The Bible Story
While the Bible tells the story of mankind from the beginning, it is not written as a history book per se. It is the history of man as it relates to man’s greatest problem—sin—and God’s solution to that problem. Often we are acquainted with a few Bible stories but have no idea how they fit into the “big picture.” An overview of Bible history may be helpful.
The Bible story begins with man, God’s crowning act of creation, in fellowship with Him. That harmony, however, was broken by sin. God then began to unfold His plan for salvation. He chose Abraham, and from his descendants made a nation, Israel, through which the solution to sin would come.
Early on, the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. God delivered them through Moses and gave them His law at Mt. Sinai. Following a forty-year delay due to unfaithfulness, Joshua led them in conquest of the land of Canaan, their promised land.
For a time, Israel was ruled by judges. When they grew dissatisfied with that arrangement, God gave them kings: first Saul, then David. God promised David that He would continue David’s dynasty as long as his sons were faithful. That began with Solomon, but after his reign many rebelled, so the nation was divided into Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Israel immediately went into idolatry, and two centuries later God delivered them into Assyrian captivity. Judah also had problems with idolatry, though they did have several kings who were faithful to God. Ultimately, they, too, abandoned God and were taken captive to Babylon.
About seventy years later, the Medo-Persians defeated the Babylonians, opening the door for God’s people to return to Canaan. Some did, but others dispersed to various parts of the world.
For nearly 400 years, the Bible story falls silent. Then John the Baptizer came on the scene, announcing the coming of the Christ [Messiah], the long-awaited Savior. Jesus is the Christ. For three years, He taught the way of God, but He was rejected by Israel’s leaders. In the end, they delivered Him to the Romans to be crucified. Little did they realize that His death was God’s plan. On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead, and forty days later He ascended back to heaven to reign as king.
Ten days later, Jesus’ apostles began to preach the gospel, the good news of salvation in Jesus. Some violently opposed it. Others excitedly received it and became Jesus’ disciples. Twenty centuries later, that same gospel, recorded in the New Testament, produces the same saving outcome for those who believe and obey it.