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The Overall Story of the Bible. Introduction. The Bible has had an amazing influence. A prime influence on Western Civilization Millions across the world say they have had their lives changed through believing this book This has happened for centuries by all sorts of people.

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The bible has had an amazing influence l.jpg
The Bible has had an amazing influence.

  • A prime influence on Western Civilization

  • Millions across the world say they have had their lives changed through believing this book

  • This has happened for centuries by all sorts of people


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The Bible has an amazing composition.

  • Written over 1600 years

  • Written by over 40 authors

  • Written on 3 continents: Asia, Africa, Europe

  • And it all fits together coherently!


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The Bible says it reveals what we need to know.

  • Who God is

  • God’s good intent for the world

  • What’s gone wrong with us and our world

  • How our lives and world can be restored through God


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The Bible reveals these things through telling a big, overall story.

  • Though containing many teachings and smaller stories, an overall story emerges that gives the big picture of how God is redeeming humanity.

  • Knowing this overall story helps us make better sense of the Bible’s parts too. (Analogy of a novel)


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How We Will Proceed overall story.

  • Will briefly summarize the “plot” of the Bible’s story

  • Will present this plot in three parts that represent the beginning, middle and end of the story

  • For each part, we will explore a set-up, conflict/problem, and solution


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Background on overall story.How the Bible Is Organized

  • Historical Books

    Genesis through Esther

  • Poetic Books

    Job through Song of Songs

  • Prophetic Books

    Isaiah through Malachi

Old TestamentNew Testament

  • Historical Books

    Matthew through Acts

  • Epistles/Letters

    Romans through Jude

  • Prophetic Book

    Revelation

Ancient Time to ~400 BC ~0 AD to ~100 AD


Part 1 the beginning l.jpg

Part 1 overall story.The Beginning


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The Story Set-up: overall story.God Creates a Good World

  • God creates the universe and people

  • God tells man how to live

  • Everything is in harmony with itself and God

  • Life is beautiful and people can live forever as long as they follow God

Genesis 1 & 2


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B) The Conflict / Problem: overall story.People Rebel and Throw the World Into Disarray

  • The first people choose to disobey God

  • They experience shame, guilt and fear for the first time

  • As a result, God says life will now be full of pain, futility, conflict, and death

  • People are cast out of God’s presence on earth

Genesis 3


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • Within one generation, we have the first murder—brother kills brother

Genesis 4


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • As people multiply, violence and corruption spreads across the world

Genesis 5 - 6:5


B the conflict problem13 l.jpg
B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • God grieves over how bad things get. He sends a worldwide flood to destroy all but the family of Noah and one pair of each animal who can repopulate the earth.

Genesis 6:6-9


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • Noah’s descendents ignore God and seek to build a city and tower to their own greatness.

Genesis 11:1-4


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • God breaks them up by separating them into different languages and nations across the world.

Genesis 10; 11:5-11


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • In summary, people have turned away from God, messed up their lives and the world, and they keep doing this over and over.


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • Puzzle: How can a world of corrupt people in separate nations be turned back to God and experience life as God originally intended?


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C) The Solution - First Phase: overall story.God’s Chooses Abraham and Some of His Descendents

  • God talks to a man Abraham. God says he will bless Abraham, make of him a great nation, and through him all nations will be blessed.

Genesis 12-20

(~2,000 BC)


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C) The Solution, First Phase overall story.

  • Though imperfect, Abraham believes God and follows him, even though he and his wife are very old and have no son.

Genesis 12 - 20


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C) The Solution, First Phase overall story.

  • After 25 years of waiting, God gives Abraham and his wife a son, Isaac, who will inherit God’s promises.

Genesis 21 - 24

(Job is set sometime around this time period)


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C) The Solution, First Phase overall story.

  • When he grows up, Isaac has twin sons. God chooses the younger twin, Jacob, to inherit his promises.

Genesis 25 - 27


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C) The Solution, First Phase overall story.

  • Jacob is a schemer, but God changes him, and changes his name to Israel.

Genesis 28-35:15


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C) The Solution, First Phase overall story.

  • Israel has 12 sons. One son, Joseph, trusts in and obeys God. But the other brothers are jealous of Joseph and sell him into slavery.

Genesis 35:16-38


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C) The Solution, First Phase overall story.

  • Through amazing circumstances, Joseph becomes prime minister of Egypt, and the rest of the family comes to join him.

Genesis 39-50


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C) The Solution, First Phase overall story.

  • Puzzle: How can God bless all nations and restore the world through these people?


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Part 2 overall story.The Middle


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The Second Part Set-up: overall story.God Establishes Israel AsHis Chosen Nation

  • Many years later, Israel’s descendents have grown to hundreds of thousands, but they are now all Egyptian slaves.

Exodus 1

(~1,500 BC)


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A) The Second Part Set-up overall story.

  • God raises up a man, Moses, to lead them out of Egypt.

Exodus 2 – 7:13


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A) The Second Part Set-up overall story.

  • After a series of 10 divinely caused plagues, the Egyptian king agrees to let Moses and the Israelites leave miraculously.

Exodus 7:14 - 18


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A) The Second Part Set-up overall story.

  • Once they are out of Egypt, God gives Moses and the Israelites 10 commandments and other laws to follow, saying they will be blessed if they obey, but cursed if they disobey.

Exodus 19 – Numbers 12


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B) The 2nd Part Conflict / Problem: overall story.The Israelites Usually Don’t Trust in God

  • The rescued Israelites keep rebelling against God. So God says He will not permit them to enter their promised land. They have to travel in the wilderness until their generation dies out.

Numbers 14 - 36


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • After 40 years, God renews his covenant with the next generation of Israelites. Then Moses’ successor, Joshua, leads them into the promised land.

Deuteronomy 1 - Joshua 24


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • However, the very next generation turns to worshipping other gods.

Judges 1 - 2


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • For the next 300 years, the Israelites follow a pattern: They face a foe, they call out to God, God sends someone to help them, but once their problem is solved, they turn away from God again.

Judges 3 - 1 Samuel 7

(~1,400 – 1,100 BC)


B the conflict problem35 l.jpg
B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • The Israelites ask God for a king, and after warning them about how kings act, God chooses Saul to be their first king.

1 Samuel 8 - 10


B the conflict problem36 l.jpg
B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • Saul begins well, but he starts disobeying God and God tells Saul (through a prophet) he will replace him.

1 Samuel 11 - 15


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • God chooses David to be the next king, David obeys and trusts in God, and Israel prospers.

1 Samuel 16 - II Samuel 10; 1 Chronicles 11 - 20

(David wrote many of the Psalms)

(~1,000 BC)


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • God promises David that a dynasty and a kingdom will come from him that will last forever.

(Puzzle: how can this be?)

2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17


B the conflict problem39 l.jpg
B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • When David gets older though, he commits adultery and murder, and he and his kingdom starts to deteriorate.

2 Samuel 11-23; 1 Chronicles 21


B the conflict problem40 l.jpg
B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • David’s son Solomon becomes king next, and he rules wisely. But eventually he worships other Gods. God says he will remove most of Israel from his dynasty because of this.

1 Kings 1 - 11; 2 Chronicles 1 - 9

(Solomon many of the Proverbs, plus

likely Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs)


B the conflict problem41 l.jpg
B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • After Solomon dies, Israel splits into two kingdoms.

The Northern Kingdom—”Israel”

- Ruled by many dynasties of kings

  • The Southern Kingdom—”Judah”

  • Always ruled by a descendant of David

  • and Solomon

I Kings 11 - 12; 2 Chronicles 10 - 11


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • For the next few hundred years, Israel’s kings and people keep disobeying God. After sending many warnings through prophets, God has the northern kingdom overrun by Assyrians in 722 BC. Most are shipped away, never to return.

I Kings 13 - 2 Kings 17

Hosea, Amos, Jonah


B the conflict problem43 l.jpg
B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • During this same time period, a few kings and people in Judah trust in God, but most don’t. After many warnings, in 586 BC, after Israel’s fall, God has Judah conquered also. However, God promises he will bring a remnant back to their land.

I Kings 13 - 2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 10 - 36:21

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel , Habakkuk ,

Micah,Zephaniah


B the conflict problem44 l.jpg
B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • The Judeans (i.e., “Jews”) live in exile in Babylon. But 70 years later, the Persian king who conquered Babylon says Jews can return to their land and rebuild their capital and temple.

2 Chronicles 36:22 - Ezra 1

Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel


B the conflict problem45 l.jpg
B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • These returning Jews are the first generation to permanently forsake worshipping other gods, and they show concern to obey God.

  • However, they soon start growing cooler toward God.

Ezra 2 - Esther 10

Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

(Old Testament ends ~400 BC)


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • Summary Puzzle: With how they have done, how will God “bless all nations” through descendents of Abraham?


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C) The Solution, Phase 2: overall story.God Promises to Send a Savior

  • In addition to warnings, through prophets, God gives the Israelites promises he will raise up from them a deliverer who will establish a wonderful eternal, worldwide kingdom—one filled with people who trust in Him.

Isaiah 40 - 66, Micah 4 - 5:15, Zephaniah 3:9-20, Zechariah 9:9 - 14, Malachi 4


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C) The Solution, Phase 2 overall story.

  • Puzzle: How can someone sent to the Jews save the world and change people’s hearts?


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Part 3 overall story.The End


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The Final Part Set-up: overall story.God Sends Jesus to Save the World

  • 400 years after the Old Testament ends, Jesus is born. His birth’s details fit the ancient prophecies of the promised one.

  • Examples:

  • A descendant of Abraham,

  • Israel, and David

  • Born in the small town of

  • Bethlehem.

Matthew 1 - 2; Luke 1 - 2

(~ 0 AD)


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A) The Set-up overall story.

  • At about age 30, Jesus starts preaching in Israel. He heals people, performs miracles, and makes astounding claims.

  • Examples of Claims:

  • I am the light of the world

  • I came to save the world

  • - Whoever sees me, sees God.

  • - He who believes in me has eternal life

Matthew 3 - 25; Mark 1 - 13, Luke 3 - 21, John 1 - 17


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A) The Set-up overall story.

  • Jesus, though, is rejected by his nation. He is arrested, tried for treason, convicted, tortured, publicly executed on a cross, and buried.

Matthew 26 - 27; Mark 14 - 15,

Luke 22 - 23, John 18 - 19


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A) The Set-up overall story.

  • On the third day, Jesus rises from the dead. He tells his disciples to spread to all nations the gospel (“good news”) that they can have forgiveness and eternal life through believing in Him.

Matthew 28; Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20 - 21


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A) The Set-up overall story.

  • After Jesus returns to heaven, the Holy Spirit comes on his disciples and makes them bold. They share Jesus’ gospel

message with Jews and then others throughout the Roman Empire. Many lives are changed.

Acts 1 - 28


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B) The 3rd Part Conflict / Problem: overall story.Evil & Suffering Are Still Widespread

1. Accepting the Gospel changes lives and the world. But its spread is hindered by disbelief and opposition.

Acts 2 - 28


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B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

2. Believers still find it hard to live completely new types of life (and this hinders the Gospel’s spread too).

Acts 5 - 20

(Mentioned in many of the Epistles)


B the conflict problem57 l.jpg
B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

3. Much suffering and injustice still remain. Believers not only experience this, sometimes they also suffer because of their faithfulness to Christ.

Acts 2 - 28

(also mentioned in many of the Epistles)


B the conflict problem58 l.jpg
B) The Conflict / Problem overall story.

  • Puzzle: How can you have a restored world and full salvation in this situation?


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C) The Transitional Solution: overall story.The Holy Spirit’s Workings

1. The Bible says God’s Holy Spirit will work in people’s lives so that the Gospel will go to all the world and that eventually people from all nations will believe.

Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10-11; Luke 24:47-48; John 16

Revelation 5:9-10


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C) The Transitional Solution overall story.

2. The Epistles describe how Christians can rely on Christ and experience the Holy Spirit progressively transforming them into joyful, holy people, even through hardships and pain.

2. The Epistles describe how Christians can rely on Christ and experience the Holy Spirit progressively transforming them into joyful, holy people, even through hardships and pain.

John 14 - 16

Romans through Jude


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C) The Transitional Solution overall story.

Will evil and suffering

always remain though?


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D) The Ultimate Solution: overall story.Christ Returns and Establishes His Full Kingdom

  • The Bible says that after the Gospel has gone to all nations, Christ will return to earth during a time of severe hardships. The dead will be raised and there will be a final judgment of all people.

Matthew 24 - 25; Mark 13; Luke 21

Revelation 4 - 20


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D) The Ultimate Solution overall story.

  • Those who have resisted God will face an eternity of paying for their sins.

Matthew 25; Luke 21

Revelation 20:11-15


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D) The Ultimate Solution overall story.

  • Those who have turned back to God and trusted in Christ will be forgiven & welcomed into God’s full kingdom. Their remaining corrupt tendencies will be purged and they will joyously experience life as it was originally intended under God.

Matthew 25

Revelation 21 - 22


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D) The Ultimate Solution overall story.

  • This story ends then, and a new one of eternal wholeness and delight in God begins—one we can only barely imagine.


Review l.jpg

Ancient Times overall story.

~1800+ BC

Review

Part 1 - The Beginning

A) The Story Set-up:

God Creates a Good World

B) The Conflict / Problem:

People Rebel and Throw the World Into Disarray

C) The Solution - First Phase:

God’s Chooses Abraham and Some of His Descendents

Genesis


Review67 l.jpg

~1500 BC overall story.

~400+ BC

Review

Part 2 - The Middle

A) The Second Part Set-up:

God Establishes Israel As His Chosen Nation

B) The Conflict / Problem:

The Israelites Usually Don’t Trust in God

C) The Solution - Second Phase:

God Promises to Send a Savior

The Rest of the Old Testament


Review68 l.jpg

~0 AD overall story.

The Future

Review

Part 3 - The End

A) The Final Part Set-up:

God Sends Jesus to Save the World

B) The Conflict / Problem:

Evil & Suffering Are Still Widespread

C) The Transitional Solution:

The Holy Spirit’s Workings

D) The Ultimate Solution:

Christ Returns and Establishes His Full Kingdom

The New Testament


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Some Story Implications: overall story.


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1. God is patiently giving people the opportunity to turn back to Him

  • 2 Peter 3:3-9: “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come . . . They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." . . . But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise . . . He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”


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2. Our opportunities have back to Himunknown time limits

  • God gave people in the Old Testament centuries of warnings to turn back to him, but when they refused to do so, eventually judgment came.

  • God offers us eternal life and a place in his kingdom. But our opportunity to trust in Christ can run out by our death, Christ’s return OR our own hardness of heart. (Hebrews 3 & 4)


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3. How do you fit into the story? back to Him

  • The Bible says God is actively drawing people to Christ. (e.g., John 6:44)

  • God wants us on his good side, but he does not force us.

  • Our responses fix our roles in the story, and our eternal destinies.

  • Our world is currently in the 3rd part of the story, nearing the very end.

  • The plot is revealed. Who plays what role is not. Where do you want to be?


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To Explore More: back to Him

  • Review this PowerPoint at comumn.org

  • Download there, in English or in Chinese: “A Short Guide to the Bible” (includes a Bible timeline, Bible history, and key selections Bible reading plan)

  • Join a Bible study


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Discussion Questions back to Him

  • What questions do you have about this?


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