- Adam Butler
What the Bible is All About
The Bible can be intimidating. At first glance, it may appear to be an exhaustingly lengthy, theologically complex tome of confusing stories and sayings. For this reason, it is sometimes helpful to “zoom out,” so to speak, and take a look at the bigger picture of the Biblical metanarrative. That is, what is the Bible really all about?
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is one story, composed of multiple stories, all pointing to one ultimate subject: Jesus. The entire Old Testament points toward Jesus, while the entire New Testament looks back on him. Jesus is the center of the Bible.
We begin in the Old Testament, in which the creation account is laid out. God created the world and everything in it, and thereby Adam and Eve, the first humans, were created as well. However, Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God by eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, thus plunging the world into sin. God cursed the ground, and as a result, humanity had to, from then on, live in a world plagued by the consequences of sin. These include sickness, pain, evil of all sorts, and namely, death.
The rest of the Old Testament is essentially following the bloodline of the promised Messiah, who is revealed in the New Testament as Jesus. The people of Israel are elected by God to carry out this bloodline, and the story unfolds as they continuously rebel and turn back to God repeatedly. God sends his messengers, prophets, priests, and kings, to lead the people in the direction of His will; but, because of our sin nature, all people are fallen, and even these leaders are imperfect, but are used by a perfect God.
Throughout the Old Testament, we encounter several “types” of Christ, ultimately foreshadowing the one, perfect Messiah, Jesus. Adam, Abraham, Moses; all are types of Christs, while Jesus is the greater Adam, Abraham, Moses, etc. The picture painted as we follow the story of God’s faithfulness to Israel is one of redemption. In fact, if we were to sum up the whole Bible with one word, that would be the one: redemption.
The New Testament begins with the accounts of the life, ministry, and death of Jesus of Nazareth, who was the promised Messiah and God in the flesh. He was 100 percent man and 100 percent God. Jesus himself confirms that the Old Testament is solely about him (John 5:39). He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies concerning a Messiah, as well as the fulfillment of the Old Testament law.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, which offers redemption for all who believe in him, Jesus ascends to heaven to be with God the Father. The rest of the New Testament is instruction for the Church (all those who are saved and in Christ) for how to live and make disciples of Jesus. It is also here that much of the Biblical theology and doctrine we understand and hold to as Christians is fleshed out.
The Bible is not about us; it is about God and His glory. God’s glory is the motivation behind everything which occurs in Scripture. Knowing this, and having a grasp on Jesus Christ as the center of the Biblical story, will help us avoid improper interpretations of God’s Word. Knowing this also reveals the threads of “Christology” which are woven throughout the entire Bible. These also help us to understand the mystery of God’s plan of redemption. Looking at one story, isolated from the rest of Scripture can be daunting. How could God ever redeem this situation, we may be inclined to think. However, we as the readers have the benefit of knowing how the story ends.
The Bible ends with John’s revelation, a promise of things to come. In the end, all things will be restored to the way they once were–the way God originally intended creation. Those who have chosen to follow Christ and repent of sin, thus accepting the free gift of salvation through Jesus, will enjoy eternity in God’s presence. There will be no more suffering, loss, disease, pain, trials, or death. We will be able to enjoy Him and His glory for ever and ever. Amen.