The Big Picture

A key component of biblical literacy is a working knowledge of the Big Picture Story that the Bible tells.  Understanding where a text fits in its smaller and larger contexts, and where ideas and events fit along the timeline of biblical history, can keep us from reading into them interpretations that just don’t belong.  Unfortunately, since much Christian teaching tends to focus on one passage or story at a time with the primary goal of figuring out “how this text applies to our lives,” many of us never get the training we need to connect what we’re reading with the larger flow of biblical history and the literary context of the whole biblical canon.  Here are some resources to help sort out the details in a more chronologically faithful way.  While gaining fluency in the Big Picture is really a lifetime project, a few tools and helicopter tours can at least help us get a toehold!  (There will be more added soon, so check in again later when you’ve exhausted these supports!)

Biblical Timeline (pdf)  A chart of the major eras of biblical history, with a guide to which biblical books correspond with each time period.  If you’d like to project a timeline as a slide for a class you’re teaching, here’s a colorful JPEG that you can use:Timeline

Article:  Reading Between the Trees (pdf) Originally written for Modern Reformation Magazine, this article provides an overview of the Bible’s progressive revelation of God’s plan for redemption.

Bible Journal Post: Redemptive-Historical Reading   A handful of the questions we should be asking, and some preliminary steps you could take to begin to learn the Big Picture.

Redemptive-Historical Talks (approx. 30 mins. each):

“Beginning With Moses:  Jesus’ Story from Genesis to Revelation”  — MP3– (Oct. 2012, Women in the Word:  A Workshop)

“Connecting the Dots: Preaching the Big Picture in Acts 13” –MP3– (Oct. 2013, Women in the Word: A Workshop)

“God’s Blessing to the Nations:  Connecting the Dots in redemptive History” –MP3– (Oct. 2014, Women in the Word: A Workshop)

“Traces of the Christ:  An Introduction to Redemptive History” — AUDIO w/ SLIDES–(Oct. 2015, Women in the Word: A Workshop)


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