I am hereby dubbing 2010 as the “Year of the Big Picture” as I have read three thick books seeking to tell the grand story of the Bible.
The first one was “The Mission of God” by Christopher Wright and was read in the neonatal intensive care unit while cradling my newborn son. (sadly, I have not gotten around to writing a review of this book even though it was the best one of the three – that and it is the only book I’ve read that actually made me WANT to go back and read Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy!!!).
Months later I read Daniel Fuller’s book “The Unity of the Bible” – which proved to be less about the unity of the Bible and more about a Calvinist approach to theology.
The last overarching book was written in a totally different manner then the other two and is the subject of this post. As you probably guessed by the image on the right, the book in question is “God’s EPIC Adventure” by Winn Griffin.
Written more as a text book with wide margins, side notes and study questions, “God’s EPIC Adventure” seeks to challenge the fragmentation of the biblical story in modern society by teaching the church to understand what “her story is and how to become the people of God living as his recreated humanity”.
To do this, Winn Griffin starts off by discussing the presumptions held by the modern church as well as his own presumptions (Griffin is a Kingdom Theologian with two D.Mins with deep roots in the Vineyard Movement). From there he stresses the importance of understanding the culture and reason why a particular book of the Bible was written.
For example, when studying the book of Genesis it is extremely important to understand that the book was ‘written’ by Moses during the Israelites 40 year journey through the wilderness. The culture around the Israelites during that time was a polytheistic culture which attributed the works of nature to multiple gods. The creation narrative of Genesis, therefore, is less of a scientific treaty about how the world came into being and more of an attack against the gods of the land (i.e. it would have taught the Israelites that their God was ruler of everything in nature as Him made everything).
In keeping with the scope of the project, Griffin walks the reader through the five acts (listed below) of the Bible fairly quickly – giving simple overviews of each of the book of the Bible within their historical context. This is one of the most valuable jewels of this book as most Bible’s list the books according the genres, making it easy to forget the time period in which a book was written (especially the minor prophets!).
The Five Acts:
- Creating the Stage on Which the Story Will Be Acted Out (i.e. creation)
- Separation: From Dependence to Independence (i.e. Adam and Eve)
- Israel: The Called People of God to Be the Light of the World (i.e. Everything from Adam/Eve to Jesus)
- The Rest of the Story in the New Testament (and Beyond)
Oh – BTW, it is cool to note that the word “EPIC” in the book title is an acronym meaning:
This acronym also helps to explain why Griffin published the book with wide margins, study questions, graphs and the like – he wanted it to be experiential, participatory, image-rich and connectivity. 🙂