Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Study the Bible #2 - The Big Picture

How to Study the Bible
Lesson 2: The Story of the Bible

The Proper Use of Scripture

A.  The Bible is a collection of books that tell a single, unifying story.
-The Bible contains 66 books, each with a unique purpose and context, but all of which weave together a single story.
-Every story has a main character, and the central character in Bible story is God. -Ultimately, the Bible is the revelation of God (Genesis 1:1).

B.  It is easy to overlook this fundamental point and misuse the Bible.
1.  Some use it like a dictionary, looking up random verses with no regard for the context of the passage in order to make a point. This is sometimes called “proof-texting.”
Matthew 27:5; Luke 10:37; John 2:5.
There is a place for pulling pieces of data together, but we must be on guard against conforming the Bible to our pattern rather than conforming our pattern to the Bible.

2.  Some use it like an “owner’s manual,” treating the Bible as it is was nothing more than a self-help book. 
While the Bible is profitable and is designed for application (2 Timothy 3:16-17), it is much more than that.
“With all the technology and information available in our world today, people think, If I have access to the right information, that's enough. So even when they think about the Bible, they think of it as a resource for finding information, for helping them live life more effectively. When they see the Bible as a self-help book, they 'google' it, randomly looking for answers to their particular issues. So they go to a passage, find the information they feel they need, and then move on. That approach can foster an 'it's all about me' attitude. The Bible becomes a tool that serves me.” (Buddy Gray in Read the Bible for Life: Your Guide to Understanding and Living God's Word by George Guthrie). 

Instead, we need to see the overarching storyline of Scripture.

The Story of the Bible in Five Movements

A.  Movement 1: Creation (Genesis 1-2).
God’s intention for humanity was to rule as image-bearers (Genesis 1:26-28).
God also intended for humanity to serve (priestly language) in His presence (Genesis 2:15).

B.  Movement 2: The Fall (Genesis 3-11)
Instead of reigning and serving under God’s authority, humanity rebelled and sinned. This resulted in exile from God’s presence (Genesis 3:23-24) and death (Genesis 3:19).
Sin also created enmity between humanity and creation (Genesis 3:17), reaching its climax in the flood.
Sin also created enmity between human beings (Genesis 4:8; 6:11; 11:9).

C.  Movement 3: Reconciliation. God intends to create peace in all these dimensions. 
-A Family – through Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3).
-A Nation – through Moses (Exodus 19:3-6; 24:3-8).
-A Kingdom – through David (2 Samuel 7:8-14).
-A Crisis – Exile.
This crisis seems to threaten the promise (2 Kings 25).

But the Lord promised He would make a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34), and a new king, David (Jeremiah 23:5).
he OT ends with the problem unsolved - how will Israel be rescued so that it can in turn bring the nations to God.

Fulfillment in Christ.
Notice Matthew 1:1, 11, 17, 21.  Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham and David and will free Israel from exile.
Notice Luke 4:16-30.  Jesus is coming to be the means of Israel’s redemption, but not everyone is thrilled with the implications for the nations.
This required defeating the real source behind sin, exile and death - the devil - Luke 11:21-22. 
Jesus created a new covenant relationship, a new exodus, through His death and resurrection - Matthew 26:26-28.

D.  Movement 4: The Church.
Jesus’ atoning work saved Israel and allowed it to be a blessing to the nations, “to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Galatians 3:13-14).
In His atoning work Jesus created peace between God and humanity and between human beings (Ephesians 2:1-21).
We can now be a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

E.  Movement 5: New Creation.
There is one peacemaking work left - to create peace between humans and the creation.
This will happen in the new creation, the new heavens and earth (Revelation 21-22).

We will worship and serve him and reign with Him, an eternal kingdom of priests (Revelation 22:1-5).

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