How Do I Read and Teach the Grand Story of Scripture?
Followers of Jesus cannot read the Bible without understanding that he is the climax of the Bible’s Story and that the Old Testament points to and anticipates him as the fulfillment of all the types and promises of Scripture.
Jesus himself instructed us to read the Bible using a Christ-centered approach. Consider these passages:
John 5:39: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”
Luke 24:27: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
WHAT IS THE STORYLINE OF THE BIBLE?
If Jesus is the climax of the Bible’s storyline, what is the plot and how does it unfold? Here are a couple of suggested ways to understand the narrative arc of the Bible’s story:
A. Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration
- Creation (Gen. 1-2): “It was good”
- Fall (Gen. 3): Sin and destruction enter the world
- Redemption (Gen 3.15 – Revelation): God’s pursuit to redeem a people, which finds its climax in Jesus
- Restoration (Revelation 21-22): Final redemption and restoration of all things
B. N.T. Wright’s biblical storyline modified by Bartholomew and Goheen
- Act 1: Creation
- Act 2: Fall into sin
- Act 3: Israel’s story
- Act 4: The story of Jesus Christ
- Act 5: The story of the church (we are currently in this act of the “drama”)
- Act 6: The consummation of God’s plan of redemption (the future conclusion of the drama)
One of the things I like about this second approach is that it intentionally puts you and me into this story in Act 5. The story of the Church may have begun in the biblical book of Acts, but it continues 2,000 years later today. We are participants in this Drama of Redemption.
The Bible is ultimately a single Story of Redemption with Jesus as the Hero and Redeemer. All the prophets, priests, and kings of the Old Testament ultimately point to Jesus, the Prophet, Priest, and King. As the author of Hebrews points out throughout his book, Jesus is greater than the angels, the greater Moses, the greater Joshua, the greater high priest, and the greater sacrifice. Jesus points out that with his presence and ministry, something greater than the temple (Matt. 12:6), greater than Jonah (Matt. 12:41), and greater than Solomon (Matt. 12:42) is among them.
From creation to the new creation, God is redeeming the world through His Son and making all things new. How can you participate with God and play a role in His Unfolding Story?
Try Out This Exercise:
In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul says that “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
- Read about the original Passover in Exodus 12 (you can focus on the first 13 verses if you wish). What was the significance of the Passover Lamb?
- What were the responsibilities of the Israelites?
- What do you think it means that “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed”—that Christ fulfills the role of the Passover Lamb?
- Are the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice automatically applied to everyone, or is there something we must do?