Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Review: God's Big Picture

Vaughan Roberts is one of the leading Christian authors of this generation, with short, readable and helpful books on a wide variety of subjects. One of his first books was this one, God's Big Picture: Tracing the Story-Line of the Bible. I had read it before, but re-visited it last week in preparation for our parish Lent Course on a Bible overview.

Vaughan's concern is to show that it is possible to trace the big picture, the one central story-line through the 66 books of the Bible. After all, the Bible has one author and one subject: Jesus and the salvation he brings. The best way to do this is to trace the story of God's Kingdom throughout the Bible, from creation to new creation, from Eden to the New Jerusalem.

God's Kingdom (as he borrows from Goldsworthy) is God's people in God's place under God's rule and blessing. So, for example, in Genesis 1-2 we have Adam and Eve (God's people) in the Garden of Eden (God's place) under God's rule (obeying his command) and enjoying his blessing (being fruitful etc). This is the pattern of the Kingdom, which helps us to look out for it in the rest of the Scriptures.

The rest of the Bible, then, can be arranged under the headings: the perished kingdom, the promised kingdom, the partial kingdom, the prophesied kingdom, the present kingdom, the proclaimed kingdom and the perfected kingdom. To discover more about these, you'll just have to get the book!

This is a brilliant and short introduction to the Bible, and a useful help for people trying to understand the Bible as a whole, particularly the Old Testament and how it fits for Christians. The illustrations are helpful and appropriate, and the book is faithful to the Bible. While I remembered the basic structure, there were things I had forgotten, and was pleased to re-learn. Highly recommended.

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