Christianity and the Bible are inseparable! Christianity is centered in the good news of Jesus Christ and the Bible is God’s revelation of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, it is essential that we read the Bible and read it correctly. If I were God – and that is a dangerous way to start a sentence – but if I were God I would write the Bible differently than God had it written. I would write it like this:
- Chapter 1 – all about God – character & attributes
- Chapter 2 – all about people – assets & liabilities
- Chapter 3 – all about relationships – finding a great spouse & raising great kids
- Chapter 4 – all about work – making money & finding meaning
- Chapter 5 – all about spiritual growth – prayer & other spiritual disciplines
- Chapter 6 – how to get to heaven and have fun along the way
- Chapter 7 – all you ever wanted to know about the end times
Lots of people wish the Bible was written that way – lists of stuff to know and rules to practice. Well God didn’t write the Bible that way. The Bible is not a list of correct beliefs and tips for living.
The Bible is the narrative of God’s multifaceted mission – it has a beginning, a middle and an end. The Bible is God’s story but it is also our story – we are living in the middle of that story, but we can’t understand the middle unless we know something about the beginning and the end. You have to keep in mind where the author is in the story and you have to remember where you are in the story or you may draw some very wrong conclusions.
The good news is that the Bible has a point and a purpose – the point is Jesus and the purpose is to lead us to him. That means that everything flows to Jesus and flows from Jesus. Therefore, knowing the ultimate telos of the storyline is essential to reading and understanding the Bible.
We should not read the Bible as if it was a collection of disconnected bits from which we are to deduce morals like Aesop’s fables; the Bible is the narrative of God’s multifaceted mission finding its climax in Jesus Christ and must be read and understood accordingly.
A few years ago, we set out to help the people at Calvary Church read the Bible as the multifaceted narrative of God’s mission so we developed a message and then a series of messages and then an app for cell phones and tablets that walk through the main acts of God’s story. You may title the acts differently or add different scenes to the gigantic act 3 (covenant, conquest, kingdom, exile, return), but the thrust is still the same – let’s give up reading the Bible as a collection of bits and read it as the multifaceted narrative of God’s mission finding its telos in Jesus Christ.