Overview of the Bible – Step #1

The Bible as Story

Introduction – Step #1

The first step in our Overview of the Bible course requires that you grasp one fundamental secret. This secret will help you make sense of all of the events, characters, books, themes and stories within the Bible:

The Bible tells one continuous and unified story.

The Bible, like a story, has a main theme or a primary message. It contains a beginning, a middle and an end. It has protagonists and antagonists; primary and secondary characters. And finally, like any good story, the Bible contains a plot and many plot twists, which provide variety and help to carry the story along.

Advantages to Viewing the Bible as Story

There are significant advantages to approaching the Bible as one continuous and unified narrative.

#1 — Human beings are inherently drawn to stories of adventure, drama and conflict.

Everyone loves a good story! From the time we could recognize pictures in a book or the sound of our parents’ voices, our hearts and spirits have always responded to stories. We are wired to love drama, to root for heroes and to fight against villains (well at least in most normal households).

#2 — In a continuous story, all of the smaller elements have a proper place within the larger story.

This is the antidote to viewing the Bible as a holy jigsaw puzzle. When you understand that the Bible tells one continuous story then every figure, event, story, narrative and book of the Bible fits within this larger narrative.  Having a story serve as your overview of the Bible helps to make sense of the smaller individual parts of scripture.

#3 — A continuous story is much easier to memorize, summarize, recall and retell.

One of the great advantages to viewing the Bible as one continuous narrative is the ability to quickly learn this narrative and to be able to teach it to others.

Think about that for a moment! If you grasp what this course is trying to teach you, you will be able to replicate this confusion reduction of the Bible with anyone you meet.

Do you teach a Sunday school class? Presto! Whether kids or adults. You will be able to teach them this story and unlock a world of understanding for them regarding the Bible.

Telling a story is what we do without even thinking. I mean, even after reading a book or watching a movie only once we are able to describe them to our friends in painstaking detail!

The reason we are able to do this (besides the fact that we’re infatuated with the actors / actresses :)) is because our brains instinctively get the story concept. At the same time, it is able to organize all of the minute plot points within this larger framework.

Commit Yourself to Learning This Story

I have been teaching this overview of the Bible course for many years now and at the beginning of every semester, I share the continuous story of the Bible with my students.

It takes about 15 minutes to tell, give or take. I use no cue cards or notes to tell it and at the end of the session I say to my students, “In a few weeks, you will be required to stand up here in front of the class and retell this story just as I have narrated it to you!”

Once most people recover from their heart attacks, I simply ask them to trust me and to trust the power of a story.

Anyone, but I mean, anyone can learn it. One of my students shared this story with her elementary Sunday school class. Those children not only understood it, but in turn, they went before the entire congregation and shared this narrative much to the delight of the whole church. Most of the church had never heard the Bible related in this way.

So there you have it. That’s the first secret you must get your hands (and head) around:

The Bible tells one continuous and unified story.