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28. Starting where the Bible starts

Christian theology in a Sudanese context. The beginning of the story of God and humankind.

The Bible is not a collection of independent verses that can be taken out of context, in any order or priority. The Bible is a progressive revelation of the One and only true God. It shows us God’s creation of humankind (Genesis 1:27). It shows us people choosing to rebel against God’s will and His purpose (Genesis 3:1-20). It shows us God’s plan to save us from the sin in which we were hopelessly trapped. It records how Jesus Christ opened the way of salvation (John 14:1-7). The Bible ends with the symbolic unveiling of “Jesus making everything new” (Revelation 21:4-6). From the beginning to the end, the Bible is one grand and true story that moves from start to finish. It should always be taken as a whole. As we read all through the Bible, we must see what God is doing. The Old Testament is the ‘covenant’ or ‘agreement’ God made with people about salvation before Jesus Christ came into the world (Genesis 15:1-6). The New Testament is the new covenant Jesus achieved, as the only mediator between God and humankind (1 Timothy 2:5,6). In one sense, they are not different covenants, but the same one – started in the Old Testament and finished in the New. Abraham demonstrated that God enjoys people having faith in Him (Hebrews 11:6, 8-10). The Old Testament Law shows us that no-one can live up to God’s standard. The New Testament Gospel – good news – shows us that we can be made acceptable to God, through Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:19-25). It is essential that we connect all the stories together when we are reading the Bible. We must see the place that every single one has within the whole. If we do not do this, we could easily get completely the wrong idea! It is a good idea to keep in mind a summary of the Bible’s big story, like the one that follows:

  • God is – Genesis

  • God creates– Adam and Eve

  • Humankind rebels

  • God judges by flood – Noah

  • God scatters all the people – Babel

  • God calls His chosen person – Abraham

  • This continuing special family move into Egypt – Joseph

  • God brings them out of captivity, after the Passover – Exodus / Moses

  • God gives the Law

  • Disobedience results in aimless wanderings

  • Entering the promised land – Joshua

  • Ups and downs under the leadership of Judges

  • A king is appointed – Samuel / Saul

  • The best times for Israel– David / Solomon, the prophets speak for God

  • The kingdom divided– the prophets continue, but are largely ignored

  • Exiled into Babylon

  • Years after, going back home – Ezra / Nehemiah

  • The birth of Jesus Christ – Gospels

  • Jesus' life and teaching

  • Jesus' death and resurrection

  • The Christian church in Jerusalem – Acts / Peter

  • Persecution and the problems of growing – Paul

  • Expansion to all peoples everywhere

  • God brings everything to its climax – Revelation / John

Thinking it through. (a). From reading ONLY Genesis 1:1; Genesis 3:1; Genesis 12:1; Genesis46:1-4; Exodus

3:7-9; Exodus 20:1-3; Joshua1:1-5; and Jeremiah 32:36-41; what do you think is

THE theme of the Old Testament?

(b). From reading ONLY Mark 1:1; John 20:30-31; Acts 1:1-5; Colossians 1:3-6; and

Revelation 21:1-4; what do you think is THE theme of the New Testament?


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