Contend Earnestly: What is the Bible's Theme?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What is the Bible's Theme?


When I preach, or teach, I have to always ask myself, "How does this passage reveal, more clearly, the overall theme of the Bible?" This is central when you are trying to understand Scripture. If we believe that the whole of the inspired Scripture is profitable (2 Tim 3:16,17), even Numbers, then we have to always put each passage into the overall context of the Bible.

As you do this, it will keep you closer to God's revealed word, and less likely to become full fledged heretic. Which, after I finish up with 10 Steps to Become a Legalist, I might start a series on 10 Steps to become a Full Fledged Heretic. Plus, I can be funny in that one a little more and less people will be offended. Because, no one believes they are a heretic, just the whack job down the street that licks the light pole at night while dressed in his bath robe.

What was I saying? Oh yes. Theme of the Bible.

Not only is this my first concern with my preaching and teaching, but it is also what I do when I teach someone how to study their Bible. You have to understand the central theme of the entirety of God's word to understand the small passages that are read and studied on a daily basis. Or, if you are emergent...the passages that you summarize while you sit in your circle, with no leader, candles blazing and people licking glue sticks as you have your conversation.

When you don't have a grasp of the overall theme of the Bible, your study of the Word will not be fluent, but choppy and can become where passages stand on their own, instead of how they were intended: a fluent story from beginning (Genesis) to end (Revelation).

So, as I teach and preach, this is the Trinitarian theme that I would put forth for us all to discuss:

God redeeming a sinful people, through Christ, by the Spirit, for His glory

This is what I would see as being the complete theme of the entire Bible. Some have said things, such as, "God redeeming people for his glory." But this leaves out both the Son and the Spirit. I want a Trinitarian theme, not just focused in on God the Father.

So, when I preach, this is what I ask, "How does this passage point me more clearly that God has redeemed a sinful people, through Christ, by the Spirit, for His glory?" I am not done with my study until this is answered.

And...I have failed if I did not get this across clearly and precisely when I go to the people to preach.

We must believe it when Christ said many times that the Scriptures speak of HIM and when he told those two disciples on the road to Emmaus:

And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!“Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
Luke 24:25-27


Preach the word dear preacher, and truly understand that before Paul said this, he told you specifically:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

2 comments:

Bob Hayton said...

Great post, Seth. Blessings to you.

Andy C said...

I like your definition, it has what I consider the two main points of the theme of the Bible: the glory of God and the redemption of a sinful people. I look at the Bible as all being about the glory of God. The redemption of sinners starts in Genesis 3 and ends in Revelation 20. So you have the redemption of a sinful people wrapped up in the glory of God.

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