Introduction

The Bible is one book.

The average non-Christian is almost completely ignorant of the contents of the Bible.

Honestly, I’m more surprised at how ignorant Christ-followers are of the contents.  Why would unbelievers know the contents of Scripture?  It is perhaps the most unread best-selling book.

Its aim is to help Christians to find their way around the Bible and to see how it all holds together and points us to Jesus.

The Bible is indeed Christocentric.  Look up John 5:39-40 where Jesus testifies that the Scriptures testify about him, yet his hearers were refusing to come to Christ for the life offered through the word.

A diverse collection of writings

Nothing too new here – History – Poetry – Prophecy (OLD TESTAMENT)  Law – Prophets – Writings (Hebrew Bible layout)

Gospels – Acts – Epistles – Revelation

I appreciated the outline of the New Testament shared with us by Dr. Harold Burchett at High Park.   5 books of HISTORY followed by 22 books of COMMENTARY.  The 22 books written to churches and individuals interpret and apply the books of HISTORY.

One author

Muhammad had no creative role in the production of their holy book.  He acted simply as a secretary who wrote down what was dictated to him by Allah via the angel Gabriel.

The Bible bears the marks of the personalities and eras that produced them.

I had a discussion some months ago with a young adult who was and is exploring the Muslim faith.   “What impact did the Qu’ran have on Muhammad?” I asked.  “Think of the impact God’s word had on those who were inspired by the Spirit of God to write it.”  God’s word “burned” like a fire in Jeremiah, it “comforted” Paul in his trials.

Not a book of quotations

…with the exception of some of the Proverbs, the Bible does not contain isolated sayings.  I should be wary about dipping into it at random and extracting individual verses without any regard for their context.

Amen!  Amen!  Amen!   How many verses ‘guide’ God’s people who treat the Bible at times like a “sanctified fortune cookie,” or a “thought of the day.”   Try this exercise – look up Colossians 2:21 and ask yourself – what are we to do according to this verse?  “Do not handle! “Do not taste!” “Do not touch!”  When you read the context you discover these rules illustrating the “basic principles” of the world are NOT to be followed and have no spiritual benefit in restraining evil.   Read verses 20-23 and see how CONTEXT changes everything!

One book

The Old Testament on its own is an unfinished story; a promise without a fulfillment.  We must read on to the New Testament if we want to know what it really means.  And the New Testament constantly looks back to the promise it fulfills.

How challenging, yes, impossible perhaps, to teach the New Testament without any reference to the Old!   As it has been well said by Augustine, “The NEW is in the Old concealed, the OLD is by the NEW revealed.”

The kingdom of God

Graeme Goldworthy in his book Gospel and Kingdom, helpfully presents the kingdom as the binding theme of the whole Bible.  

Kingdom Through Covenant is another terrific text which has gained some notoriety in this past year as Dr. Peter Gentry and Dr. Steve Wellum released it to the edification of others.   We are blessed at Toronto Baptist Seminary to have both of these men shaping the mental faculties of men and women who are preparing for service in God’s kingdom.  The binding theme of Scripture surely is the kingdom of our God.

How does Roberts define the kingdom of God?  God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule and blessing.

As noted in an earlier blog, Roberts provides an eight chapter outline which commences with the world as God designed it to be (The pattern of the kingdom) and tracks it through the valleys and mountains of Scripture until the perfected kingdom is realized.

What truth to enrich one’s soul!   What blessing to read and read and re-read again God’s precious word.  “We’ve only just begun….”

Spirit of God, my teacher be…. showing the things of Christ to me!  Amen.

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