The Bible: 66 Books, 1 Story

“One doesn’t need to read the Scriptures very long before noticing that the various authors often quote, refer to, or allude to things previously recorded by other writers. Begin tracing all these cross-references, and you’ll need a large notebook to keep track of them all. Or, allow Chris Harrison, a student at Carnegie Mellon University and Christoph Römhild of the North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hamburg, Germany, to compile a list and allow a computer to graph the result. They call the result, “Visualizing the Bible.” The bars on the bottom axis represent the chapters of the Bible, each bar length corresponding to the number of verses in each chapter. The colored arcs trace the myriad cross-references. “It almost looks,” Harrison commented, “like one monolithic volume.””
-Quoted from A Glass Darkly

So Many people are intimidated by the Bible because they don’t know where to begin, but it is not as complicated as it’s thickness makes it look. I suggest starting with the idea that the Bible is essentially one story. It 66 books telling the story of Jesus – the story of how God made the world, pursued it when it fell and the good creation he made was twisted, redeemed it through his son, and will one day make it new again. The climax comes about 3/4 of the way through when Jesus says, “It is finished,” but throughout the Bible are foreshadowings, promises, hints, and whispers of the cross and the person of Christ. It is in the prophet’s prophecies, it is in the promises of the psalms, it is in the laws of Leviticus, it is in the exodus in Exodus, it is in the stories in Genesis. It is in the lamb’s blood on top of the doorposts of the Israelites in Egypt and in Isaac carrying the wood for his own sacrifice up the mountain where his father will sacrifice him. It is in David’s victory over Goliath, a victory the Israelites could not win for themselves, so their future king stepped in and won for them. It is in Jonah in the belly of the fish for three days nad three nights, realizing that “salvation is from the Lord.” Christ is everywhere.

For more about Christ throughout the Bible read Sinclair Ferguson’s short writing, Preaching Christ in the Old Testament.

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