This summer, I began reading through the entire Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. I had decided that I would read them in chronological order. Several people asked me if I would be reading them in the order of publication. And suddenly I found myself immersed in the world of debate on the proper reading of the Narnia series!
Knowing the chronological order of a story is helpful. However, even more important is knowing the progress of the narrative of the story. Stories have beginnings, endings, crises, and resolutions. If you pick up a story and begin in the middle or close to the end, you will find yourself confused by the events taking place, the references to earlier moments, and the developments of characters.
The same can be said of the story of the Bible. We are accustomed to a sermon series being preached from John or Psalms. But can we place that information in the context of God’s grand redemptive purpose?
When we read the Bible and know that it began with a good creation, everything fell apart with Adam’s fall, and realize God is progressively revealing his redemption until all things are made new in the consummation of the new creation, we can begin to make sense of the pieces. We can see God’s greater purposes in the Old Testament laws when we understand that they were a tutor and a guardian preparing the way for the coming Rescuer, Jesus the Messiah (Gal. 3:24). We can make sense of the kingship emphasis throughout the Psalms when we understand that God’s promise to keep a king on the throne of David forever is realized in King Jesus (Ps. 110:1; Mt. 22:43-45; Acts 2:33-36; Heb. 1:13).
Too often we have approached the Bible looking for a little nugget of wisdom to apply so that we can improve our lives. Or we have looked for a hero we can emulate. Or we have approached the Scriptures as a set of rules for us to obey. But when we come to the Bible on its own terms, we find that the story of the Bible is far bigger, more glorious, and more encompassing than a few moral improvements, heroes, or rules. Instead, the Bible is the story of God’s rescue by God’s Son of God’s people by bringing them to God’s place. And as we discover how God is working out this glorious plan, our lives, our witness, our confidence in the gospel message can only grow more effective.
This Sunday we begin at the very beginning of the story of everything. I hope you’re looking forward to this journey as much as I am!
Looking forward to Sunday,