The Big Story of Scripture
If a friend were to ask you, “Can you explain the big story of the Bible in a few sentences?” How would you answer them? You could probably break down the story of the 3 little pigs, or the plot line of a familiar movie, but the Bible? Is that even possible? There are just too many stories and plots and characters and…genealogies!
Big Idea: God has given structured Scriptures in order to tell a unified story
In order to view the unified story we are going to use four Words: Creation, Rebellion, Redemption, Restoration
Recognizing this overarching story is also the best way to understand the smaller episodes, characters, and yes, genealogies. We see the organic unfolding of God’s revelation by tying it all to the big story. When we understand the thread running through the biblical revelation we see that God has a plan and every story is connected to it somehow.
Think of it as a tow rope. A rope is made up of many strands. Each strand is made up of numerous threads. Each thread is made up of various fibers. But although there are a variety of individual pieces, they are all pulling in one direction. These four main acts of the overarching story are like knots in the rope.
The biblical authors saw this story unfold and used it as the foundation for their teaching. In Eph 1:4-11 we see:
God chose us before CREATION (Eph 1:4), and then redeemed and forgave us (Eph 1:7) after our REBELLION, lavishing grace [REDEMPTION] (Eph 1:7-8) by bringing us back, in order to set forth Christ (Eph 1:9-10) “as the supreme Ruler of the universe” (BTOT).
So, here are the major acts of the most true story in all the world:
The storyline of the entire Scriptures
1. Creation: God bringing into existence and ruling over new life (Gen 1-2; John 1:1-3; Col 1:15-20; Ps 8, 19)
2. Rebellion: Man rejecting God’s rule out of defiance (Gen 2:16-17; 3:1-24; Rom 5:12-21)
3. Redemption: God seeking out fallen individuals in order to restore fellowship with him (Gen 3:15ff; Rom 3:9-26; Eph 2:1-10)
4. Restoration: God judging, removing the curse, and making all creation right (Jesus promises of the kingdom in the Gospels; Rev 19-22)
Remember our structure of Scripture from last week? This is why we needed to see the structure. It points us to the fact that God began something (Gen 1) and will complete it (Rev 22)!
This cycle is not only seen in the “rope” of Scripture, but also in the threads.
Destruction and new earth after the Flood (creation)
Noah gets drunk and son sins and there is a curse (rebellion)
God focuses on one man – Abraham (redemption)
God calls Abraham and makes promises (restoration)
God calls one man to make a new nation, leading him to a new country
Abraham goes down to Egypt and lies about Sarah
God promises a son
God starts the new line
God promises a great nation
Jacob lies, connives, and makes a mess of things
God purifies and unifies the nation by sending them into Egypt
God brings them out of Egypt to a new land/rest (Hebrews)
God creates a new nation and leads them to their land
They reject God and want a king
God gives them Saul and then a man after God’s own heart, David
David brings peace to the land
God has given them their king in the kingdom
The nations rejects God and worships other gods
God sends them into exile
God brings them back to the land
- Individual believer
We are dead, in the darkness of night, and God creates a new life
But we daily sin
He pardons us on account of Christ’s imputed righteousness
He promises that one day we will be practically what we are positionally – holy.
This consistent cycle points us to the fact that God has a plan and is working it out, despite our best efforts at “fixing it”!
Seeing the unifying story of Scripture should result in:
- Worship to God for his incredible plan (Rom 11:32-36)
- Proper interpretation of the Biblical passages (We need to be able to interpret the subplots within the larger story) (Luke 24:13-35)
- Increasing desire and effort to share the story with others (Acts 7)
Don’t lose the main story in the subplots. Instead, follow those small stories to their place in the big story and marvel in God’s incredible plan.
- Helm, David R, and Gail Schoonmaker. The Big Picture Story Bible. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010.
- Carson, D. A. The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story. Baker Books, 2010.