The Story of Scripture
Topic: Topical Passage: Revelation 22:20–22:21
God has chosen to reveal Himself throughout history to His people and record that revelation in written form -- what we know as the Bible. The Bible is a compilation of 66 individual books or letters written by numerous authors throughout history. These authors were supernaturally guided by God as they wrote, and the result is a completely reliable, trustworthy, authoritative word from God.
- 66 books written by 40 authors in three languages over 1500 years.
- Over 1100 chapters.
- Over 31,000 verses.
- Over 800,000 words.
The books of the Bible have been divided into two testaments. The Old Testament contains the books written before the birth of Christ and the New Testament contains the books written after His birth. Each book has been divided into chapters and verses for easy reference. When you see the reference Matthew 5:26 it refers to the book of Matthew, chapter five, verse twenty-six.
The books of the Bible are of many different genres or styles. Some of the books are historical accounts like the book of Genesis; some are poetry like the book of Psalms, while others are prophetic like the book of Revelation.
Let’s face it; the Bible can be a difficult and intimidating book to read! It deals with peoples and cultures that are very unfamiliar to most people today. While the task appears daunting, in reality the storyline of the Bible is fairly simple and a basic framework of the biblical storyline can de-mystify the scriptures.
What follows is a very simple, big-picture overview of the story of the Bible. It is His story – the story of God’s interaction with humanity. It will describe the historical time period of every book of the bible.
CREATION AND FALL
The Bible begins in the book of Genesis with an affirmation that world is the result of a creating God. God creates the universe and everything within it and the height of His Creation is mankind. Adam and Eve, however, willfully choose to disobey God and as a result are cast out of fellowship with God and cursed for their disobedience with a sinful nature.
God however, makes a promise that he will make right what they made wrong. God promises to send a redeemer who will put an end to sin and alienation. He will destroy the work that Satan started within man. (Genesis 3:16)
However, the descendents of Adam and Eve quickly descend into evil and immorality on a global scale. The evil is so bad that God wipes out the planet, saving only Noah and his family because Noah feared the Lord. Noah, however, was also a sinful man, cursed as a descendent of Adam and Eve and his descendents eventually fell into sinful ways as well. They grew so bold as to attempt to build a tower that would reach the heavens, the Tower of Babel. God stopped their attempt and cause the peoples to speak different languages so that they would not make such an attempt.
THE COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM - ISRAEL CALLED
(GENESIS 12-50, JOB)
In around 2000BC, Genesis 12 records that God spoke to a man named Abram and called him to be a God-follower. He made a promise to Abram that he would become the Father of many nations and that through his offspring, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Finally, God began to develop his promise to bring about redemption. Abram was called from his homeland of Ur and told to follow God to a land of promise. God led him to the land of Canaan.
Genesis continues with the story of his son Isaac, who had a son Jacob, who had 12 sons. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel by the Lord and his 12 sons became the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel. Israel’s youngest son Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and ended up in Egypt. He eventually arose to a great position of power and prominence in Egypt. When his family experienced a drought in Canaan, he was able to save his family and established them in Egypt as a budding nation.
The book of Job was also written during this time period. Job was a man who feared God but was not related to Abraham.
THE COVENANT AT SANAI – ISRAEL CONSTITUTED
(EXODUS, LEVITICUS, NUMBERS, DEUTERONOMY)
Around 1500 BC the descendants of Abraham had grown to become a great nation, but had fallen out of favor with the Egyptians. The lived as slaves to the Egyptians when God raised up Moses as a deliverer. Moses was called by God to lead the people out of Egypt and into the land that He had promised Abraham. Through Moses, God led the people of Egypt but because of their rebellion they spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness.
It was during this time that God gave His people Israel their Law. The books Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy record the story of Moses and the Israelites in their wilderness experience and the Law that God gave them during that time.
THE CONQUEST – ISRAEL INITIATED
(JOSHUA, JUDGES, RUTH)
After 40 years in the wilderness, Moses was succeeded by Joshua. Joshua led the Israelites out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land. There they drove out the godless nations and inherited the land God had promised to Abraham. The book of Joshua tells the story of that conquest.
The book of Judges and Ruth describes the lives of the Israelites as they lived in the Promised Land in both faithfulness to God and disobedience to Him.
THE COVENANT WITH DAVID – ISRAEL’S PROMISE
(1&2 SAMUEL – 1 KINGS 11, PSALMS, PROVERBS, ECCLESIASTES, SONG OF SOLOMON)
Eventually the Israelites cried out to God to have a human king. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Kings tell of the Israelite experience with their first kings. Their first king, Saul, was replaced by David for disobedience to the Lord. God made a covenant with David that it would be through his offspring that the promise to Abraham would be fulfilled. The redeemer would be a descendent of Abraham and a descendent of David. David established the nation of Israel as a powerful nation. His son Solomon also extended the power of influence of the nation.
It was during this time period that the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon were written.
THE KINGDOM DIVIDED – ISRAEL’S FAILURE
(1 KINGS 12-22, 2 KINGS, 1&2 CHRONICLES, OBADIAH, JOEL, ISAIAH, MICAH, NAHUM, JONAH, AMOS, HOSEA, HABAKKUK, ZEPHANIAH, JEREMIAH)
After Solomon’s reign, the monarchy quit following the Lord and began to pursue pagan God’s and practices. Eventually, the nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms. The Northern Kingdom was made up of the first 10 tribes. The Southern Kingdom was made of the remaining two tribes and was called Judah. Both Kingdoms had their ups and downs spiritually, and eventually both fell under the judgment of God. 1 Kings 12-22, 2 Kings, and 1-2 Chronicles record this time period.
During this time, God sent many prophets to warn the kingdoms that God was going to judge them. These are known as the pre-exilic prophets. God sent Jonah, Amos, and Hosea to the Northern Kingdom to warn of exile. They refused to listen and in 722 BC the Northern Kingdom was invaded by the Assyrians and they were led into captivity.
The books of Obadiah, Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah were written by prophets sent to the southern kingdom. They also refused to listen and in 586 BC the Babylonians destroyed the Assyrians, took over the Northern Kingdom, defeated the Southern Kingdom, and led Israel into 70 years of captivity in Babylon.
THE EXILE – ISRAEL’S JUDGMENT
(LAMENTATIONS, EZEKIEL, DANIEL)
For 70 years, from 586 BC to 516 BC the Israelites lived in Babylon as slaves and servants to the Babylonians. It was during this time that the books of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Lamentations were written.
THE RETURN AND LONGING – ISRAEL’S HOPE
(EZRA, NEHEMIAH, ESTHER, HAGGAI, ZECHARIAH, MALACHI)
In 516, God moved upon the Babylonians to let the Israelites
return to their homeland. The people returned to find their homeland in shambles and foreign peoples residing there. The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi record the history of this time period and details how they rebuilt Jerusalem and built the second temple.
After Malachi, God was silent for 400 years.
THE COVENANT OF JESUS – THE KINGDOM INTRODUCED
(MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE, JOHN)
After 400 years of silence, God raised up John the Baptist as a prophet to prepare the way for Jesus. Finally, the offspring of Abraham and David arrived to restore what had been broken in Eden by Adam and Eve. Jesus established the New Covenant through His blood that provides salvation for all the nations. The gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John record the life, ministry, teachings, and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
THE CHURCH OF JESUS – THE KINGDOM PREVIEW
(ACTS, ROMANS, 1&2 CORINTHIANS, GALATIANS, EPHESIANS, PHILIPPIANS, COLOSSIANS, 1&2 THESSALONIANS, 1&2 TIMOTHY, TITUS, PHILEMON, HEBREWS, JAMES, 1&2 PETER, 1,2&3 JOHN, JUDE)
After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the church was formed of both Israelite and non-Israelite (Jew and Gentile) followers of Christ. When Jesus ascended into the Heavens, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell His followers until His return. These followers took His message from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. This account is found in the book of Acts.
The Apostle Paul, the Apostle Peter, the Apostle John, and one other unknown author, wrote several letters to the early church instructing them about God and how to live as Christ-followers. These letters are the remaining books of the New Testament, excluding the book of Revelation.
THE RETURN OF JESUS – THE KINGDOM IN ITS FULLNESS
At the end of the Apostle John’s life, God gave Him a vision of what was yet to come. This vision is recorded in the book of Revelation. It tells of the return of Christ, the final battle between God and Satan, the judgment of all mankind, and the creation of a New Heavens and a New Earth where the people of God will live with Him for eternity.
Jesus Christ is coming again! That’s an amazing thought. Magnificent! Thrilling! Unbelievable!
Acts 1:11 says:
“this same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
“This same Jesus."
Not someone like Jesus.
Not a group of Jesus scholars.
But Jesus himself is coming again.
Coming soon to Jerusalem.
Coming soon to Calcutta.
Coming soon to New York and London, Capetown and Calgary.
Coming soon to a city, a town, a village, a street, a home near you.
When he comes the second time:
It will not be as the suffering servant. It will be as King and Lord.
He came the first time as the Lamb of God.
He comes again as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
The best is yet to come.
No wonder the Bible ends with these words:
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen."
That is the Bible.