Stories are powerful and life-transforming. In 2012, Americans spent a little over $10 billion year at the movie theater. Being a movie lover, this statistic didn’t surprise me one bit. People are enthralled with stories that transport them outside of their lives for a few hours and help them to cope with the stress of everyday life. Yet there is a larger reason why stories are so attractive. It is because we were created to be part of a larger story, namely God’s story of redemption. Man’s attraction to movies, art and other forms of entertainment all point to our desire to fit within a larger plot, one full of history, forward movement and future ideals. In his new book The Big Story: How the Bible Makes Sense Out of Life, Justin Buzzard writes to help answer the question, “What sort of story are you in?”
At first, the question asked by Buzzard may appear unimportant, yet I believe it is vitally important. Many people believe false stories that leave them sadly disillusioned, enslaved, and hopeless. Secular stories of chasing fame and fortune, and religious stories of doing good works leave us feeling exhausted and empty. Only Christianity offers a story that’s big enough to make sense of both the beauty and brokenness in our lives as well as the world as a whole.
Buzzard rightly begins his book with a discussion of the hero of God’s story, Jesus Christ. From there, Buzzard explores in five acts God, creation, rebellion, rescue, home and life. The appendix focuses on how to retell other people’s stories within the framework of the big story.
Over the past several years, there has been an increase of books aimed at helping people understand the biblical storyline. While the vast majority of books in this genre are academic in nature, there has also been an upsurge in books aimed at helping the layman understand biblical theology. The contribution of The Big Story to this discussion is in its overall design and focus. The Big Story is designed to connect with all types of people, those with a long history with God and those new to thinking about what life with God actually means. By using language and analogies that resonate with a diverse group of readers, the author accomplishes his goal of helping the reader understand not only what the big story of God’s redemptive plan is as outlined in Scripture, but also how to share that story with others.
The Big Story would be good to hand out to skeptics and those desiring to learn the storyline of the Bible. Additionally, Buzzard’s effort would also be good for the new Christian who is just beginning to read the Bible. Regardless of how this book is used, the stories in it are powerful focusing on the reality there is no greater story than the Story, that of God’s redeeming and reconciling a people to Himself through the person and finished work of Jesus Christ. I recommend you pick up a copy of Buzzard’s The Big Story as you will be reminded there is a greater Story and that story is God and in His redemptive plan to seek, save, sanctify, and equip a people for His own possession and glory.
Author: Justin Buzzard
Publisher: Moody (2013)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Moody blogger 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.”