What's the Bible's BIG PICTURE?

Encouragement for Your Heart and Mind from Pastor David Staff

The Christian Bible is a small library.  On its shelves are 66 “books,” 39 written before Jesus was born; 27 written after his life, death, resurrection, and ascension.  The Old Testament books were written in the ancient Hebrew language (with the exception of Daniel, written in Aramaic), while the New Testament books were written in 1st century “koine” (or common) Greek.   Written by over 40 different human authors, though with One Divine Author (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16).

There are some 31,102 verses in the Bible found in 1,189 chapters (23,145 verses in the Old Testament; 7952 verses in the New Testament), on average 26 verses per chapter.

Interestingly, Psalm 103:1-2 are the verses exactly in the middle of the library.  These at the heart of the Bible display David’s heart:
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits.
These books, chapters, and verses found in 66 books were written over a period of 1,500 years, from as early as 1450 B.C., to as late as AD 90.

The parts of the Bible composed over centuries, by authors who lived in different eras and different places – some writing narrative, some poetry and songs, a few writing biographies while others composing letters – is it possible that there is one “big picture” idea that unites all the volumes?  

Some years back, the great missionary statesman and pastor Stanley Ellison wrote an important article in the missions volume entitled Perspectives.  His piece tackled the question of a unifying idea for everything found from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21.  He titled it “EVERYONE’S QUESTION:  What is God Trying To Do?”

Dr. Ellison’s article is brilliantly helpful because in it he distills all the thousands of truths in the Bible’s library,  pointing to one overarching, synthesizing idea.  It’s an idea that helps us see what God has purposefully been about in our world since the opening chapters of Genesis.  Building on Ellison’s insights, here is the BIG IDEA of the Bible:
The one true God,
who created all things and who permitted freely chosen rebellion,
is reclaiming through Christ His rule
redeeming through Christ believing men.
In other words, all of the 66 books and 31,000+ verses are ultimately communicating this message.  There is one true God who is in the process – through His plan – of reclaiming His rule and redeeming people through the Lord Jesus Christ.  And, of course, the last book of the Bible, assures us that God will completely fulfill what He set out to do.


New Year’s Day 2023 is Sunday.  We will begin our 2023 gathered worship year in Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible (176 verses), 22 stanzas each of 8 verses, all of which extol the unique treasure and value of the Bible.  It is the one small library, breathed out to us by the one true God, which tells us our need, and what a loving seeking God has done to reclaim and redeem us.
Should you be in town, join us for pancakes at 9:00 AM, and worship at 10:00 AM.   Out of town?  Tune in our live-streamed service at www.efreechurch.org.  Let’s begin the year together saying to the God who sought us and saved us.
“Open our eyes, that we may behold,
wondrous things out of your law.
We are sojourners on earth;
Hide not your commandments from us!”
Psalm 119:17-18
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