The Bible is not a book of rules, although many treat it as such. It is also not a book of heroes recounting the dashing deeds and heroic adventures of great men. No, truth be told, the prominent figures usually fail.
Certainly, the Bible contains rules and it tells many great stories, yet its purpose is so much greater than a cosmic law code and those great stories are centered on the lives of liars, adulterers, and murderers, save one.
Maybe your view of the Bible does not fit into one of those categories. Perhaps you know better than to think of it as some magical list of rules or tall mythology. Instead, in your estimation, it is a book meant to help you find life’s greatest fulfillment. Its purpose is to help you achieve happiness and give you tips about how to deal with the problems of life.
The Bible does contain great comfort; however, it is no self-help book. It was not sent from heaven for your therapeutic needs. To view the Bible as such is sinful selfishness. The Bible is not about you.
Yet, if the Bible is none of these things, then what is it?
Simply put, the Bible is a story.
Yes, it contains many stories, but the Bible itself, from Genesis to Revelation, is one big story. Specifically, the Bible is the true story of everything that has ever happened or ever will happen. That is the Bible. It took 40 men 1,600 years to write it, and despite being authored by different people from different cultures in different times and a dozen locations, this book has a central cohesion. It stands as a unity of thought and theme across time and distance. In other words, it all fits together into one grand story.
Consider that a miracle, because it is. It is also one of the greatest apologetics for the Bible’s authenticity. Despite its crazy origin, its pieces fit together like a masterful puzzle, pointing to a superintendence greater than any human author could accomplish.
And like any great story, there is a setting and a plot. There is movement, a rise of action as the plot becomes complicated. The different themes, like multi-colored strands, are wound together and tied ever tighter into one big knot as hope seems lost. The tension increases until a seeming breaking point, then, in a spectacular crescendo, comes the climax. Oh, what a climax! Finally, the denouement settles in as that grand knot is untied and the action falls, moving to a fantastic conclusion. It is the grand drama of existence and the heavens and earth are its stage.
What is more, it is all true. At least, the Bible says the Bible is true. According to its account of itself, every pen stroke testifies to a reality truer than the one we see with our eyes. We see the world in black and white, but this story fills our world with color. What was once flat and two-dimensional fills with depth when viewed through the lens found in this story. This story, and only this story, causes it all to make sense.
If this story is from God, as it says it is, if this story really is the story of everything, then its significance surpasses our best understanding. If this story is The Story, then its fingers dig deep into every corner of existence. No area of time or space escapes its clutch. All meaning in life flows from its pages, and without it there can be no meaning. It is our definition. It is our standard. It is our measuring stick. Life has no bearing without it, a ship lost at sea.
So this miracle book leaves man at a crossroads.
We have one of two options, a choice of two roads. Either we embrace this book for all it claims to be, or we toss it aside as a complete lie. For, based on the book’s testimony of itself, it cannot stand in the middle. It is all it says it is, or it is absolutely none of it.
However, we must understand that accepting this book for what it is, accepting this story as The Story, requires living as though it is true. Confessing it is true and living as though it is not will simply never do.
So, we must embrace the story of the Bible as the grand, God-given narrative it is. But, what is that narrative? If it really is one big story, then what is that story?
More to come…