Bible As A 6-Act Story
Through the reading a few a books and study I have begun to see the Bible as a story told in six acts. I would like to share it with you. N. T. Wright says we fail to see the bible as a whole. We often only hear or read chunks and not the entirety of it. This six-act paradigm helps us the bible as a whole. If it helps, good, if not dismiss it and go on your way.
The creation story found in the first three chapters of Genesis reveals Humanity’s purpose. Humans were to exercise dominion over the world in a loving selfless way mirroring the way God rules the world. Love not power is where we live from.
2. The Fall
Tragically, given the choice Humans rebelled rather than accepting God’s love and His invitation to submit to His will, this is the tragic fall of Humanity from God. Even after the fall into sin, we see God’s inexhaustible love and instead of giving death, He gives life. A troubled life greatly affected by the seriousness of sin with eventual death, but a still a chance to live. Even though, we rejected him God had a plan to reconcile us with love.
3. Redemption Initiated
In spite of our rebellion, God had a plan to reconcile humanity to Him. That plan was to become human in Jesus. To prepare for the coming of one man, Jesus; God prepared one people, Israel. God chose them through Abraham, delivered them from slavery in Egypt, and made a covenant with them at Sinai. God offered himself to them as their loving Father provided they would be loyal to him alone. Israel was to be God’s Kingdom; the place where God’s will is done.
4. Redemption Accomplished
Even though, we reject the awesome love of God, He does not and He will not give up on us. He does all He can to invite us in, to woe us to His love. In Jesus, God became flesh and lived among us. Jesus announced the arrival of God’s Kingdom in as fuller form. He himself embodied the rule of God. In his death on a cross, Jesus showed the depth of God’s love for us. Jesus, the embodiment of the Kingdom invites us to walk with him there.
5. The Mission of the Church
Those who accept the invitation to walk with Jesus comprise the Church. It is not about believing the right things or joining the right group but becoming a disciple of Jesus and following Him step-by-step. It is only in union with Christ that we embody God’s Kingdom and become truly ourselves, who we were really meant to be. The church is not an institution or a building but a living, breathing relationship.
6. Redemption Completed
God has and end purpose in mind for creation, an end He is working towards now. The church is (should be) living our God’s the new Creation purposes now. God’s Kingdom is now and not yet. The sacred romance, falling in love with God is now and forever. Jesus did not just come to save us from our sins, but for himself. He invites us to be his disciples, to embrace love even though it means going to the cross, following Him into Kingdom life.
Now a quick story that illustrates this 6-Act understanding of scripture—
There once was a master. He had a nice life, but one day he thought it would be good to create an instrument on which we could play the ultimate symphony. He would put everything he knew into this instrument making it in his musical image. He spent hours looking for the right material and then set about shaping and forming it into the perfect instrument that he could play his love on. He would use it to woe all. The moment he was finished he stepped back gazing on the instrument he clapped his hands gleefully. It was very good. Daily, he would play songs of love and faith on just playing it made him smile.
Then, one day something changed. He couldn’t find it. Somehow, he knew it was hiding it no longer wanted to play sweet music. He looked and looked for it. It was missing. He searched for it. The hours he spent playing music and delighting everyone who could hear was now spent in search of the instrument. He would not give up on it. He loved it so.
One day while wandering through a town, he saw an auction going on and spied the instrument among the things up for sale. He joined the crowd. The instrument came up last. Most of the crowd was gone, but still there were quite a few people. He couldn’t let anyone else take possession of the instrument. Even before the seller could fully describe it, the master shouted out an enormous sum. Everyone looked at him as if he was crazy. Yet, a shadowy figure off to the side topped the masters bid. The master took a step forward. He doubled his bid; even before the shadowy figure could speak, the master tripled his own bid. The seller pronounced the sale closed. The master stepped forward paid the sum and collected the instrument.
He stood there and played the most wondrous piece of music. It was pure ecstasy. A crowd of people gathered before him, all of them were smiling and a few had tears in their eyes.
God loves you with an everlasting love that knows no bounds or limits. God became human in Jesus so that we might live to the full with God that begins know and stretches into eternity.