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Understanding God

If a friend came up to you and said, “I have two spare hours this Saturday and I want to understand God and the Bible. What should I read?”

What would you tell her to read? Where would you send her in the Bible? In what order would you have her read? And what brief summary would you give her about each of those texts? Here is what Graham Cole suggests (from this article):

He suggests that one should start at the start and then jump to the end and then go from there. . .

Genesis 1-3

Introduces God as Creator, creation, humanity in the divine image, the Fall, and the foundational promise concerning the defeat of evil.

Revelation 21-22

Takes us to the end of the story. Here we read of the new heavens and the new earth, the restoration of creation, and the absence of evil.

Genesis 12:1-3

The unfolding story in between the beginning and the end – God’s call to Abraham.

Exodus 1-3

How God rescues Abraham and his descendents, and how God identifies himself to Moses, one of those descendants, by name as the “great I am who I am.”

Isaiah 52:12-53:12

God shows himself by his deeds to be the God who both saves and judges – the highpoint of the Old Testament – and the promise of someone to come. This someone would put things right, but at a great personal cost. That person is Jesus.

John 1-3

We learn about of the Word who is God the Son and the Messiah of Israel. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We also learn of how God’s love for the world led to the gift of the Son’s coming and his cross.

John 11-12

Here we see Jesus breaking death’s hold over his friend Lazarus and the necessity for Christ’s sacrifice. Unless the seed dies, there is no fruit.

John 18-20

These chapters narrate how Jesus the Lamb of God bears away the sins of the world and overcomes death.

Romans 1-3

A sweeping and sobering picture of the human predicament and the divine response.

Romans 4-5

Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are the divine answer to the human predicament and that answer is accessed by a faith like that of Abraham’s.

Romans 8

Finally, here is a unique passage. Matter has a future in God’s plans. Creation will be set free from its bondage to decay to become the context for the revealing of God’s glorious children. Those who belong to Christ experience no condemnation from God and will experience no separation from the love of Christ.

Would you add anything?

Categories: Andrew's Blogs, Evangelism
  1. February 24, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    I like this list! Good mental exercise.

  2. Brian McLaughlin
    February 24, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Tough question. Truly understanding and developing a Christian worldview is a work of the Spirit over a lifetime, so I wouldn’t try to accomplish everything in 2 hours. Therefore, I think I’d point her to read and meditate on Ephesians. Theological, practical, Christ-centered, relatively straight-forward, easy to cover in 2 hours.

  3. jlemke
    February 24, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I’ve been thinking more about the metanarrative as God desiring to dwell with man, but man rebelling. Thus, right now, I’d probably try looking at Genesis 1-3 (God dwells with man, man rebels); the tabernacle in Exodus; the temple; the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ; and finish with Revelation 21-22 when God dwells with man again. No too far from what Cole does, but focusing on God’s relationship with man.

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