The Grand Metanarrative of the Bible

Starting in mid-May the PRV family is going to start a series on the grand metanarrative of the Bible.

  • How the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation speaks of God’s rule and reign (i.e. the Kingdom of God).
  • How we are to enter into His story versus trying to live our own (or buying into other ‘stories’ like the American Dream).

In preparation for this series, I read Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen’s book “The Drama of Scripture.” Drawing from N.T. Wright’s model of the five-act structure, these two Redeemer University College professors lay out an easy-to-read view of the Kingdom of God throughout the Bible.

  • Act 1: God Establishes His Kingdom: Creation
  • Act 2: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall
  • Act 3: The King Choose Israel: Redemption Initiated
  • Interlude: A Kingdom Story Waiting for an Ending: The Intertestamental Period
  • Act 4: The Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished
  • Act 5: Spreading the News of the King: The Mission of the Church
  • Act 6: The Return of the King: Redemption Completed

Written in a prose format for first-year college students, this book reads like a story – giving the read a good foundation of the entire Bible.

One of the best parts of the book is the “Interlude” chapter as it helps tie the Old Testament together with the New Testament. This period is one of the most over-looked periods in history as a lot of Protestant Christians forget that God was at work during the four-hundred year gap between Malachi and Matthew. (I say “Protestant Christians” because our Catholic and Eastern Orthodox family include the Maccabees and other intertestamental books in their Bibles.)

Yet, these years set the stage for Jesus Christ, His culture, and the language He used during His ministry. For example, through out the Gospels, Jesus is said to proclaim the “Kingdom of God” – but no where are we told what that phrase means. That is because everyone around Jesus and His followers knew that that term meant as they knew the history of the intertestamental period.

Bartholomew and Goheen’s handling of Act 4 through 6 was also really good. However, I have to express some disappointment in how they dealt with Act 1 through 3. It was just…well….weak. There is so much richness throughout the Old Testament that they missed… granted, it could have been because they where writing for freshman audience… yet, even then I think they could have brought out the Kingdom motif a little better (shoot, they were even a tad weak in the covenant motif, which is the other side of the coin from the Kingdom motif).

Overall, “The Drama of Scripture” is a great book for those who are trying to get a handle on how all the Bible stories fit together – the metanarrative of what God is doing throughout history. For those looking for a little deeper or scholarly book, I would recommend Winn Griffin’s book “God’s EPIC Adventure” or Christopher Wright’s “The Mission of God.”