The central message of the Bible is the story of salvation. It’s a story of God’s steadfast love for the people He created and His desire to fellowship with them. God revealed this plan of salvation to the world through 40 different authors from different walks of life over different periods of time. Yet, they all proclaimed the same message- a message of God’s love for his people and creation. The message of God’s redemption for mankind through Christ!
Have you ever tried putting a jigsaw puzzle together? Some give up without attempting to, and some leave half way through. But once you start putting it together, the complete and beautiful picture begins to emerge. If even one piece is missing, the puzzle will be incomplete. Similarly, if we start with the New Testament without some understanding of the Old Testament, we end up confused or we get a very different picture of God, such as God in the Old Testament being harsh and vindictive while the God of the New Testament is loving and forgiving…
The Bible begins with creation and ends with the new creation of heaven and earth. If we miss any one link in the storyline, we miss the complete picture. For example, if I miss the story of the fall, I will not understand the significance of creation and the judgment. Therefore, the Bible has to be read as a narrative/story to understand God’s overall plan and purposes for mankind for His glory! And God is working out his plan and purposes to create a habitation for God and man to dwell together.
It is only when we truly grasp the cohesive message of the Bible, that we see Christ in every book, and in every story, and we see God as the unchanging I am, with Christ shown either as a type (foreshadowed) or in a prophesy that is fulfilled during the progressive revelation of God. The Bible must be treated as a whole, beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelation, with promise and fulfilment of the promise being the link between the Old and New testaments.
As you embark on this new journey of reading the Bible for all its worth, I hope that it will be an enriching learning experience as you discover the vastness of God’s steadfast love for his creation and enjoy your walk with the Lord in the present with the anticipation of looking forward to dwelling with the Lord forever where He reigns in righteousness and justice.