What is the Story of the Bible?

The Bible is the best selling book in history. Portions of the ancient Scriptures have been translated into over 3400 different languages. Those who are Christians claim the Bible as their holy book and many of them commit to reading it throughout the year.
With all of the significance around the Bible, if you were asked what the Bible is all about, how would you answer? Some respond that it is a book of God’s laws. Others focus on the grace of God shown through Jesus Christ. Others like to merely look at it as a collection of ancient stories.
When you look at the Bible and try to pull together the major theme of it, I would suggest that the story of the Bible can be summed up in one word: Dwell. What we see throughout the Bible is God’s desire to dwell with His people.
First look at the introduction (Genesis 1-2) and the Conclusion (Revelation 21-22). A similar scenario emerges. What you would find is God dwelling in perfect unity on Earth with His people. What you would find in either scenario is a place with no pain, no difficulty and no death.
You may wonder, then, why are there so many pages in between those opening and closing chapters? In Genesis 3 we see the first man and woman sin against God and experience death: a separation from the God who loves them. This separation from God puts mankind into a state of wandering in the wilderness searching for the promised redeemer.
The rest of the Bible is God’s story of how he is working out a way to dwell with His people and His rescue mission to find a way to redeem His chosen people.
In the Old Testament we see God seeking to dwell with His people. First he gives instructions for a tabernacle (a mobile meeting place) to be constructed in which God will come down to dwell with His people. Eventually, when the Israelites settle into the promised land, a temple is built for God to dwell in. In both scenarios, when they are dedicated to God, His presence fills the place with a cloud of smoke.
In the New Testament we see God coming to His people. We just celebrated Christmas last week. In the Gospel of John that moment is described as “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” God again comes to dwell with His people. After Jesus is crucified and rose from the grave Christ ascends to heaven, but not before giving a promise that He will send His Spirit on those who believe.
At the time of Pentecost God’s Spirit drops on the gathering of believers and there is a thick cloud of smoke and tongues of fire resting on each of them. Later, the Apostle Paul describes that the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead now lives in us.
This is obviously a very brief walk through of the idea that God desires to dwell with His people. There are many more details and examples of how this all works out. At Cornerstone Church here in Marshalltown I’ll be walking through this concept over the next three Sundays in great detail. Week 1 will be an overview of the introduction and conclusion of the Bible. Week 2 will be an overview of the Old Testament. Week 3 will be an overview of the New Testament.
If you would like to learn more about the God’s Story as revealed through the Bible, then I would like to invite you to join us on Sunday mornings at 10am at the Old YMCA across from Hy-Vee. If coming in person isn’t an option, we always post our sermons on our website (www.cornerstonemtown.com) and wherever podcasts are found.
You do not have to be an expert at the Bible to begin to understand God’s Story. In a nutshell, God desires to dwell with mankind and will do anything to make that a possibility again. If you have grown up thinking that you have to follow a whole lot of rules to get close to God then I want you to hear clearly: God is pursuing you! God has bridged the gap between us and Him and has come on a rescue mission in order to dwell with His people for all eternity.
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