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The story of the Bible, summarised in 6 key themes!

The Bible is one big book made of little books, but does it tell a coherent story? This short overview summarises the narrative arc of the Bible’s plot, highlighting six beats in the story in ways that relate to you. 


Wondering why you’re here or where your story really begins? Every culture has had its own way of making sense of where we came from and how we got here. Thousands and thousands of years ago one such culture hit on something important: humans weren't an accident and they really matter. In fact, creation is depicted in a beautiful poem that celebrates the material world and reaches its crescendo with the creation of humans. Made on purpose, with purpose.


Why among the beauty, is life sometimes just so rubbish? Some religions say we’re reincarnated and any trouble we experience is payback from how we lived in a previous life. Some people say the root of the problem is the economic and political structures bringing out the worst in us. The Bible tells us a story about a promise, a restriction, a snake and an apple. It shows that the truth, when distorted, and fear, when acted upon, displaced people’s trust in God. They decided they knew better. And that’s when it all started to go wrong. 


What do you most love about your culture? Your country? Feasts and festivals, poetry and songs, laws and stories all make up the Old Testament as God worked with at set of people to show the others how to really live. But it wasn’t perfect. Time after time God sent prophets to remind them of their calling. The cycle continued, but amid the painful consequences, the words carry whispers of a different future, where a coming saviour makes things right.


Jesus Christ! Do your associations centre around your favourite swear word, your favourite artwork or your favourite cultural festival? Jesus lives on in our cultural awareness because of his extraordinary life, death and — some believe — his resurrection. In fact, the Bible says, it was God himself, come to show what human life was really meant to be like. Who else could defy death but the one who created life itself? In Jesus’ life, death and resurrection he not only set an example of how to live but restored the relationship between people and their creator. And not only that — between each other and the planet too, restoring all that was lost. This pivotal moment in the Bible is told from four different perspectives in books we call the Gospels, a word which simply means Good news.


If you thought a man had risen from the dead, you’d be paying attention, right? Starting with a small group and spreading outwards, people saw how Jesus looked like the promised one from the days of old, but realised that this restoration was for the whole of creation. And so they gave up everything they were used to (and sometimes everything they owned) to live as a new community where miracles happened, the poor were as valued as the rich, and relationship with God was enjoyed. It was open to all, so they sent out invitations.  

Since Jesus’ first followers gathered, the Church has grown, got organised and in some places ruled. In other places it’s shrunk, been persecuted or even fallen out with itself. But it’s never died. Around the world today people gather to remember and relate to Jesus, inviting him to change their lives, their priorities, and how they see the world. They sometimes still send out invitations. 


The biblical story doesn’t end there with the birth of the Church. Drawn in colourful, dramatic imagery, one book casts its eyes to the future and reveals how things will wrap up, where good wins out over the bad. What would your ideal world include? What wouldn’t it include? A world without tears? A world in harmony where people from all places get on? The book of Revelation ends by describing a place where there’s really no death, no tears, no conflict. All the disrupted connections between people, planet, are healed. Now there’s a hope.

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