A Bible Study that Reads Like a Novel, Unfolding the Plot of the Bible
Foresight: Unfolding the plot of the Bible is a developing narrative portraying the Bible’s plot to save the lost and conquer “the world.” (“The world” is a term Jesus used to identify the system that tries to operate apart from God.) This world is not the cosmos, or the earth, of course, but it involves many earthly kingdoms. These kingdoms are determined to lean on their own understand and operate in the power of their own arms of flesh.
Satan appeals to the egos of proud kings and world administrators. He does this to convince them they should eat of their own tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yes, he gets these leaders and despots to “lean on their own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5) to determine what is good and bad for them and their subjects. All the while the ole devil is the one doing the thinking for them as he did for Eve in the Garden. Therefore their “own understanding” is the devil’s ideas, of how to keep them from trusting in God’s revelation. Satan doesn’t want people to discover the life which is truly good for them and keeps them from what is bad for them.
This tactic of the evil one works just as well on the factory worker, the farmer, the engineer, and the school teacher. It works quite well on the college professor and the false-prophet preacher. And of course, the more such people are in position to influence others, the harder Satan works to make his thoughts their understanding. All unregenerate people operate pretty much on the same pride as the desperate despot-ruler. Self sits on the throne of their lives. The little one cries and screams and stomps his foot when he doesn’t get his way. The adult schemes and demands and quietly plots to undermine the one who opposes him.
Foresight: Unfolding the Plot of the Bible shows that this self-centeredness perverts natural appetites and cravings into lusts for gratification in evil ways. People with these lusts occupy themselves with pleasuring their senses. They are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God as Paul writes to Timothy in the Bible (see 2 Timothy 3:4). People’s sensual lusts are often gratified in various forms of fornication. But not all sensualism is expressed in immoral sexual ways. Preoccupation with pleasuring the five senses finds expression in greedy obsession to own what money can buy. It finds hope in earthly, temporal things rather than in heavenly, eternal values. As the pleasure-seeking obsession grows it demands even more leaning on God-rejecting human understanding to find avenues to pleasure. This produces a whole array of secular humanistic philosophies, all for the purpose of finding legitimacy for doing what feels good, including what exalts self.
In the Old Testament God began laying the foundation to inaugurate his kingdom on earth for the purpose of changing hearts. This included preparing people to understand that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22). This was pictured in the animal sacrifices which could not take away sins but could point to the precious blood that would one day fully atone for sin. Then with the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross, God’s kingdom was inaugurated. The stage was set for God’s kingdom to begin to rule through the hearts of people as they were saved by faith. This would allow God to pour out his love in their hearts by the Holy Spirit and enable them to live in the hope of God’s promises. God would rule through this , faith, love, and hope. And under these conditions people would live in the overflowing joy of the Lord instead of just living to pleasure the senses.
In unfolding the plot of the Bible, this book paraphrases Bible accounts and creates episodes in the angelic and demonic worlds and the lives of Bible characters. It also cites extensive quotes from Scripture. This makes the study read like a novel to interestingly portray the agenda and dynamics of God’s kingdom working to save the lost and conquer the kingdom of the world. The reader will discover many threads running through the Bible which develop this plot and the following questions will be answered:
Why did Jesus have to die to save us?
How are Christ’s atonement and the salvation it provides foreshadowed in the Old Testament?
What are twelve ways Jesus fulfilled this foreshadowing?
How can you know you have been born into the family of God?
Is there more to being a Christian that just having our sins forgiven so we can go to heaven?
What does praying, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven” involve?
What parts do faith, hope, and love play in Christian life and God’s kingdom operation?
Does satan have perverted forms of faith, hope, and love through which he offers his way of life to advance his cause?