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Big Picture of the Bible. Lesson 1. I ntroduction. What is biblical theology? Traces the storyline of God’s plan as it is progressively revealed from Genesis to Revelation (metanarrative) Assumes unity of the whole Bible – ‘a narratival canonical plotline’

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i ntroduction
  • What is biblical theology?
    • Traces the storyline of God’s plan as it is progressively revealed from Genesis to Revelation (metanarrative)
    • Assumes unity of the whole Bible – ‘a narratival canonical plotline’
        • ‘The Old is by the New revealed, the New is in the Old concealed’
biblical theology
Biblical theology
  • Relates problem passages to the one message
  • Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk. Ex.23:19
  • Dan is a lion’s cub, springing out of Bashan. Deut.33:22
  • Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking towards Damascus. Song 7:4
  • The Leech has two daughters. ‘Give! Give!’ they cry. Prov.30:15
  • O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to Destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us – he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks. Ps.137:8-9
biblical theology1
Biblical theology
  • Uncovers the relationship between OT and person and work of the Lord Jesus
      • How does this text in question relate to Christ?
      • How do I relate to Christ?
        • Eg
        • Matthew – Abraham, David, exile = blessings promised?
        • Mark – later OT salvation promises > John B – expectation
        • Luke / Acts – fulfillment of OT promises
        • John – God’s creative Word is the needed life-giving power
central storyline
Central storyline

Core intertwining threads

  • Creation
  • Fall
  • Redemption
  • Consummation

New-creational reign = penultimate logical main point (leading to God’s glory)

  • Primary strand of OT storyline:

‘The Old Testament is the story of God, who progressively reestablishes his new-creational kingdom out of chaos over a sinful people by his word and Spirit through promise, covenant, and redemption, resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to advance this kingdom, and judgment (defeat or exile) for the unfaithful, unto his glory.’ GK Beale, 62

  • NT storyline:

‘Jesus’ life, trials, death for sinners, and especially resurrection by the Spirit have launched the fulfillment of the eschatological already-not yet new-creational reign, bestowed by grace through faith and resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to advance this new-creational reign and resulting in judgment for the unbelieving, unto the triune God’s glory.’

creation commission
Creation commission
  • Genesis 1-3 lays the foundation for all else
    • Everything else in the Bible has its roots back here and moves through to its goal in Rev.21
  • Adam’s Commission: Gen.1:26-28
    • Equipped for the task – image of God
      • Subdue, rule over, further create
      • Order, rank, harmony, goodness
      • Prophet (listen & tell), priest (temple), king (tree)
creation commission1
Creation commission
  • Adam’s Covenant Obligations
    • Faithfulness would have resulted in an irreversible escalated state, bringing true rest
    • But he grasped for the reward in the wrong way and at the wrong time
    • Failed as prophet, priest & king
creation commission2
Creation commission
  • The Passing on of Adam’s Commission
  • Noah, Abraham & his descendants
  • Allusions to / echoes of Gen.1:28
    • Noah Gen.9:1,7
    • Abraham Gen.12:1-3, 22:17-18 – renews vision for humanity
    • Gen.47:27 – beginning to be fulfilled
    • Exod.1:7, 12, 20; Num.23:10-11; Deut.15:4-6
    • Israel and her leaders also fail thus there is reiteration of the promise that end-time Israel and their end-time King will finally succeed in fully accomplishing the Adamic commission – Is.54:1-3, Ezek.36:9-12, Dan.7:13-14, Hos.1:10
creation commission3
Creation commission
  • Differences in the Commission to Adam and to his descendants
  • Included reigning over unregenerate human forces – beacons of light to others living in spiritual darkness Ex.19:6; Num.32:22; Is.55:5
  • Includes God’s promise to help carry out the commission and the promise of God’s presence –first with Isaac Gen.26:24
  • Under Mosaic administration - Israel were to obey God’s new rules as ‘the promised land’ is viewed like the garden of Eden Is.51:3, ezek.36:35
      • Israel expelled, God withdraws, the promise remains unrealized
l2 Fall

Why do people need to be created anew in Christ?

  • They worship and resemble some image in the creation rather than God’s image.
  • Christ’s work begins to regain for us what was lost; we begin to be re-created and reflect His image, a process completed at Christ’s final coming.
l2 fall
l2 Fall
  • The Fall =
  • ‘The rebellion of the whole human race against God through the historic act of our first parents. Their disobedience was a failed attempt to become as God.’ G Goldsworthy, 134
l2 fall1
l2 Fall
  • ‘When Adam stopped being committed to God and reflecting his image, he revered something else in place of God and resembled his new object of worship.’ GK Beale, 358.
      • 1st Commandment (Exod.20:3); 1st petition Lord’s Prayer (Mat.6:9)
  • Gen.3
  • What was the temptation?
l2 fall2
l2 Fall
  • Temptation:
  • ‘Satan’s suggestion that God’s word could not be relied upon as the absolute authority and source of truth for mankind.’
  • Adam & Eve made themselves the measure of all things
l2 fall3
l2 Fall
  • Idol worship = revering anything other than God
  • Adam’s sin of idol worship = shifted his allegiance from God to himself and Satan
  • How should Adam have acted as God’s vice-regent to the approach of the serpent?
l2 fall4
l2 Fall
  • How does Adam’s behavior in Gen.3 resemble the serpent’s in some ways?
l2 Fall

Israel’s history of battling idolatry

Exod.32 – Israel like rebellious cows running wild needing to be regathered

Ps.115:4-8 idolaters resemble the spiritual lifelessness of their idols

Is.6:9 people become like the idols they refuse to stop loving

Hos.4:16-17 Israel’s stubbornness is idol worship > out of control, head-strong,


l2 fall5
l2 Fall
  • New Testament
  • Matthew quotes Is.6:9-10 then quotes Jesus saying to the disciples, ‘But blessed are your eyes because they see; and your ears because they hear.’ Why? ‘To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.’ Matt.13:11ff
  • Only God is the giver of sight and hearing and can recreate to form them to reflect His glory – Isa.29, 44
l2 fall6
l2 Fall
  • New Testament
  • Rom.1:20-28 – idolatry = root of and essence of sin
  • What is exchanged? (v.23, 25)
  • Israel gave up ‘the opportunity to bask in the glory of the immortal God’ > they basked in and reflect whatever else they substituted
    • Ps.106 – the glory of God for the image of an ox
    • Jer.2 – the same sin is continuing
l2 fall7
l2 Fall

Perverted worship Proper worship

l2 Fall
  • Judgment
  • Serpent – cursed above all animals
  • Eve – pain and harmony disrupted
  • Adam – his dominion challenged
  • Death = broken fellowship
  • Loss of paradise > existence in the midst if death
  • Can God’s perfect kingdom be restored?
l2 fall8
l2 Fall
  • How is this re-creation possible?
  • Rom.8:28-29
  • Either we love some earthly object and become increasingly like it, or we love God and become increasingly like Jesus; whichever image we revere (God’s or the world’s) we resemble, either for ruin or for redemption
l2 fall9
l2 Fall
  • Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?
  • The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity, all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.’ WSC16
l2 fall summary
l2 Fall summary
  • Adam fell as a living image-bearer of God, set up by God on the territory of earth to show that He was the ultimate ruler
    • He was subdued by the serpent (another creature)
    • Subduing the earth became wearisome and vain
    • Instead of filling the earth with children bearing God’s image of glory, he created and filled it with offspring bearing their own inglorious sin and reflecting the image of the fallen created order
l2 fall summary1
l2 Fall summary
  • The first Adam brought us into a state of
  • Sin– guilt of Adam’s first sin, lack of original righteousness, corruption of our whole nature producing actual transgressions
  • Misery – lost communion with God, under His wrath and curse, liable to all miseries of this life, death, the pains of hell forever
l3 redemption
L3 redemption

Core intertwining threads of central story

  • Creation
  • Fall
  • Redemption
  • Consummation

New-creational reign = penultimate logical main point (leading to God’s glory)

l3 redemption1
L3 redemption
  • Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
  • ‘God...

…by a Redeemer.’


l3 redemption2
L3 redemption
  • First promise of the Redeemer
  • Gen.3:15 = promise = word = Word = Jesus
  • Gen.4 > ‘offspring of serpent’
  • Gen.5 > ‘offspring of the woman’
    • These two lines remain in NT thought:
    • Jn.8:39ff, 1Jn.3:10ff – family resemblance
L3 redemption
  • He is the promised seed of Adam who would crush Satan’s head (Gen.3:15).

Barye, 1932

l3 redemption3
L3 redemption
  • Gen.6 Sons of God and daughters of men
    • Noah – 2Pet.3:5ff, 13 (3 worlds)
      • Covenant and sign: shadow of good to come

Gen.6:18, 9:9

    • Adamic theology enlarged
        • Emphasized grace-promise
        • Strengthened evidence of God’s total sovereignty
        • Encouraged right and acceptable worship
    • Babel – separation (Noah 702)
l3 redemption4
L3 redemption

…324 years after Babel

  • Gen.12 Abraham
L3 redemption
  • Promise to Abraham – global blessing through his Seed (Gen. 12:1-3, Gal.3:16).
L3 redemption
  • Abraham – Father of the Faithful
  • Genesis promise renewed at least 7 times, made clearer, richer
  • Eternal blessing restricted to his family
    • Isaac
    • Jacob
      • Repeated emphasis of grace-promise, revelations, reforms of worship
      • Gen.50:26
L3 redemption
  • The Seed will be the son of Judah, who will reign eternally as king, whose garments are washed in the blood of grapes, and whose hand is on the neck of his enemies (Gen. 49:8-12).
L3 redemption
  • The Seed is to be a PassoverLamb (Exod. 12).
L3 redemption
  • A greater Sonof Israel who will come out of Egypt
  • A greater Redeemerwho will bring his people out of greater bondage and slavery (Exod. 12-14).
L3 redemption
  • Redemption = ‘release by a cost or price’
  • Atonement
  • OT worship – substitutionary sacrifice central
  • Rom.3:21-26 God’s end-time judgment has broken into time at the cross
  • Warfare theme prominent in OT and NT
l4 consummation1
L4 consummation


  • Central to the Bible – yet abstract without other biblical doctrines (Trinity, creation, fall, redemption, consummation)
l4 consummation2
L4 consummation
  • What framework ties these themes together?
  • The ‘architectonic structure’ of covenant (‘a matrix of beams and pillars that holds together the structure of biblical faith and practice’) ‘provides the context within which we recognize the unity of Scripture amid its remarkable variety.’
l4 consummation3
L4 consummation
  • Covenant of creation / works with humanity in Adam and at Sinai – command and promise
    • Command and Promise
  • Covenant of grace – the unconditional oath made to the eternal Son, to Adam and Eve after the fall, to Abraham, to David and us
    • Unconditional promise
l4 consummation4
L4 consummation
  • E.g. Deuteronomy
  • Is it just timeless principles of blessing and cursing?
  • Must ask: how does the administration of this covenant with the nation of Israel relate to the eternal plan of redemption carried forward in the unconditional divine promise to Abraham and fulfilled in Christ? What of conditional obedience?
l4 consummation5
L4 consummation
  • Scripture moves from promise to fulfillment e.g.
    • Garden
    • Temple
    • City
    • Kingdom
    • Judgment
    • Salvation
    • Presence of God
    • Spread of righteousness
l4 consummation6
L4 consummation
  • Scripture moves from promise to fulfillment
    • ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ Gen.1:28 > Gen.15:6 > Jer.23:3ff > Eph.3:3-6 > Rev.7:9ff
    • ‘the Seed of the woman’ Gen.3:15 > Gen.12:3 > 49:10 > 2Sam.7:12-15 > Isa.9:6 > Matt.1:1 > Acts 2:29ff > Rom.1:4 > Col.2:15 > Heb.2:14ff > Rev.22:16
l4 consummation7
L4 consummation
  • Scripture moves from promise to fulfillment
    • ‘I will be with you’ Gen.26:3, 31:3 > Exod.29:42-45 > Exod.40:34ff > 1Kings 8 > Amos.9:11 > Ezek. 8-11 > Jn.1:14 > Matt.28:18ff > Acts 15:16-18 > 1Cor.6:19, 12:27 > 1Thes.1:10 > Rev.21:3-7
l4 consummation8
L4 consummation
  • Who restores the image of God in us?
  • Who crushes the head of the Serpent?
  • Who brings rebels back to Paradise?