The Drama of Scripture
Pastor Ken Bickel
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The Drama of Scripture
Craig G. Bartholomew
Michael W. Goheen
Baker Academic
A Geographic Overview
An Overview of the Bible
The Bible contains 66 books:
Old Testament
New Testament
The O.T. is divided into four main sections:
1. Pentateuch
2. History
3. Poetry (or Wisdom Literature)
4. Prophecy
“Pentateuch” is Latin meaning “5 books.”
Torah is what the Jews called the first five books of
the Old Testament.
Who is the author of the Pentateuch?
Overall Content of the Pentateuch:
1. Beginning history of mankind
2. Beginning of God’s judgment of sin
3. Beginning of languages and peoples
4. Beginning history of the Jews
5. Giving of the Law
Names of the Historical Books?
Who is the author of the historical books?
Content of the Historical books?
The main sections:
1. Conquest
2. Judgeship
3. Kingship
4. Exile (Captivity & Return)
Names of the Poetical Books?
Major Prophets: 5 books
Minor Prophets: 12 books
The overall content of the Prophets:
1. The people are in serious violation
of their covenant with God.
2. Repent! Judgment is coming!
3. Have Hope! Restoration will follow!
The N.T. is divided into four main
1. Gospels
2. Acts
3. Letters (Epistles)
4. Revelation
1. Matthew
2. Mark
3. Luke
4. John
The overall content of the Gospels:
Earthly life and ministry of Jesus.
And especially…
The death and resurrection of Jesus
Author: Luke
Main Purpose: To present a history of how
a small Jewish sect spread
from Jerusalem to the
Center of the Civilized World
There are 21 New Testament letters.
1. Romans
8. 1 Thessalonians
2. 1 Corinthians
9. 2 Thessalonians
3. 2 Corinthians
10. 1 Timothy
4. Galatians
11. 2 Timothy
5. Ephesians
12. Titus
6. Philippians
13. Philemon
7. Colossians
14. Hebrews
15. James
16. 1 Peter
17. 2 Peter
18. 1 John
19. 2 John
20. 3 John
21. Jude
Author: John
95 A.D.
“I am coming quickly.”
Revelation 22:7
Why Story?
Eugene Peterson…
“The Bible is basically and overall a
narrative, an immense, sprawling,
capacious narrative. Stories hold
pride of place in revealing God and
God's way to us.”
Eugene Peterson…
“In both the Old and New Testaments…,
story is the primary means of bringing
God's Word to us. For that we can be
most grateful, for story is our most
accessible form of speech.”
Eugene Peterson…
“But there is another reason for the
appropriateness of story as a major means
of bringing us God's Word. Story invites our
“We feel the emotions, get caught up in the
drama, identify with the characters, see into
nooks and crannies of life that we had
overlooked, realize there is more to this
business of being human than we had yet
Eugene Peterson…
“We don't live our lives by information. We live
them in relationships in the context of a
community of men and women - each
person an intricate bundle of experience and
motive and desire,…
and of a personal God, who cannot be
reduced to formula or definition, who has
designs on us for justice and salvation.”
And that is communicated in the Grand
Michael Goheen…
“The way we understand human life depends
on what conception we have of the human
“The Bible tells one unfolding story of
redemption against the backdrop of creation
and humanity’s fall into sin.”
“But I want to say more: the story it tells
claims universal validity.”
Michael Goheen…
“When we speak of the biblical story as a
narrative we are making a normative claim:
it is public truth.”
“The biblical story is not to be understood
simply as a local tale about a certain ethnic
group or religion. It begins with the creation
of all things and ends with the renewal of all
things. In between it offers an interpretation
of the meaning of cosmic history.”
A Hindu scholar…
“I find in your Bible a unique interpretation of
universal history, the history of the whole of
creation and the history of the human race. And
therefore a unique interpretation of the human
person as a responsible actor in history…
That is unique. There is nothing else in the whole
religious literature of the world to put alongside
Now… let’s be clear:
“Speaking of the Bible as one story is not to say
that it is like a single volume with a tightly
woven story-line with no loose ends….”
“It is rather a complex mixture of all kinds of
smaller narratives, many of them rather selfcontained, with all kinds of other material
embedded within them. But there is clearly a
direction, a flow….”
“An important part of our task today, then, is…to
get hold of this story, so we can find our place
and live faithfully in it.”
To get hold of this story…
Is to pursue understanding of the missional
nature of the story…
“The Bible tells the story of God’s mission to
restore the entire fallen creation and the whole
rebellious life of humankind to again live under
His gracious rule..” (Goheen)
To get hold of this story…
Is to pursue understanding of the missional
nature of the story…
“Mission is much more than evangelism or taking
the gospel to other places… it is our very
identity: we are sent with the good news to
embody in our lives, demonstrate with our
deeds, and announce with our words God’s
end-time salvation. This defines the meaning of
our entire lives.”
The missional nature of the story…
The Spirit thrusts God’s people into worldwide
He impels young and old, men and women, to go
next door and far away into science and art,
media and marketplace with the good news of
God’s grace.
A contemporary confession of the Christian Reformed Church
Look at the Bookends
Genesis 1 – 3
Revelation 21 – 22
First heavens and earth created
Lights to govern day & night
New heavens and earth created
Glory of God to provide light
Man created to reflect God’s
image/glory (1:26-30)
Tree of life (2:9; 3:22)
Redeemed man will be the perfect
reflection of God’s image/glory
Tree of life (22:2)
River flowing from the garden
River flowing from the throne of
God (22:1)
Man given to serve the Lord (2:15)
Man serving the Lord (22:3)
Look at the Bookends
Genesis 1 – 3
Revelation 21 – 22
Death promised for disobedience
No longer any death (21:4)
Presence and possibility of evil
No unclean thing in it (21:21)
The Lord walks among his people
The Lord dwells among his people
(21:3, 22; 22:3)
Curse for disobedience (3:14-19)
No longer any curse (22:3)
Eating from the cursed ground
Eating from the tree of life (22:2)
Scriptural Drama – an overview
Act One: Establishes His Kingdom: Creation
Act Two: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall
Act Three: The King chooses Israel: Redemption Initiated
 Scene 1: A People for the King
 Scene 2: A Land for His People
Act Four: The Coming of the King: Redemption
Act Five: Spreading the News of the King: The Church’s
 Scene 1: The Church Begins Its Mission to the Nations
 Scene 2: Our Place in the Story: The Church Continues Its
Mission to the Nations
Act Six: The Return of the King: Redemption Completed
Introductory Remarks…
Genesis 1-2 introduces us to foundational
elements of the biblical story
Genesis 1-2 is about: (1) God; (2) Humanity;
(3) Creation
A straightforward reading of Genesis 1-2
presents creation in six 24 hour days
A straightforward reading of Genesis 1-2
presents creation in six 24 hour days
Not every seriously dedicated Christian
agrees with that…
But, I venture to say that all who believe in
the Bible as truth would agree with
“intelligent design”
Still, it’s the most uncomplicated way to
understand the repeated “evening and
morning” theme
It’s also the most straightforward way to
explain Exodus 20:8-11 and Romans 5:12

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