The Big Picture - OverviewThe Bible can be thought of as a giant jigsaw puzzle. There are many pieces that go together to form a single picture. The Bible is incredible because it tells its story through dozens of authors and editors, across centuries and many, many miles. Through these times, places and people God revealed Himself to humanity and showed how He loves us and set a plan in motion to save us from the sin problem that plagues us.
The Bible is the Word of God, it is the measure to which we must hold up our beliefs and our actions. We must however recognize that the Bible was also revealed to a people and a place that is very distant from where were are today. Though the core truths of scripture are plainly accessible for all through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, engaging in resources to bridge the gap of time, space and culture can give us a much clearer picture of the Story.
Scripture was also meant to be read, understood and practiced in community. We are certainly called to wrestle with scripture in our personal life and and to work out our salvation with fear and trembling but we are also called to live out our faith in community. Part of living in community is to study and grow in God's word together. This, I believe is one of the greatest gaps between the context into which God's Word was given and that of 21st century North America. God's word came to God's people and as much as He wants to have a personal relationship with us, He also wants us to live in community with each other as His people.
Sandra Richter in her book "The Epic of Eden" calls the ailment affecting many Christians the dysfunctional closet syndrome. She talks about how she is not the most organized person and in college had a closet in which nothing could be found. The problem was her college had a strict chapel attendance policy and dress code. This combined with her not being a morning person often meant that she would hastily grab something off the top of her hamper rather than take the time to dig through her closet and put the pieces of an outfit together. She says we often approach the Old Testament the same way, we know many of the pieces in there but they are buried in a closet and we don't have the time or the know-how to put the pieces together in a usable way. The result is we grab something off the top of the hamper pile because it works, though it may not be very fresh.
Over the next number of posts I'm going to be giving the outline of the Old Testament I've been working through. This outline is not going to be exhaustive but I hope will give you a framework to start putting the pieces together. I've also put together a Resources page which includes some of the resources that have been particularly helpful to me in this journey and I hope would be to you as well.
So I invite you to begin the journey at the beginning with Creation & Catastrophe