Harmony of Gospels: studying Christ’s life in chronological order

Around Christmas time last year I decided that in order to enhance my personal study it would be interesting to read the Christmas story in chronological order. Instead of reading a version at a time from each of the gospel writers like I normally do. But why stop there? Wouldn’t it also be interesting to read the whole of Christ’s mortal life in chronological order?

How does one find such a thing? I started with Google. Surely, I wasn’t the first person to attempt such a thing. Funny enough my internet search led me right back to my very own set of scriptures. In the LDS edition of the King James Bible there is a study help called Harmony of the Gospels. The Harmony is an attempt at a arranging the events in the four gospels in near chronological order. While it’s impossible to be a perfect timeline of events because the writers disagree on some of timing, it is a very good place to get a flow of Christ’s ministry.

I began reading around Thanksgiving not really knowing how long it would take or what it would entail. At first, I tried using my paper and ink copy of the bible. But I quickly discovered if I used the Gospel Library app on my iPad, I could click on the links and it would take me directly to only the verses I needed.

About a month into my reading, I developed my system. I had the Harmony on my app. On another screen in the app I had the Maps and Bible Dictionary so that I could easily look up questions as I went along. I also had lds.org pulled up to the Bible Video section so that I could watch any videos that pertained to my daily reading.

As I went along I could see how the scriptures fit together and gained a better understanding of the background. It was a wonderful experience. I wanted to share it with others so after I finished I went back through and developed a schedule for the Easter season. It begins about a month and a half before Easter and goes through the holiday. I found the events in Acts so thrilling that I included that book in the schedule as well.

The schedule is taken directly from the Harmony.   Although I tried adding hyperlinks to the schedule to make it as handy as using the Gospel Library app Harmony, it didn’t work out so well. My advice if you’d like to follow the schedule is to use the app for the scripture references. The hyperlinks for the videos and other material work well in the schedule and are handier than using the app (at least that’s my opinion). It doesn’t really matter though, however you want to do it I strongly encourage a study using the chronological order of events.

Using the Harmony, maps, videos, and dictionary provided me a powerful learning experience. As I saw the movement and travels the well-known stories became more than stories but events. It was a like a puzzle I was able to put together to see the bigger and whole picture. There is no bad time to do this kind of study but I thought Easter would be a great time for a group discussion. I always gain a new perspective from other people’s insights.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

I attempted to align the videos with the study. However, some overlap and others are not marked clearly. There are also two supplement videos I found while putting this together that are not available on the app. One comes from the Mormon Newsroom and the other is from National Geographic.

Since the last week of the Savior’s life is outlined I tried following the events with the days of the week leading up to Easter. One day’s events are unknown so I split one day into two. A couple of days were quite busy. This makes the week prior to Easter a little uneven in quantity of reading. Adjust accordingly.

The links in the Gospel verses will take you to the chapter. I did not add links to the modern revelation verses.

The spreadsheet has two sheets. One is the full schedule and is on Executive size paper. If you want to print it keep in mind you will need bigger paper. The other sheet has the schedule and extra links only. It is for use if you want to use the Gospel Library app for the scripture verses.

There is a Facebook group to promote discussion of our reading. It is called “92 Day Book of Mormon Challenge.” We are borrowing it for the season. It is a closed group but sincere studiers are welcome to request an invitation.

The 2017 Easter Season Schedule will go from March 1 – May 3(ish).

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