I’m currently re-reading Teach: The Ordinary Person’s Guide to Teaching Students the Bible by Dr Allen Jackson. I used this book with my old Student Ministries team back at Eastview Christian Church and now am reviewing it with our new Pastor of Student Ministries and Worship Arts here at NCC. In it, Dr Jackson writes that he and his team wanted to ensure that their students got the “big picture” of the Bible (referred to as the metanarrative). Practically, this played out in three ways:
- Tell the big story.
- Identify the patterns in the single stories that make up the bigger story.
- Tell the whole story.
He (and I, for that matter) is convinced that simply using the Bible on it’s own is enough; author Rob Rienow would use the word “sufficient“. That is means that the Bible is not merely a source of information, but is both “true” and “enough” (This is a HUGE topic which I’ll return to at some point in the future).
Anyway, Jackson writes, “Our experience is that the Bible will prove itself sufficient in speaking to our needs” (p. 22). He speaks about how we interpret and understand the book of Hebrews, chapter 11 in particular, in the light of the Old Testament. What I read next blew me away: “The entire Bible relies on the entire Bible to tell the story of God” (p. 23). As I pondered this statement, I thought of three specific instances in which the text was used in this way:
- In Deuteronomy 6, parents are instructed to tell the story of the Exodus when their children ask about the purpose of God’s Law.
- In Luke 24, the just Resurrected Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus as they were discussing the events of the past several days. Verse 27 says, “Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures.”
- In Acts 8, Philip met the Ethiopian Eunuch on the road to Gaza. The man had been reading from Isaiah 53, and asked Philip about it. According to Acts 8:35, “Then Philip began with the same part of Scripture. He told him the good news about Jesus.”
Here’s the big story: God has interacted with man from the start.
Here are the patterns: In every story in the Bible, we see people interacting with one another and God in ways that demonstrate their response to God’s interaction with them.
Here’s the whole story: God desires to be in relationship with all of us. His Word tells us what this looks like.
Can you handle the Truth?