“Once Upon a Time . . .” the big idea of the Bible's story

The Bible is a story, a romance between a heroic God and his lost love. He longs to be with her and will do anything to win her back.

More and more people are starting to think and talk about the Bible as a story, or an account (to distinguish it from fiction). My favorite example is The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. She says:Jesus Storybook Bible Sally Lloyd Joines Quote

But if the Bible is a story, what is the theme of the story? What motivates the hero? What is his goal? I think the story itself makes this simple and clear: God wants to be with us. He wants to be in a loving relationship with us. He wants to live with us forever.

The Good News about Jesus is the heart of the Bible’s story:

The story begins with God’s creation of a perfect world and a perfect humanity in which Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with God, with each other, and with creation. But that changed. They gave in to temptation and fell into sin, which ruined all those perfect relationships and led them down a path of certain death.

But God loved the people he had created and did not want them to be eternally separated from him. So he devised a rescue plan. Jesus, who is God the Son, became a man, lived a perfect, sinless life, and then died for the sins of others, so that they would not have to die for their own sins. He rose to life, victorious over sin and death. Anyone who calls on him and puts their trust (faith) in Him is rescued, made new, and brought into a loving relationship with God that lasts for eternity.

The motivation behind this rescue is God’s desire to dwell with us. God wants to be our God, he wants us to be his people, and he wants to dwell with us, both now and in eternity. This theme appears everywhere, but I’ll limit myself to four places:

Near the beginning of the Old Testament: Leviticus 26:11-12 I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. 12And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.

Near the end of the Old Testament: Ezekiel 37:27 My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Near the beginning of the New Testament: John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Near the end of the New Testament: Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

The Bible is a story, and the big idea that motivates the hero of that story is his deep, unstoppable desire to rescue us and be with us. I want this truth to come through in my fiction and my life.


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