What does the Bible say as a whole? What is the Bible all about? Here is an overview of the Big Picture.
The big picture of the Bible is God speaking to all people. Its message is told in story form and as a witness by those who have heard this message from God.
A. God speaks – Isaiah 1:2 “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken...”
B. God acts – Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Thus, the Bible records the Word and Deed of God.
C. People respond – Acts 17:30 “(God) commands all people everywhere to repent...” Say YES or NO to God.
No middle ground. The Bible speaks to all people in the whole world and calls for their response.
Acts 1:8 “You will be my witnesses … to the end of the earth.” God’s Word is for all people.
If we take the Bible from Genesis through the book of Revelation (the first and last books of the 66 books of the Bible) we see God’s message in six main parts of the Bible’s story: Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus, Christ’s Followers and End Time. The Bible although written by many people, in many places over many years has one basic message. Let us look at this message of God in the Bible: first it is in the Old Testament and second in the New Testament. This is a short outline, we will have to leave out many things – Psalms, Proverbs, etc. The main story of the Bible we cover below.
1) Creation: Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:31 “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good.” Acts 17:14 “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man.” God made all things, and all people, God made all things good. God is sovereign over all as creator and now as ruler. Psalm 103:19 “...his kingdom rules over all.”
2) Fall: Genesis 3:6-7 “...she (Eve) took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband (Adam) who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew they were naked.” They sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. Genesis 3:17 “Cursed is the ground because of you, in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life.” They were judged, and punished, being expelled from the Garden of Eden. Genesis 6:5 “The Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth...” Gen. 7:12, God sends a great flood for judgment for the evil deeds of men. Then in Gen. 6-9 God saves Noah and his family from the flood waters, but after that evil grows again. God scatters all people over all the earth and confuses their languages – Tower of Babel, Gen 11. Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Men, created good, rebelled against God and now are a fallen race. What will God do?
3) Israel: God begins again by calling a new people out of Ur (now southern Iraq) beginning with Abraham (2000 BC). God will offer blessing to all people through Abraham & his family. Genesis 12:1-3 shows this is through a covenant with Abraham and his family, especially his grandson, Jacob, who is renamed Israel in Gen 32:28. Israel means “He strives with God.” Their striving with God is seen in their history, as they escape a famine and go to Egypt, then the people of Israel are led out by Moses (1450 BC) in the Exodus, are given the Law (Ex 20) and sacrificial system for sins. Israel enters the land, sees the rise of kings David (1075 BC), Solomon, first temple, then corruption. God judges Israel for their idolatry and sends them into Exile by Assyria (721 BC) and Babylon (587 BC). Then Israel returns to the land, builds the second temple (520 BC). [Romans take over Israel in 63 BC.] By NT times Israel is ruled by Rome. Who will redeem God’s people? God’s prophets spoke of the hope of a savior, a Messiah, to come and redeem Israel, and offer salvation to all people.
4) Jesus: (4 BC – 33 AD) God’s promise in Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of God is upon me.” It is a promise of one to save Israel. Matthew 1:21 “... you shall call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.” Luke 2:1-7, Jesus is born to Mary and Joseph. Matt. 4:23, Jesus has a ministry, “teaching, preaching & healing.” Acts 2:23-24 Jesus is crucified, “...this Jesus...you crucified and killed, … God raised him up loosing the pangs of death, for it was not possible for him to be held by it.” Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are central to the Bible’s message. What Adam and Israel could not do, God did through his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus brings the offer of salvation with a renewed covenant, Matt. 26:28, Lord’s Supper. John 3:16, All people are offered forgiveness of sins and eternal life. All are to respond in repentance, faith and new obedience to Jesus. This is declared in a profession of faith in Jesus, Rom. 10:9-10 and in Baptism, Matt. 28:19.
5) Christ’s Followers: Matt. 10:1 “And he called to him his twelve disciples...” Matt. 28:19 “Go,...make disciples of all nations.” Christ’s followers go into the world with the message of Jesus Christ – repentance, forgiveness and obedience to Jesus. The message is summarized in Acts 26:18 where Jesus tells Paul he is sending him to all the nations “...to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light...” From Satan to God. The church has followed Paul and the early disciples taking the message of Jesus to all people. This is now, a missionary age, from the first century till Jesus returns. Paul’s letters and much of the New Testament tells us what to do now. Rom 8:9 We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit; and we are to live in a certain way. Romans 12:9-21 gives a list of how we are to live in this age – love each other and even love our enemies. Acts 2:42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship...” The church from that time (1st cent. AD) is to study the words of Jesus, in the Bible, and gather for worship. Heb. 10:25 shows we are to meet together until Jesus returns; therefore we worship Jesus & the God of the Bible in our meetings. God’s kingdom is coming into the world. Matt. 6:9-13, We pray always for the Lord’s kingdom to come, as we are told to do in the Lord’s Prayer.
6) End Time: What are we to hope for? We hope for Jesus, Acts 1:11, “This Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” He will come suddenly, I Thess. 5:1 “For...the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” also see Matt. 24:14,27,30,ff, that shows judgment at the end of time is by Jesus. Matt. 25:32 “...before him will be gathered all the nations...” Matt. 25:46, everyone who has ever lived will stand before Jesus for eternal punishment or eternal life. Rev. 21:1 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth...” vs. 3, “and God will be with them as their God, he will wipe away every tear... and death shall be no more.” The Bible begins with God; it ends with God and his people in heaven who are with Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God, the Father, now and forever. Rev. 22:21 “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”
Note: This is not my work and I claim to (c) in it. Title 17 fair use for scholastic purpose