Stories are powerful. They engage our imagination and emotion. Stories can transport us to faraway lands and imaginary settings, and they convey truths in subtle yet powerful ways.
But when it comes to communicating biblical truth stories may seem too simple. How ironic since most of the Bible is composed of stories!
Throughout the Bible, there's a narrative arc that conveys the message of God's redemption of the human race. Each story reveals facets of the whole redemptive narrative.
Stories are a powerful way to engage people who haven't experienced God's redemptive grace.
God's redemptive story and us
If we don't understand the depth and fullness of God's redemptive story it's hard to make sense of everyday life. Not that we'll understand every event in every day of our life, but when we understand more of God's redemptive narrative we'll begin to see how it connects with our life.
Sometimes we look too hard at all that goes on in our life and try to figure out each detail fits into God's plan. As the saying goes, we can't see the forest for the trees. All we see are trees and we forget the larger context of the forest.
A western mindset tends to over analyze every detail and misses the larger picture, while eastern thought sees the whole but may not see how each detail fits into the picture and why they do. This is an oversimplification but the point is that we need both views to see the full picture.
Looking at the whole biblical narrative and how each of the various stories fit together enables us to see the depth and fullness of God's redemptive story. As we look at our life story arc with the biblical narrative in view, we should see how much of our own story matches the stories of other people in the Bible.
We need to understand the depth and fullness of God's redemptive story to make sense of everyday life
Back to the beginning
We’ll understand the Bible's narrative when we see it from the beginning
But first things first. How can we hope to understand the Bible's narrative unless we see it from the beginning? Going back to Creation we find the all-important why of redemption—why it is necessary.
The story of humanity begins with the creation of "the heavens and the earth" and nothing—the earth was a big blob, empty and dark with God's Spirit covering over it like a mother bird protecting her nest (Gen 1:1-2).
Then God begins the creation process by proclaiming, "Let there be light." So there was light and darkness was separated from it and the first day came to be (Gen 1:3-5).
On five successive days, God brought life and light into the dark, empty orb of the earth floating in the universe (Gen 1:6-25). After each day God was satisfied and said it was good.
On the sixth and last day, God said—
“Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness. Let them rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the domestic animals all over the earth, and all the animals that crawl on the earth.” So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. (Gen 1:26-27 GW)
This is the heart of why God sent His Son Jesus as the Redeemer of the world—for all people everywhere. Because He created us in His image.
All humanity is embedded with the image of God
Next post I plan to unpack the beginning story of humanity's need for redemption. If we go too quickly to the usual beginning point of the redemption story, we miss the heart of why God went to great lengths to redeem the human race.
There's more to redemption than, "Jesus died for your sins." This is a true statement, but it only tells part of the story. We need to see things from the heart of God and His intended purpose for those whom He created.
Over the next several posts (perhaps with some interruptions), I plan to look at five representative stories in the Bible.
Each story holds an important place in the story of God's redemption of humanity. Each one reflects a facet of the full picture of God's redemption. Each should help reveal the full purpose of God's redemption. Until then...
What is your own recollection of the story of Creation?
How do you understand God's redemption story?
Can you share either of these with someone else in your own words (IYOW)?
Let me know your thoughts on all this!