Tracing the story-line of the Bible
Friday 17 November 2017 by Luke West
With so many different parts of the Bible, it can sometimes be difficult to see how what you're reading fits in with everything else. God's Big Picture is a book that helps us see how each part of the Bible fits in to the big picture. What is the big picture? It's a picture of the Kingdom of God.
There is a big story throughout the bible and every book within it is part of that story. It's a story about the Kingdom of God and by understanding the overarching story we can understand more of each individual story and see how it relates to Jesus Christ (as we generally know it should somehow).
Building on the work of Graeme Goldsworthy1, Vaughan shows that the Kingdom of God is "God's people, in God's place, under God's rule and blessing." The Bible teaches us about what the Kingdom is and how it will be brought about in a story that progress through history. Vaughan has 8 sections (all conveniently titled with a word beginning with 'P') from the Pattern of the Kingdom being established in creation to it being Perfected in the future when Christ returns. Along the way we see how the Kingdom Perished, was Promised and Partial(ly) fulfilled in the nation of Israel, was Prophesied before being Present in Jesus Christ and is now Proclaimed to the whole world.
This is all explained through exploration of passages of the Bible and clearly presented with helpful tables and diagrams. There is a diagram (or picture!) that builds up throughout the book that is very helpful for remembering previous sections and seeing how they all fit together into one big picture!
God's Big Picture is clearly laid out and, though not short, is easy to read with nicely sized chapters. I felt like I'd learnt something significant from each chapter as I went through, and having understood a part of the Bible better after each chapter I wanted to read on so that I could understand more.
God's Big Picture is a very helpful book for seeing where we fit in to the story today as well as how each part of the Bible fits into that story. I would recommend it to anyone who sometimes struggles to see this and wants to understand the main storyline of the whole Bible more.
1 Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom (Exeter: Paternoster, 1981)