I love a good story. You know, the kind for which you scoot forward and lean in so that you don't miss anything. Such stories can be found in great books, the best of movies, or even a friend’s telling of a tale. We can close a book, exit a theatre, or leave a conversation with the sense that we have just returned from another world. The truth is that good stories stimulate our minds, stir our emotions, inspire awe in us, and can sweep us up into something bigger than ourselves. Have you considered that the Bible is a divinely inspired story? Through its narrative, poetry, and prose, Scripture vividly recounts God’s work in the world. It’s true that the Bible is filled with many individual stories, but it tells one big story of how the Creator God is bringing about His saving and healing reign for the joy of all peoples.
You may know that the Bible contains sixty-six smaller books written by many inspired authors, but I suggest to you that it is meant to be read as a single, unified book with one divine Author. And while the Bible contains many well-developed and unforgettable characters, it is ultimately about one character: the one true God who is revealed in Jesus Christ. Reading the Bible as a single story, with God as its author, and Christ as the main character is sometimes called biblical theology. You might be thinking, shouldn't all theology be biblical? And you’re right. But when we use the term biblical theology, we mean something more than just that our theology is biblical. Biblical theology is a term we use to refer to the way the Bible fits together as a cohesive whole with God Himself as its ultimate author and Christ at the center of it all.
When we read and study the Bible, it is immensely helpful to know how the particular part we are reading fits into the whole of Scripture. In fact, we must learn to see how each part of the Bible contributes to God’s unfolding plan. If we are honest, there are probably entire sections of the Bible that we avoid because we don’t fully understand it or we have trouble seeing how it fits with the rest. Learning to read the Bible in a big picture way will enable us to profit from all of God’s Word and to avoid some common pitfalls. Many of the distortions to the gospel in our own day are largely owing to an impoverished understanding of how to read the Bible according to God’s larger redemptive purposes. The point is that when we learn to see the big picture and know the flow of the Bible’s story, we will be better and more faithful readers.
I want to invite you to join us beginning April 15 for Learn4Life on Wednesday evenings as we embark on a 6-week journey through Biblical Theology: How the Church Faithfully Teaches the Gospel by Nick Roark and Robert Cline. We will trace and tell the big story of the Bible and seek to be more faithful readers of God’s Word. Come and be drawn again into the drama, be swept up into what God is doing in the world, and let’s lean in again to hear God's grand story from the pages of Scripture.