A History of the World Through the Scriptures
From Creation to the End of Days, the Scriptures give a remarkable picture of God’s activity throughout the history of humanity. Discover the overarching story of the Bible and your part in God’s story. Filled with history, poetry, songs, prophecies, and letters, the Scriptures reveal God’s character.
Like a love letter, the Bible is designed to connect us to the One who created us and loves us.
- John 1
- Matthew 5-7
- Acts 2
- Romans 8
- See “Who Is Jesus? Insights from Jesus’ Best Friend”
- See “Catalytic Leadership of Paul (Romans)”
The Bible Project:
Gateway Church Austin
In the Old Testament, God revealed Himself to humanity. In the New Testament God becomes human.
In the Beginning
God revealed as Father, Son, and Spirit from the beginning.
John 1:1-4, 14, 17-18
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind…. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth….
17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”
“13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation….”
Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
The Promised Messiah
Around 430 years before the time of Christ, the prophet Malachi says the Messiah (the Annointed One who brings a covenant) will come to His temple.
“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 3:1, 430B.C.
Josephus, the Jewish Historian explains that the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple completely in 70 A.D.. It has never been rebuilt even to this day. According to this last prophecy from the Old Testament, the Messiah would come sometime between 430 B.C. and 70 A.D.
The prophecy gets even more specific than that.
The story of the Old Testament includes the story of God’s chosen people. God set a part His people for a specific purpose – to preserve record of all He would do for the sake of all the nations through the Messiah.
All the way back in Genesis, nearly 2000 years before Christ, Jacob declares this prophecy about his son Judah:
“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.” Genesis 49:10 (1500-2000 B.C.)
For 2000 years before Christ, the Jewish people understood this to be a prophecy about the Messiah. The scepter, like a King’s Staff, stands for authority or Kingly Rulership.
The Messiah became the Judge, Priest, Prophet, and King.
Those who follow Jesus become the Body of Christ, the “priesthood of all believers,” with the gift of prophecy, and children of the King.
The Messiah and His Kingdom
The Gospels were written by eyewitnesses to different audiences with different styles.
They shared about how Jesus lived a perfect life, performed miraculous deeds, taught with authority, willingly died on the cross, and rose from the dead.
“17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
According to Dr. Michael Goheen:
Central Events of the Biblical Story: Renewing a People for their Missional Calling
- Crucifixion: Victory of sin and the end of the old age
- Resurrection: Inauguration of the new age
- Ascension: Introduction of the Spirit
Three Marks of the Church (Acts 2:42-47)
- Devotion to apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer: celebrating and nourishing Kingdom life (vs. 42)
- Life of Kingdom manifested: Attractive good news people
Lord adds to their number
Church as Missionary Community: Nearby and Far Away
- Pattern in Antioch (Acts 11, 13) is same as three marks of the Jerusalem Church with one addition
- Sent Paul and Barnabas to establish witnessing communities where there was none (Acts 13:1-3)
Mode of Witness in Acts (Roland Allen’s Spontaneous Expansion of the Church)
- Attractive Life of the Community
- Spontaneous evangelism by common members of the church
- Planting new churches
The Kingdom of Jesus Advancing
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Jesus
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
1 Corinthians 4:20
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
“17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Notice the ways Paul sensed the moving of God’s Spirit:
- Miraculous methods of guidance
- Performing miracles
- Discovering receptivity and accepting suffering
- Pursuing God and His righteousness
- Reaching out to others and empowering others
The Early Church
- Persecution was needed for the church to advance through the message of those who were following Christ (rather than the apostles).
- Saul came to Christ in a miraculous way, but he seemed to focus more on the message than the miracles.
- Luke and Paul wrote half of the New Testament even though they weren’t part of the 12 disciples (a reminder to us that you don’t have to be one of the 12 disciples to make a significant impact).
- Paul was invested in by Ananias and Barnabas and the apostles.
- Paul trusted and submitted himself to his leaders.
- Paul invested in others as he was on mission (“on-the-go mentoring”)
- Paul advanced the church further than anyone at that time in history, but he was not alone.
- Paul was not a superhero nor a great speaker, but he was fully surrendered to Christ.
- The early church worked through conflict in the context of a trusting community.
Interpreting the Epistles
Enlightened common sense so apply what you can to our situation.
Basic rule – a text cannot mean what it never could have meant to its author or his or her readers.
Second rule – whenever we share particulars (specific life situations) with the first-century setting, God’s Word to us is the same as his Word to them.
- Who have been the people pointing you towards God? In what ways have they helped you in your journey or hindered your journey?
- Have you ever looked at the life of Jesus? If so, what about his life and message has helped you? What has confused you? What questions do you have that would help you determine whether to follow Him?
- If you follow Jesus, what helped you make that decision?
- If you follow Jesus, how has He continued to help you grow spiritually? How has your relationship with Jesus affected how you treat others?
- In what ways do you need to allow God’s Spirit to renew you and transform you?
- What is your mission field?
- How does God want to use you to advance His Kingdom?