Introducing ScripturePaperback A Guide to the Old and New Testaments Wayne Grudem, C. John Collins, Thomas R. Schreiner
A coherent collection of concise studies on the literature, history and theology of the Bible.(more...)
What is the big-picture storyline of the Bible? What are the different literary genres of Scripture, and how should they be read? What are the important theological themes in the Old and New Testaments? What happened in the time between the testaments?
Such questions are the focus of this collection of concise studies on the Bible and its contents, which includes timelines of the Old and New Testaments and intertestamental events.
Useful both as a general overview and as a tool for more specific reference and training, this volume will help readers to grow in their understanding of Scripture and their ability to apply it to their lives.
Pastors, church leaders, students, and other Christians engaged in studying and teaching God's Word will benefit from these studies, originally featured as articles in the ESV Study Bible and written by notable contributors, including Vern Poythress, Gordon Wenham, David Howard, Thomas R. Schreiner and Darrell Bock.
Extent: 160 pages
Publication Date: 16/05/2012
Published by: IVP
An Overview of the Bible’s Storyline
Vern S. Poythress
Part 1: Old Testament
1 The Theology of the Old Testament
C. John Collins
2 Introduction to the Pentateuch
3 Introduction to the Historical Books
4 Introduction to the Poetic and Wisdom Literature
5 Introduction to the Prophetic Books
Part 2: Background to the New Testament
6 The Time between the Testaments
J. Julius Scott Jr.
7 The Roman Empire and the Greco-Roman World at the Time of the New Testament
8 Jewish Groups at the Time of the New Testament
Part 3: New Testament
9 The Theology of the New Testament
Thomas R. Schreiner
10 Reading the Gospels and Acts
11 Reading the Epistles
Thomas R. Schreiner
12 Reading Revelation
Part 4: Time Lines
Old Testament Time Line: An Overview
Intertestamental Events Time Line
New Testament Time Line
(From) An Overview of the Bible’s Storyline - Vern S. Poythress
How does the Bible as a whole fit together? The events recorded in the Bible took place over a span of thousands of years and in several different cultural settings. What is their unifying thread?
One unifying thread in the Bible is its divine authorship. Every book of the Bible is God’s word. The events recorded in the Bible are there because God wanted them recorded, and he had them recorded with his people and their instruction in mind: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).
God’s Plan for History
The Bible also makes it clear that God has a unified plan for all of history. His ultimate purpose, “a plan for the fullness of time,” is “to unite all things in him [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:10), “to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12). God had this plan even from the beginning: “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’ ” (Isa. 46:9–10). “When the fullness of time had come,” when the moment was appropriate in God’s plan, “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law” (Gal. 4:4–5).
The work of Christ on earth, and especially his crucifixion and resurrection, is the climax of history; it is the great turning point at which God actually accomplished the salvation toward which history had been moving throughout the Old Testament. The present era looks back on Christ’s completed work but also looks forward to the consummation of his work when Christ will come again and when there will appear “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13; see Rev. 21:1–22:5).
The unity of God’s plan makes it appropriate for him to include promises and predictions at earlier points in time, and then for the fulfillments of these to come at later points. Sometimes the promises take explicit form, as when God promises the coming of the Messiah, the great Savior whom Israel expected (Isa. 9:6–7). Sometimes the promises take symbolic form, as when God commanded animal sacrifices to be offered as a symbol for the forgiveness of sins (Leviticus 4). In themselves, the animal sacrifices were not able to remove sins permanently and to atone for them permanently (Heb. 10:1–18). They pointed forward to Christ, who is the final and complete sacrifice for sins.
Christ in the Old Testament
Since God’s plan focuses on Christ and his glory (Eph. 1:10–12), it is natural that the promises of God and the symbols in the Old Testament all point forward to him. “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him [Christ]” (2 Cor. 1:20). When Christ appeared to the disciples after his resurrection, his teaching focused on showing them how the Old Testament pointed to him: “And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25–27). One could also look at Luke 24:44–48: “Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.’ ”
When the Bible says that “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45), it cannot mean just a few scattered predictions about the Messiah. It means the Old Testament as a whole, encompassing all three of the major divisions of the Old Testament that the Jews traditionally recognized. “The Law of Moses” includes Genesis to Deuteronomy. “The Prophets” include both the “former prophets” (the historical books Joshua, Judges, 1–2 Samuel, and 1–2 Kings) and the “latter prophets” (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets, Hosea–Malachi). “The Psalms” is representative of the third grouping by the Jews, called the “Writings.” (The book of Daniel was placed in this group.) At the heart of understanding all these Old Testament books is the truth that they point forward to the suffering of Christ, his resurrection, and the subsequent spread of the gospel to “all nations” (Luke 24:47). The Old Testament as a whole, through its promises, its symbols, and its pictures of salvation, looks forward to the actual accomplishment of salvation that took place once for all in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Promises of God
In what ways does the Old Testament look forward to Christ? First, it directly points forward through promises of salvation and promises concerning God’s commitment to his people. God gave some specific promises in the Old Testament relating to the coming of Christ as the Messiah, the Savior in the line of David. Through the prophet Micah, God promises that the Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David (Mic. 5:2), a prophecy strikingly fulfilled in the New Testament (Matt. 2:1–12). But God often gives more general promises concerning a future great day of salvation, without spelling out all the details of how he will accomplish it (e.g., Isa. 25:6–9; 60:1–7). Sometimes he promises simply to be their God (see Gen. 17:7).
One common refrain is that, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:33; see also Hos. 2:23; Zech. 8:8; 13:9; Heb. 8:10). Variations on this broad theme may sometimes focus more on the people and what they will be, while at other times they focus on God and what he will do. God’s promise to “be their God” is really his comprehensive commitment to be with his people, to care for them, to discipline them, to protect them, to supply their needs, and to have a personal relationship with them. If that commitment continues, it promises to result ultimately in the final salvation that God works out in Christ.
The principle extends to all the promises in the Old Testament. “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him [Christ]” (2 Cor. 1:20). Sometimes God gives immediate, temporal blessings. These blessings are only a foretaste of the rich, eternal blessings that come through Christ: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3).
Warnings and Curses
God’s relation to people includes not only blessings but also warnings, threatenings, and cursings….
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