It’s a great blessing to have the Bible at our fingertips. Those who live in the United States (allow me to focus on my own geographical context) have a level of access to the Bible that is unprecedented in the history of the world. If we find ourselves in a hotel, having forgotten our Bible at home, our phone dead, and our computer giving us fits, we can simply check the desk drawer of the hotel room and most likely find a Bible (thanks, faithful Gideon’s). It truly is stunning to think about how readily available the Bible is today.
Yet, I’m not sure (and I’m attempting to speak more softly than I possibly should) that access to the Bible has translated into a greater knowledge of the story of Scripture. That is, though we have the chance to read and study the Bible at unprecedented levels, I don’t think we have capitalized on the opportunities presented. Instead, though we may have a level of familiarity with the general contents of Scripture, many are largely ignorant of how the various stories in the Bible fit into one meta-story. And, just so you know, I’ve included myself in this analysis (notice the usage of “we”).
But the day is new. God has mercifully given us more time (if you are reading this). And this day can be one where you set out on a journey to unearth the treasures that are found in the Good Book. And there are treasures to be found. One only has to take up and read.
One treasure that we should not miss is the golden line of the biblical meta-narrative. That is, like a line of gold running through a mountain, a line that miners give their energy and lives trying to find, there is a central story that runs through the mountain of Scripture. Discovering this line … this overarching story … is key to understanding how the mountains and the valleys, the heights and the depths, the rivers and the lakes, all fit together to form one big picture. And the picture is telling one grand story.
You see the Bible is not simply a collection of stories. All the stories we read in the Bible are part of a larger story. The smaller stories contribute to the larger story in some way. These smaller stories may reflect on something that came before; they may help progress the narrative forward; or they may simply point towards something (or someone) that is to come. In short, each verse is part of a larger unit. This larger unit is part of a still larger unit. And when all is said and done, with all the various units coming together, you get one amazing story.
This story, it’s the story of a kingdom. A kingdom that is called into existence by the King himself. It’s a kingdom that has a people, in a paradisical place, enjoying the rule of their King. Yet, this story takes a dark turn as the people rebel against the word of their sovereign, are exiled from the land, and must live in a world gone wrong. But the King is a merciful King. He immediately begins to put his kingdom back together again. And he ultimately sends his own Son to win his people and usher them back into a recreated, renewed, and reimagined kingdom. In short, the King saves his people through the life and work of his Son and then brings them back to his place where they once again enjoy his rule. Every story in the Bible connects to this kingdom story.
Now, the above is a short, and overly simplified, attempt to put the story of the Bible together as succinctly as I can. But you need to see these things for yourself. So I’m going to point the reader to some resources that will require you to do your own listening, reading, and thinking. And after you’ve taken time (i.e. months and years) to think, maybe you will see the story of God’s kingdom flying off the pages of Scripture.
- Jason DeRouchie—KINGDOM Overview
- Graeme Goldsworthy—According to Plan
- Graeme Goldsworthy—The Goldsworthy Trilogy
- Vaughn Roberts—God’s Big Picture
- Jim Hamilton—God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment
- Tom Schreiner—The King and His Beauty
- Wellum and Gentry—Kingdom Through Covenant
We recommend any of these resources and have benefited personally from them in the past. However, to see the story for yourself nothing will help you more than picking up your Bible and reading it from cover to cover … over and over and over again.