Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bible Stories

In a few days I start preaching through the Bible in a year. My preparation has included Bible binge sessions and a steady diet of Bible Survey books. In recent weeks Abraham has usurped Batman as my hero of choice. I'd like to see the father of nations in a mask and cape.

The plan entails one week for each book of the Bible. Some minor prophets will live up to their 'minor' status, getting grouped together by date and purpose. Kings and Chronicles, likewise, will meld into a single, epic summary of Kingdoms divided and conquered. Finally, synoptic gospels and a few letters will be lumped together.

Each sermon will cover the Literary Flow, Redemptive Threads, and Practical Applications of a given book of the Bible. Part survey. Part Sermon. And it is the balance of these things--content and creativity--that will determine the effectiveness of such a project.

Certainly, I am not original in this endeavor.
Educators, too, have noticed a slide in biblical literacy. Their corrective has come in the form of theological readings of the biblical narrative, rather than background work on given books.

Both Christians and culture on the whole is losing connection to God's great redemptive story. Stories are not in demand; there is no shortage here. (Though we might argue what inherent value a third Focker movies adds to Western civilization?)

What the world needs is a fresh and full hearing of God's redemptive story. It begins with creation, stumbles tragically, and then finds fresh legs in the form of Abraham and his barren bride. God leads and sometimes lets go; God speaks and sometimes remains silent. God delivers and sometimes banishes.

Then God became flesh. The story does not end there, but finds a new beginning in the resurrection of the crucified Son. God's people find themselves in a long resolution as a called out people. An unfinished people in an unfinished story, living the Bible that they rarely read.

This year, though, I will read it. I hope some people join me.

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