing Revelation, that information being presented as fact when it is contrary to our understanding is just not okay.

The bottom line to me is that if you are among the 90% of the population out there who would take no issue with the incongruencies caused by the Mormon beliefs being presented as fact on the chart, than this is a good reference for you. And if you are handy with a sharpie marker and don't mind permanently disfiguring your timeline, than this is a good reference for you too. In fact, I want to be clear that I won't be ripping it off my wall anytime soon, because I do think it is a good tool, and since it's not laminated I can mark through things in sharpie marker to rid our chart from the information that runs contrary to our beliefs, so that's what I plan to do.

The Amazing Bible Timeline and the accompanying free downloads, are available HERE for $29.97 plus $6 shipping. To read what other TOS Crew members had to say, go HERE.

Legal disclaimer:
As a member of the TOS crew,I received the Amazing Bible Timeline free of charge in exchange for my honest review. That free product is the only "payment" I received for my opinion.
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Cheryl said...

good review! I LIKE that you added in the Mormon reference... that would have been very important when I was shopping for a timeline when the kids were younger. I think those who wouldn't care are those who don't subscribe to a young earth belief too, but I may not be thinking fully either!

Melissa said...

Go Contender! Good for you!

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