Bible students are increasingly coming to the realization that the Bible must be understood as story – as a single narrative from beginning to end. It is not a book just made up of stories, but is one single seamless story from Genesis to Revelation. But the makeup of the Bible in its vastness and complexity as well as the historical and traditional filters we have erroneously imposed on it make it difficult for the average reader to grasp the concept. Here is a very simple diagram that hopefully will help to put things in place. Every part of the Bible, its history, its applicability to the present and its events of the future can be located on this plot line. Of course this diagram does not tell the whole story, but gives a rough idea of how everything fits together and something of the direction in which God is moving the events of history toward the final culmination of his purpose.
The need for reading the Bible in this way should be obvious to discerning readers. We need to have a comprehensive view of the Bible story in order to understand our place in the world and the role we are to fulfill in it. This means that we must have a Biblical world view – a comprehensive understanding of how the world is supposed to work and we don’t get it from just reading the Bible piecemeal. When we understand that God had a purpose for creation before the fall and that ever since he has been moving his entire creation, fallen though it is, toward a definite objective of restoration as the new heavens and new earth, we can better understand our place in that creation.
The concept for the diagram is the classic plot line used by writers and novelists on which they “hang” their stories. The five elements are, (1) exposition, (2) rising action (beginning with a conflict or crisis), (3) climax, (4)falling action or denouement and (5) resolution. Viewing the Bible in this way enables us to understand where we have come from, where we are as well as to have a better understanding of what role we are to play in the grand drama that is the story of God and his creation.
Click on the link, The Bible Story in a Nutshell, for the .pdf diagram. (I have placed the the “church in history” and the “church in experience” in parenthesis to show that while these are not in the Bible as such, are, nevertheless, a part or consequence of the story).
Please feel free to save and use this diagram if you find it useful.