I began a Bible study at my churches on Sunday that I have taught at every church I have served. I call it “The Story of Scripture,” and use it as an intro to teaching the Scripture as a whole, book by book. Here, I simply wish to put down in writing the main ideas that are taught in these sessions.
This way, those who miss the study can review the main points. Also, this allows for us to have a resource to aid in review of what we are studying.
Firstly, we must remember that, even though the Scriptures were told and retold and then written down by various people over a span of many, many years, the Scriptures do tell a singular story. Woven within this story are what I see as five themes: Creation — Relationship — Sin — Redemption — Kingdom. God has created the world and all that is within it, with humanity as the height of creation, set aside as stewards over all creation. Human beings, made in the image of God are created to be in special relationship with God, one another, and the rest of creation. The words ‘ish (man) and ‘ishah (woman) and the words ‘adam (human) and ‘adamah (earth/ground), all used in Genesis 2, highlight the close connection between humans and humanity/creation. However, sin (which is primarily the breaking of the relationships between God and humanity, humanity and humanity, and humanity and creation) separates us from those relationships. God then works through human history to redeem us, or in other words, to restore those relationships to their proper order. The culmination of this redemption is the institution of the kingdom of God, in which God and creation will again relate to one another in God’s purposed design.
Secondly, we must remember that the Old Testament was written by a people who did not have the whole revelation of God before them. The Old Testament is a story of a people emerging out of polytheism and into monotheism. The God that the Israelites come to know is the true God, and yet they are surrounded culturally by the presence of many “gods”. It should be no surprise that the Israelites struggled so often with idolatry, as from their beginning, they were being called out of the status quo of polytheism.
This leads into our third point. We must remember that the revelation of God in Scripture is progressive. Abraham does not receive the full revelation of God. Moses receives more than Abraham, but not all. The prophets, the writings, all who come after, bring to us a clearer picture of God, and yet even that picture is slightly obscured. We only get the full revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Thus, even though there are many arguments against having a canon within the canon of Scripture, we must read all of Scripture through the filter or lens of Jesus Christ. All that has happened from the beginning unto the Gospels points forward to Jesus Christ. All that has happened since points back to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the full revelation of God, and we have been given the Holy Spirit to bring Christ to life within us and our context.
This sums up the main points discussed this past Sunday — more will follow as we progress through this study of the Scriptures!