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A brief Bible Overview

posted 30 Oct 2013, 04:40 by Joshua Monteiro
(adapted from our evening series "How to Read the Bible for all it's worth")
The whole Bible is about Jesus. That is Jesus claim in Luke 24:44-47 “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms…” “The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name to all nations…” But given its length and diversity of books and styles, it can sometimes be hard to see how the Bible fits together as a story about Jesus. This Bible overview, adapted from the evening service on the 27th October, is an introduction to the great story of God revealing himself in Christ and saving people through Christ.

1. Creation   Time period pre- 3500 BC

Genesis 1-2

All things are made by God by his Word (Christ), including man made in the image of God. God creates from nothing an ordered and good creation for man to live in and rule over. Eden is the prototype, the display of God’s final intention for the world: God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule enjoying God’s blessing


2. Catastrophe pre 3500-2000 BC

Genesis 3-11

Man falls as, led astray by Satan, humanity doubts God’s word and goodness, and desires to be God, determining right and wrong for ourselves. This rebellion (sin) cuts us off from God, and is the great problem that God must rescue us from. Rejecting our creator, we find our rule over creation, our harmony with each other, and the integrity of our body and souls, and damaged. We suffer and die because of our sin. But even here there is hope, for in Genesis 3:15 a seed of the woman is promised who will crush the serpent. The rest of the Bible is a search for the serpent (Satan) crusher.


3. Covenant 2000-1500 BC

Genesis 12-50

God make promises to Abraham of a people, a land, blessing, and through one seed blessing to the whole world (Genesis 12). Abraham does nothing to earn this- God promises, and through the line of patriarchs (Isaac, Jacob, and his twelve sons) we see that God’s gracious promises are fulfilled despite human weakness and sin.


4. Commandments 1500-1400 BC

Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy

The great rescue event, where God rescues his people from slavery in Egypt by his mighty power and the provision of a perfect sacrifice. God leads and provides for his people in their wilderness journey to the Promised Land, all of which is a picture of the Christian life. At Sinai, God gives the people the Law, in which he promises his people on-going blessing if they obey and curses if they disobey him. Galatians 3:23-25 tells us this Law is to keep the people aware of their need for Christ. Redemption and Law in the rest of the Old Testament refer to the events of the Exodus and Sinai.


5. Conquest 1400-1050 BC

Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel 1-7

God himself helps the people to conquer the Promised Land, keeping all his promises. But they turn away from God to follow the idols of the people around them. So God brings enemies to oppress them, until they call out to God. God then raises a Judge (rescuer), who rescues them and keeps Israel following God, until he (or she) dies. Then the cycle begins again. So this period ends with the people deciding that the problem is the lack of hereditary leadership, and they demand a king.


6. Kingdom United 1050-930 BC

1 & 2 Samuel, 1 Kings 1-11, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles 1-9 (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes,            Song of Songs)

After the failure of Saul, the reigns of David and his son Solomon mark the high point in Israel’s history. Here at last, God’s people take the whole land, the temple is built under Solomon, so that God has a permanent dwelling place in the midst of Israel, and there is a God-chosen ruler over the people, so that the land enjoys peace and prosperity. But in the midst of this good time, the problem of sin has not been dealt with. David is a murderer and adulterer, whose sin leads to family strife. Solomon, despite his wisdom, ends up led astray into idolatry by his many wives. We’re still waiting for the promised son of David who will also be God’s Son (2 Samuel 7), and everlasting kingship that will overcome evil.


7. Kingdom Divided 930-722 BC

1 Kings 12-2 Kings 17, 2 Chronicles 10-28 (Obadiah, Joel, Micah, Jonah, Amos & Hosea)

After Solomon, the northern 10 tribes rebel and set up the kingdom of Israel (sometimes called Ephraim) with its capital in Samaria. The various dynasties of this kingdom are all bad, and Baal worship is widespread. This is the time of Elijah and Elisha. Meanwhile, the remaining southern kingdom of Judah (with Benjamin also included) has its capital Jerusalem and a line of Davidic kings, with a mix of godly and ungodly kings. The Northern Kingdom is taken into exile by the Assyrians in 722 BC, and never returns. The fate of the larger kingdom of God’s people serves as a reminder that God’s grace does not mean he won’t judge those who reject him and worship other gods. Now permanently scattered among the nations, these lost tribes of Israel will only return to God when the gospel of Christ is preached to all nations. 


8. Collapse and promise 722-430 BC (for books- period ends only with Christ in 0 AD)

2 Kings 18-25, 2 Chronicles 29-36, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Haggai, Malachi)

After the collapse of the Northern kingdom, the Southern Kingdom of Judah limps on for century and a half until 586 BC when Jerusalem is destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Jews are taken into exile in Babylon. Although they return in 539 BC under the Persians, the gap between the promises of the prophets and the poverty and weakness of the nation leave people longing for the day when Christ will come.


(For over 400 years there are no prophets. A history of Israel in this period can be found in 1&2 Maccabees. After the Persians came the Greeks, and then the Romans.)


9. Christ 4 BC-30 AD

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

Here finally is the one God has been preparing the way for. The Christ, the Son of God become man is here. He is God’s ruler, and in his actions he shows the blessings of the kingdom. In his teaching he calls for the true righteousness needed to live in God’s kingdom and proclaims the gracious forgiveness that allows sinners in. His death is the sacrifice that brings forgiveness for sins. His resurrection confirms him as Christ (King) and Lord (God) and the one who can conquer all our enemies of sin and death.


10. Church 30-90 AD (for books- period still continues)

Acts, Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesian, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1&2 Peter, 1,2&3 John, Jude

Jesus commissions his disciples in Acts 1:8 to receive the Holy Spirit and then go into the entire world as witness of Jesus. Acts shows us the beginnings of that movement from Jerusalem to Rome. The letters show us the gospel message and the way that affects how Christians should live facing hostility, different moral standards and more. We continue to live in this church age, enjoying the present reality of the Spirit and forgiveness but looking forward to the day when Christ will totally remove sin and suffering.


11. Coming of Christ and Creation renewed Date unknown- Revelation written AD 90

Revelation (Especially 21-22)

Finally, at the end of the story, Christ rules over a vast people from all nations, who live in God’s perfected creation, with God in their midst, and enjoying the perfect life of blessing and peace for which God made us. Maranatha- Come Lord Jesus!