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Lesson 2: Understanding the Christian Story an overview of the structure and storyline of the Bible

Learning objectives • Explain the importance of “story” and “metanarrative” for understanding the Bible as one unified account of redemption • Describe the organization and structure of the biblical text

Books of the Old Testament Pentateuch* Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy

*also called Torah or Law

Historical Books Joshua Judges Ruth 1 Samuel 2 Samuel 1 Kings 2 Kings 1 Chronicles 2 Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah Esther

Poetry and Wisdom Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes Song of Songs

Prophets Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Ezekiel Daniel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi

Books of the New Testament Gospels Matthew Mark Luke John

Historical Books Acts

Epistles Pauline: Romans 1 & 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 & 2 Thessalonians 1 & 2 Timothy Titus Philemon General: Hebrews James 1, 2 Peter 1, 2, 3 John Jude

Apocalyptic Revelation

Ways to Organize the Story

Old Testament 1


creation & crisis






calling out



5 conquest & canaanization

6 creation of kingdom




communion & common sense

crumbling of kingdom


New Testament Christ



9 captivity & coming home

Bartholomew & Goheen’s six acts from Drama of Scripture Act 1

Act 3

Act 2

creation crisis

God Adam & Eve Noah

Act 4

covenant conquest kingdom Christ

Abraham Isaac Jacob Joseph Judah Moses Aaron

Joshua Judges Samuel

Saul David Solomon

Act 5 church

John the Peter Baptist Paul Mary Jesus Disciples

Act 6 consummation

Jesus bride of Christ

Act 1

Act 2

creation crisis God establishes His Kingdom: creation

Fall Noah & Flood Babel

Act 3

Act 4

covenant conquest kingdom Christ Abrahamic Mosaic Egypt Exodus Ten Commandments Priesthood Ark Tabernacle

Promised Land Judges

United / Divided Kingdom Prophets New Covenant

major events in the story

Birth Baptism Disciples Preaching Teaching Healing Death


Act 5 church Ascension Pentecost Holy Spirit Jerusalem Judea Samaria

Whole world Paul’s 3 journeys

Act 6 consummation Return of King Jesus Judgment Bride of Christ New heavens & earth

a kingdom story Act 1

Act 2

Act 3


Act 4

Act 5

Act 6

God establishes His Kingdom

Rebellion in the Kingdom

The King Chooses Israel

Kingdom story waiting for an ending

Coming of the King

Spreading the News of the King

Return of the King



Redemption Initiated

Intertestamental period

Redemption Accomplished

Mission of the Church

Redemption Completed

(Redemption Initiated)

Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures

New Testament Christian Scriptures

a kingdom story in eight parts



God establishes His Kingdom

Rebellion in the Kingdom: Redemption Initiated

Genesis 1-2

Genesis 3-11




The King Chooses Israel

The King Conquers His Land

The King’s Earthly Kings & Prophets

Genesis 12- Joshua, Judges, Deuteronomy Ruth

Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures

Samuel Malachi



Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished

Spreading the News of the King


Return of the King: Redemption Completed

Matthew, Mark, Acts & Epistles Luke, John

New Testament Christian Scriptures


Storyline of the Bible creation crisis

covenant conquest kingdom Christ



13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:1316 NIV)

Storyline of the Bible creation crisis

covenant conquest kingdom Christ



17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2Corinthians 5:17-19 NIV)



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