The Bible is the Word of God given to man that teaches man about God. The Word of God testifies to the Son of God and the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. Having been a Christian for the vast majority of my life, I know how easy it can be to treat the Bible just as some other book that I read once in awhile, and then put aside. Yet, the Bible is unlike other books in that it is the Word of God and as such is to be treated with respect and reverence. Not only is the Bible foundational for the Christian and the Church but it is a sure guide, sufficient in every way to teach us all about God and how majestic He is.
In their helpful new book Understanding The Big Picture of the Bible A Guide To Reading The Bible Well editors, Drs. Wayne Grudem, C. John Collins and Thomas R. Schreiner seek to help Christians answer the questions we all often ask, “How do I get more out of my Bible reading?, “What was going on during the Gap between the Old and New Testaments, and How do all the Books of the Bible fit together as a whole?” In addition to this, this book helps put readable easy to understand study aid at your fingertips with guidance some of today’s best evangelical scholars including C. John Collins, Thomas Schreiner, Gordon Wenham and Darrel Bock, who will help you to see the big-picture storyline of the Bible, understand the theology of the Old and New Testaments and read the different sections of the Scripture effectively.
Recent days have seen an increase in writing on biblical theology which is the concentration on the historical story line of the Bible that explains the various steps in the progressive outworking of God’s plan in redemptive history. The authors set forth the fact that “one unifying thread in the Bible is its divine authorship. Every book of the Bible is God’s Word. The events recorded in the Bible are there because God wanted them recorded, and he had them recorded with his people and their instruction in mind” (7).
This book has many features of it that are excellent but the part I appreciate the most is its structure. In part one, chapter one the authors set forth the theology of the Old Testament, then in chapter two introduce to Pentateuch. Chapter three provides an introduction to the historical books, while chapter four gives an introduction to the poetic and wisdom literature. The final part of part one introduces the prophetic books. Part two gives the background to the New Testament tackling the time between the Testaments, the Roman Empire and the Greco-Roman world at the time of the New Testament, and Jewish Groups at the time of the New Testament. Part three tackles the New Testament with a theology of the New Testament, reading the Gospels, Acts, Epistles and Revelation. The book concludes with an examination of the Old Testament time line, intertestamental events time line and New Testament time line.
Understanding The Big Picture of the Bible succeeds in its goal of helping Christians understand the Bible by focusing not just on the text of Scripture itself (which it does very well) but also in providing a guide to help Christians study the Bible better. I know in my own Christian walk I at times have struggled to read and study my Bible. Books such as Understanding The Big Picture of the Bible have helped me during such times to understand not just the importance of reading the Bible as I minister to others, but also for my own spiritual growth. Understanding the storyline of Scripture is important because it helps Christians to grow in understanding of how Jesus is at the center piece of all Scripture.
Whether you’re a new or mature Christian, Understanding The Big Picture of the Bible has something for you—whether its understanding how to read the whole Bible or understanding more of the central themes of each section of Scripture, this book will help your reading and study of Scripture. By combining essays from experts in their respected fields in Scripture, this book provides a general overview of the Bible that will serve as a tool for more specific reference and training all the while helping its readers grow in one’s understanding of Scripture and your ability to apply the Bible to all of life.
Author: Editors Wayne Grudem C. John Collins and Thomas R. Schreiner
Publisher: Crossway (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.