With Pastor Monty beginning his blog series What We Believe, you will certainly receive a huge amount of Scripture in the coming weeks. I am currently completing a course on hermeneutics–how to read Scripture. I thought I would share a few thoughts that I have found to be tremendously helpful when searching through a large amount of Scripture on a topic.
Often times, when we are reading a passage, or researching a topic, we can get so caught in the weeds of that particular topic. “What does the Bible say about ______?” And what really happens is we start reading Scripture in a way it really wasn’t intended to be read. For example, the famous Jeremiah 29:11 passage. So often people are looking for reassurance that God is in control and that He has a plan for their life. But when read in context and in light of the big picture of Scripture, that passage is a specific promise to a specific people: The exiled children of Israel who are wondering if God is really going to keep His promises. He did keep that promise. Which gives us hope and trust in God’s faithfulness. Therefore, we learn from that passage, but in light of the big picture of Scripture, we don’t say that this promise is to us.
Knowing the big picture of the Bible can help place what we are reading in the proper context. We often talk about “The New Covenant”. If there is a “new” then there must be an “Old Covenant”. What many people forget is that there are multiple covenants that God made prior to the “New” covenant. Check out this video for a quick overview of those covenants.
I just read a great book that really brings out the “big picture” called From Eden to the New Jerusalem: An Introduction to Biblical Theology, by T.D. Alexander. This book wonderfully shows how God’s plan has remained unchanged from the beginning of creation until now.
As you dive into specific subjects with Pastor Monty’s blog, it will serve you well to see the big picture in all things.