Most of us would like to know more about the Bible. We share the experience of hearing a scripture read or a sermon preached, and wishing we knew more about the context. Perhaps we wonder: What difference does it make that a verse comes from Galatians or that it comes from Ecclesiastes? How do I know if a scripture is supposed to be history, or poetry, or a letter? How have I been going to church much of my life but can’t answer these questions? The Understanding the Bible series is here to help.
In Week One (June 26), we will look at a theme that is woven through the whole fabric of the Bible. It is a simple, four-fold cycle: Creation, Covenant, Brokenness, New Creation. This theme begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation and repeats again and again throughout the Bible. Once this theme makes sense, other mysteries of the Bible begin to come into focus.
Week Two (July 5) explores the most important story for understanding the Bible—the Covenant given on Mount Sinai in the Book of Exodus. Though Exodus is the second book of the Bible, these are the oldest scriptures we have. Everything else in the Bible is either preamble to the Exodus story, or follows from it.
Week Three (July 17) steps back to the Book of Genesis. We will look at the narratives of Creation and the early Matriarchs and Patriarchs and see how they prepare the Bible reader for the Covenant on Mount Sinai.
Week Four (August 7) looks at what happens in much of those hundreds of pages in the Old Testament that come after Genesis and Exodus: the Law and the Prophets. We will learn about the history of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and how God’s people responded to the Covenant that was made back in Exodus.
Week Five (August 14) will explore what is known as wisdom literature: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. These texts, which are more poetry than history, show that life doesn’t always go according to plan, and give expression to the places where the Covenant cycle seems to fall apart.
In Week Six (August 21) we enter the New Testament and will talk about the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) plus the Book of Acts (which is a continuation of the Gospel of Luke). These are the stories of the life of Jesus and we will look at them in the same context of Creation, Covenant, Brokenness, and New Creation.
Week Seven (August 28) will study the New Testament Letters and the Book of Revelation, as we see how the church lives in a world of brokenness, and hopes for a restoration of God’s first creation back in Genesis 1.
*While the sermons will not be given on seven consecutive weeks, they will be collected in a single series on the Knox website and will be published as a podcast.