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Everyone loves a good story.
There is something about the words, “Once upon a time … ” that capture the attention and the imagination of both young and old.
We never outgrow our love for a story. This is clearly evident by American’s seemingly insatiable appetite for books, television and movies.
The Bible is often treated as merely a collection of many different stories with a moral lesson, a Christian version of Aesop’s Fables. While it is true that the Bible does contain many different stories and that most of them have a moral lesson, the Bible is much more than what it is often treated as.
The Bible is one story, with one overarching message. That story is the most compelling one ever written. It is quite literally, “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” I like to summarize the message of the Bible this way: “The Bible is the story of a God who makes a spectacular promise about a supernatural person who creates a special people to live in a supernal place with him forever.”
In my next five columns, I will take one of the main nouns from this sentence and show how that theme is played out through the entire Bible.
Before we begin I must confess my indebtedness in my formulation of the above sentence to the works of the Australian Biblical theologian Graeme Goldsworthy who has very helpfully defined the kingdom of God as: “God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule.”
I am also deeply indebted to Paul Helm’s children’s book titled The Big Picture Story Bible (one of my favorite books to help me understand and explain the Bible to my children) which describes the Bible as: “A big book, about a big God, who keeps a big promise.”
All good stories, we are told, must have characters, a plot, a setting, a conflict and a unifying theme. Well, the story of the Bible has it all.
For characters, this story has God, the Devil, and a cast of thousands.
For a plot, this story has the ebb and flow of the history of the nation Israel, and even the whole history of the world serves as a stage for the action in this cosmic drama of redemption.
For a setting, this story has the entirety of planet earth with heaven and hell in the balance.
For a conflict, this story has Satan in rebellion against God and God’s active work to destroy him forever. Relatedly, this story also has humanity in rebellion against God and God’s active work to redeem a people out of fallen humanity for himself.
For a unifying theme, this story is the story about a God who makes a spectacular promise about a supernatural person who creates a special people to live in a supernal place with him forever.
Steve Weaver is an Anderson County resident and pastor of Farmdale Baptist Church (www.farmdalebaptist.com) on 127 just across the Franklin County line.