The One Great Story: Key Themes
Through 66 books and two Testaments, Bible tells One Great Story.
It is the story of God's first making, then redeeming and restoring the
world that he made; the story of God's rescuing, forgiving and
restoring a relationship with us his creatures. Its central idea is
often repeated promise: "I will be your God and you will be my people"
(e.g., Genesis 17:7-8; Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 31:33; Revelation
We will understand that one story better if we pay
particular attention to twelve key themes that recur again and again
throughout the Bible and help us understand its message.
time you read the Bible, ask: Which of these themes is present? What
light does the particular passage you are reading shed on the way this
theme unfolds through the one story of the Bible?
central character, the one through whom and for whom all things exist.
Self-existing and sovereign, creator of all things and redeemer of his
People of God
created human beings to enjoy a relationship with himself. After the
fall into sin, God began to (re)gather a new people from every nation,
bound to himself by covenant.
solemn bond between two or more persons. Particularly, the bond of love
between God and his people he promises to provide, protect and forgive;
they pledge loyalty and obedience.
he is their God, God lives with his people [Exod 40:34-38; John 1:14;
Eph 2:22], to rule, judge and bless--His presence is their greatest
blessing. [Pss 42:1-2; Rev 21:3-4]
rule and realm of God. Reasserting God's authority over his wayward
people is the key to restoring everything sin has spoiled [Rom
his people are opposed by Satan [Gen 3:16], our own sin [Rom 6:12-14],
the nations [Ps 2], competing worldviews [2 Cor 10:3-5]. God's final
victory is assured.
God orders and directs the life of his people for their good. [Deut 5:29; 6:24; 10:13; 4:6-8]
Sin & Judgment
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. [Rom 3:23].
Sin prompts a holy God to bring judgment [Rom 6:23; Heb 9:27].
God's favor toward us despite our sin.
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. [Rom 5:20].
God rescues his people from slavery and oppression, so that they can know and live for him.
stand between one person or group and another. Because of our sin, God
typically relates to us through a mediator.Theologians sometimes speak
of three mediatorial "offices" in the Bible:
Prophets reveal the will and work (judgment, blessing) of God.
Priests offer sacrifices and intercedes for sinners.
Kings rescue from enemies, rules over and through us.
what or in whom will God's people trust? God? Their own wisdom or
strength? Other gods? False prophets? Wealth? Military strength or
have identified other important themes in the Bible. These include:
election, holiness, judgment, sacrifice, restoration and renewal. In
one way or another, these are included in the twelve themes noted above.
The three Rs of redemption, revelation, and relationship
shape the one story as the Bible presents it. The three fit together.
The high points of God's actions in redeeming his people and the high
points of God's revealing himself, correspond closely. God seldom
speaks without acting and seldom acts without speaking (see Num 23:19;
Amos 3:7). Revelation without redemption would leave us in our sins.
Redemption without revelation would leave us unaware of his care. Both
are necessary for us to enjoy a relationship with him.
Read more about the One Great Story.
To find out more about a workshop that will help you understand the One Great Story better, click here.
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