Bible Overview

It’s a very useful exercise to try and summarise the Bible in as few words as possible, before fleshing them each out. Here are various headings:

As few as possible:  Creation, Fall, Promise of Rescue, Fulfilment

A few more:  Creation, Fall, Promise, Rescue, Law, Land (Kings, Division, Prophets, Exile, Return), Jesus, Church, New Creation.

A short story:  God created the good world by his Word. He made mankind in his image to rule the world and to be in relationship with him and one another. As the creator, God expected mankind to submit to his rule, by obeying his Word.  However, Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s Word, choosing independence instead of obedience. The consequences of their actions were broken relationships: with God, with each other and with the world. Thereafter, mankind spiralled into greater and greater rebellion. In mercy, God did not give mankind the judgment they deserved; instead he showed mankind grace. In speaking to Abram, God promised him a land to live in, where his descendants (and indeed all nations) would be blessed. It was a promise to restore what mankind had enjoyed in the Garden of Eden: a place where the people of God could enjoy the blessing of God. In fulfilment of that promise, God began to grow Abraham’s family. In fact, they grew so large, that Egypt’s Pharaoh became afraid of them, and so made them his slaves. The people of God cried out for help and God raised up a rescuer called Moses. By God’s power, Moses lead the people out of Egypt, to Mount Sinai, where God taught his rescued people how they should live as his people in the promised land of Canaan. They committed themselves to doing so, but immediately failed by building a golden calf which they worshipped as God. Once again, God showed them mercy, by providing them with a sacrificial system as a means of finding forgiveness for sin. Despite this kindness from God, the people constantly grumbled and disobeyed the Lord, resulting in God making them wander in the desert for 40 years. Eventually, a new generation was dramatically lead into the promised land by Joshua, where they conquered their enemies and divided the land between the 12 tribes. All seemed good, except for the fact that the Israelites had not driven out their enemies completely. As a result, the Israelites began to worship their gods, and as a result of that, God sent judgment on his people, in the form of foreign armies. That judgment was quickly followed by mercy once again, as God raised up judges to save his people. These judges however, could not solve the problem of the people’s ongoing rebellion, which eventually resulted in them rejecting God as King, and seeking a king as all the other nations had. God gave them Saul, who was not obedient to God or a blessing to God’s people. He was replaced by David to whom God made another great promise. The promises made to Abraham, would be fulfilled through an eternal King who would come from David’s family. And so the search began! Who would be king? Solomon showed promise in that he built the Temple of the Lord, but he was too wicked to be the promised King. In fact, because of David and Solomon, the nation split into two kingdoms: Israel and Judah. Both kingdoms rebelled against the Lord, but God in his mercy sent them prophets to call them back to himself. But neither nation paid any attention to his call to repentance or to his warnings of judgment. As a result, God exiled Israel to Assyria and Judah to Babylon. Yet still God had not forsaken them. He promised to establish a new covenant, which would result in their sins being forgiven, his law being written on their hearts, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to all his people. After 70 years in exile in Babylon, some of the Jews returned to Jerusalem by the hand of God, and rebuilt the Temple and the city walls. But despite being exiled because of their sin, the people remained sinful and refused to heed the Word of God. Prophets were once again sent to call the people back to being faithful to the Lord and to offer words of hope for the future, but all to avail. The OT ends with God’s people rebelling against him, and with God’s promises still unfilled. After 400 years of silence, God sent his son Jesus to rescue his people by fulfilling all his promises.

A small book:  to follow

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