I love a good storyline. For example, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote an excellent storyline when he penned the volumes of The Lord of the Rings Series. The story led the reader through the ups and downs of Middle Earth, The epic story of a group of misfits setting off on a journey which would change their lives forever. The movies brought this storyline to the big screen and left the audience on the edge of their seats, I know because I was one of them. The movies brought together a plot meant to showcase the epic friendships and intense battles penned by Tolkien and they did not disappoint. I can probably name off the plot to a ton of my favorite movies, and even some of the books I’ve read but do I know the general narrative of the bible. Do many Christians know that?
The average Christian probably doesn’t know the general storyline of the biblical narrative. If you got a big enough group together chances are they can put together some good ideas of the ebb and flow of the bible but the need for Christians to get back to a foundational knowledge of the bible is needed now more than ever. From my experience some who preach about the glorious grace of God want to begin with some aspect of theology that has no place outside the biblical narrative. If we begin with the incarnation and fail to mention the back story many will set the incarnation as their foundation and build from there, I’m not saying the incarnation is a bad place to start but It isn’t the beginning of the story. We must go all the way back to a God who in eternity past, in eternal communion with the Son and the Holy Spirit created a vast world in six days.
Using something as simple as a table of contents, James Nicodem begins to unfold the storyline of the most purchased book in the history of man. Epic: The Storyline of the Bible, shows the way we should go when we want to learn the basic message of what the bible tells us from the opening pages of Genesis to the closing of scripture in the book of Revelation.
Nicodem claims that the major story of the bible is that of redemption. From the beginning we see this idea unfold through the entirety of the bible. From redemption prompted then prepared, prophesied, purchased, proclaimed and ending with perfected, we see this idea of redemption bloom from words on every page of the bible. Many Christians in church only see the idea of redemption unfold in the form of a GPS coordinate. We can see the general outline of the next few streets but we can’t connect the whole picture to the point at which we are at now.
This book is all about fitting together the pieces, and Nicodem does a marvelous job doing that in a short amount of space. Nicodem answers the questions many will have about how the two testaments fit together, How does the crushing of the serpent’s head in the garden of eve fit together with Jesus on the cross? Do they fit together? Does it matter? Is the Old Testament just a record of the law of God and showing how the people had to obey it or else? Doesn’t the bible just teach me how to be a good person? It’s questions like these many struggle with and Nicodem points out the answer by guiding us through the redemptive narrative offered to us in the bible.
Nicodem inserts questions for discussion at the end of each chapter in order to facilitate an application of the text just read. I found them helpful in order to reorient my mind and bring it back from the center of heavy and thick theological texts. It’s very helpful to have a refreshing of the overall story and to see the forest from the trees. Once you are lost deep in the endless trails of theology it’s hard to know where in the forest you are. Nicodem brings us back to the trail head and shows us the map of the forest in order that we may navigate the trails with wisdom.
Epic: The Storyline of the Bible is the first in a set of 4 from the Bible Savvy Series. You can check out the whole series by going to the Bible Savvy Website. http://www.biblesavvy.com/bible-savvy-set/
Other Books In the Series: