As we read through the Bible, one of the important things to consider is how a particular passage is understood in the context of the whole story of the Bible. This is one of the reason’s I particularly enjoy the Jesus Storybook Bible, because as I’m reading the stories to my children, the words remind us how all of scripture is pointing to Jesus and God’s plan from the beginning, to be with his people.
“The New Creation and the Storyline of Scripture” by Frank Thielmen is part of the Short Studies on Biblical Theology series, which is a helpful collection for the lay person looking to understand a specific theme as it’s understood throughout the whole of scripture. This book takes us from Genesis to Revelation, tracing the theme of the new creation.
He starts at Genesis, where God creates the world and declares all things good. Then, things turn awry after Adam and Eve sin, they are banished from the presence of the Lord with both a curse, and a promise.
Yet, God’s good plan for his creation did not crumble after the fall. He chooses a people for his own, establishes the law, and we witness their very bumpy history, resulting in their exile from the promised land. The prophets though, sent with words from the Lord, admonish Israel, but also plant firmly the seeds of hope, the promise of a new king, a new covenant, and a new creation; a time when he will return again.
“Eventually, under his reign, God will restore all creation to the security, peace, and abundance of the garden in Eden, and God himself will be present there with his human creation.”
We discover that, “the Gospel begins and ends, therefore, with the claim that in Jesus God is once again “with” his people, as he was in the garden of Eden and as he would be, according to Jeremiah and Ezekiel, in the time of Israel’s restoration,” and that “followers of Jesus live between these two great events, and so they continue to experience the hardships of life within a world that is in rebellion against its Creator at the same time that they bear witness to the inbreaking of God’s new creation.”
This tension is so evident in our world today. As we move between the hope and suffering of our day to day, we realize the absolute beauty of the gospel as God continues his work in the world. We carry with us a light in the darkness, the “invitation to everyone to be reconciled to God and to join this community of newly created humanity.”
Understanding the storyline of scripture is an important skill for believers to learn, as we seek to dig into the Word, interpret and apply these words of truth to our lives. Placing the verses into the context of the Bible’s story helps us to understand their meaning and work them into how we live and love.
I think this book is a valuable tool, and you should read it if you are looking for a short book to give you a sweeping view of the storyline of the Bible. It wasn’t one of my favourites, the writing wasn’t as relatable and personable as some of the others in this series have been, which has helped me to engage more with the teaching. I give it 3 stars!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of the Crossway Blog Review program, in exchange for an honest review.