As we celebrate National Bible Week Nov. 15-21, Biblestudyforcatholics.com is journeying through the remarkable story woven through the Bible, covering all of the key time periods and characters and capturing the big picture of Scripture all within a week. How do we plan to do this? We will use Jeff Cavins’ Great Adventure Bible Timeline as our guide, following its straightforward approach to Scripture and salvation history. We invite you to join us as we go on this journey, Walking with God each day.
Great Stories Go Down in History
Toward the end of his Gospel, St. Luke recounts the greatest Bible study ever held. Jesus joins two disciples as they travel the road to Emmaus. In response to their despair over the events of Good Friday, Jesus says, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Lk 24:25-26). In the midst of the tragic events and details of the previous days, these disciples had lost sight of all that God was doing in his story of Scripture, and, as a result, they also lost sight of the narrative thread to their own lives and were filled with sorrow and despair.
In response, Jesus takes the disciples back through Scripture’s story, showing them God’s wonderful design and purpose. When Jesus wanted to teach these disciples the very meaning of who he was and make sense of the events of life, he opened up for them Scripture’s plot, the “big picture” that weaves together all the individual events and details. The disciples saw the whole breathtaking view of Scripture’s story and how it led to Christ. It set their hearts on fire and changed their lives; their sorrow was turned to joy, and they raced back to Jerusalem!
Our Father invites each of us to become immersed in the story of his Word, which includes great deeds, adventure, love, betrayal, sacrifice, miracles, and much more. In the Scriptures, we learn about faith in the Lord by seeing it lived out by Abraham. We learn about obedience when Joshua follows God’s directions for defeating Jericho instead of rushing in with his army. We learn about courage when David goes up against the giant warrior Goliath. We learn about trust in the Lord when Mary gives her “yes” to God’s plan. We learn about self-sacrificial love when Jesus gives his life on the cross for our salvation. Most importantly, though, the Scriptures give us a story in which we can meet God himself, come to know his infinite love for each of us, and respond to his invitation to enter into this epic tale.
Finding the Story in Scripture
The key to every good story is its plot, which brings together the many details, events, and characters to give the story its meaning and power. Without a good plot, we just close the book or turn off the movie. The story of Scripture also has a plot, but it is precisely this plot that many people have difficulty finding and making sense of. And if we cannot understand the plot of Scripture, we get lost in endless genealogies, names, and battles; we close the book and leave the Bible on the shelf, never learning God’s story and our place in it.
Because the Bible is comprised of seventy-three different books by nearly as many authors, at first glance it is easy to see why finding Scripture’s plot might prove difficult. Yet the Bible is no ordinary book. The Holy Spirit inspired the human writers, and so the Bible is also authored by God. And because it has one divine Author, this collection of books is unified by an incredible story.
As we capture the big picture of Scripture we will cover a lot of ground, from Genesis to Acts of the Apostles. As a result, we will focus on the panoramic view of the narrative story of Scripture’s canon.
We hope The Bible in a Week will help you taste and see God’s word anew and discover how enriching it is to explore the deep mysteries of Sacred Scripture. The Bible in a Week will begin tomorrow with the first time period of the Bible, The Early World.
This post is an excerpt from Walking with God: A Journey through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins.