What is the one unified story woven throughout all the books of the Bible? Watch and explore what it's about in this short overview of the main storyline.
Jon: The Bible’s an important book, but it’s really long.
Tim: Yeah. It’s a collection of many books written over a long period of time. But all together they tell one unified story.
Jon: So what’s the story of the Bible?
Tim: Well it begins by introducing us to a beautiful mind, the author of all reality, a being called God. And he has the power to take the dark chaos of the uncreated world and bring about order and beauty and a garden full of life.
Jon: And to crown this accomplishment, God appoints these creatures called humanity.
Tim: Or in Hebrew, adam.
Jon: And they’re made as God’s image,
Tim: which means that they’re commissioned to rule this beautiful world on God’s behalf by harnessing all of its potential and creating even more beauty and order.
Jon: This is a story about humans using their power to do meaningful, life-giving work. But the question is how?
Tim: Yeah. Humanity now faces a choice that’s represented by a fruit tree. So humans could partner with God and find freedom by trusting in his knowledge of good and evil.
Tim: They could seize power and define good and evil on their own, which God warns will kill them.
Jon: And they hear the voice of a dark, mysterious creature that tells them the choice is simple––take the fruit. It will give you power and freedom to rule the world on your own terms.
Tim: And so they seize this knowledge, and as a result, they become suspicious and self-protective. It leads to fractured relationships, violent power grabs, and ultimately a whole civilization, Babylon, that has redefined evil as good. And so God scatters this corrupted human project.
Jon: And here the story of the Bible takes an important turn. We zoom into the story of a man and a woman who come out of Babylon, Abraham and Sarah.
Tim: Yeah. God promises that from them will come a new people, a nation that has another chance to make the right choice. And if they succeed, it will open up this new way forward for the rest of humanity.
Jon: And this is why the rest of the Bible’s story is about this family.
Tim: And it does not go well. Despite God’s personal guidance, Abraham’s family gives in to that same temptation to redefine good and evil on their own terms apart from God.
Jon: Even when their best people were in charge, rulers who loved God’s guidance and had divine wisdom, even they gave in.
Tim: And so Israel was warned by their own prophets that these choices would lead them back to Babylon, this time as conquered captives living in exile. And that’s exactly what happened.
Jon: So even with God’s personal guidance, Israel fails. Who can succeed?
Tim: Well the prophets said that the story wasn’t over. God’s going to send a new leader to Israel to cover for their failures and to transform the people’s hearts and minds so that they can make the right choice.
Jon: And so the part of the Bible called the Old Testament ends, and these promises are left hanging.
Tim: And then the biblical story continues into the New Testament. We’re introduced to a man who comes from the line of Israel’s kings, Jesus of Nazareth. And he said that he was bringing all these promises to their completion.
Jon: He confronted that dark, mysterious evil that all humanity has given into and resisted its power.
Tim: And then he announced that God had arrived to rule the world through himself. Jesus taught about God’s definition of good and evil, and he said that real power is serving others. According to Jesus, it’s people who love the poor and even love their enemies, these are the kinds of people who actually rule the world.
Jon: That’s confusing but also really beautiful.
Tim: And so is the claim this story goes on to make about Jesus: That he is God become human, to be for Israel and for all humanity what we could never be for ourselves. He came to take the consequences of our evil into himself, and his sacrificial love proved more powerful than evil, than even death itself.
Jon: So now humanity’s presented with a new choice.
Tim: Represented by a new tree.
Jon: Stick with the old way of being human or venture into this new way.
Tim: And in the story, those who choose the way of Jesus find themselves energized by God’s own power. People who know that they are loved and forgiven by God can become people who love and forgive others in return.
Jon: The Jesus movement quickly spread throughout the world, forming these new communities of people who follow the way of Jesus.
Tim: But they faced problems. There was persecution from the outside by people in power, and inside, there was confusion, even compromise.
Jon: Yeah because following Jesus is really hard.
Tim: And so the movement’s leaders, called apostles, they wrote letters to comfort and to challenge these communities to stay faithful to the difficult way of Jesus.
Jon: And they’re called to hope for the day when Jesus will come and change everything.
Tim: And so the Bible ends by pointing to the future day when all wrongs are made right, when evil is eradicated, Heaven and Earth are united, and humanity can rule the world together in the love and power of God.
Jon: Okay, so that’s the story of the Bible. And it brings all of these books together.
Tim: But what’s interesting is that each book contains a different kind of literature that contributes to the story in a unique way. And that’s what the next video will begin to explore.