Have you ever picked up the Bible and felt lost in the massive text in front of you? The Bible is both God’s story and his Word to his people, but when you read a verse or a chapter, do you understand what he is saying?
As we go through this study together, we want to help give you a big picture of what each part of the Bible means and give you a better understanding of how to approach it. First and foremost, you are not alone in navigating this big book of Scripture. Each word was written by humans but was inspired by God. This means that God, through the Holy Spirit, commissioned human authors to write his Word. Therefore, as you dive into Scripture, ask him to speak to you. God has given you the Holy Spirit as your helper, and he will not leave you with his story in your hands without a guide to help you understand it. As you open your Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you.
The Bible allows us to see God’s presence throughout history. From the first words of creation until today, a pattern within humanity of fellowship-rebellion-exile-restoration has repeated itself. Seeing this same pattern in our own lives, we come to terms with the reality that our struggles are universal and there is only one redeemer capable of rescue. The Bible is one big story of God rescuing his people.
The basic story line of the Bible is:
- Creation: God created everything, and he had a plan.
- The Fall: Humans screwed it up. We wanted to go our own way, and selfishness spread to all humanity, which means every single person is born into sin. There is an enemy that spoke into that selfishness and speaks into our lives today.
- Flood: There was judgment and a flood—a reset where Noah and the animals survived. Given the chance, humanity again completely screwed it up. But God redeemed the story with a chosen people.
- Covenant people through Israel: He began a new story through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. A baby is born to Abraham in his old age and that baby would be the seed that would eventually lead to Jesus.
- Jesus the Messiah: Jesus, the Messiah, is born into the people of Israel. He put the sins of the earth on his shoulders and died for our sins so we could live forever with God.
- The Church: Today, the church is the family of God. All those who have trusted in Jesus. That church is supposed to be about one thing: giving the great hope of Jesus away.
- Our Hope: There is a future hope that is coming. We’re going to be with Jesus forever in the new heavens and new earth. We are the family of God. So, our purpose here is joining the story of God and giving it away.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible tells this story, but when you open up the table of contents and see sixty-six different books, how do they all fit together? What order are they in and why? Whether you are new to the Bible—or you just need help remembering how it all fits together—we are going to give you a big overview of the books of the Bible so that you know how to understand what you’re reading when you open this big book.
We live in between Jesus revealed and Jesus returning. With the Bible, we hold in our hands God’s expression of the full arc of his grace, and our most useful tool for both getting to know God and discovering our calling. Thanks be to God.