The Big Picture of the Bible

What This Is

The Bible isn't a book. It's around 60 volumes written by 40+ people from all walks of life over a period of 1,000+ years in three languages. There's a consistent story, the Story of Redemption, that runs through them all. It tells us who God is, our purpose, why our world is broken, how Jesus restores our relationship to Him, and the hope of eternal life He gives us. God's Word is also alive with His Spirit. Humble yourself, ask Him to speak to you, and read it with an open mind. He will supernaturally tell you it's true.

Note: Numbered links are supporting verses. Especially read those about Jesus.

The Story of Redemption

God gave us His Word, or the Bible, to help us understand[1] who He is, who we are, and what He expects of us. God's Word says He spoke[2] the entire universe[3] into existence from nothing[4]. That proved He has unimaginable knowledge and power with limitless reach. He exists apart from our universe, even outside of time itself[5]. He values His holiness[6] and purity above all other traits. A passing glimpse of His holy glory and majesty always dropped strong men to their knees[7] in trembling and awe. His Word says He is also complete: He needs nothing[8]. He created the Universe[9] simply because it pleased Him to do so. God also has sovereign authority over anything He creates. Like a homeowner or a country's ruler, He can expect of or do with His creation whatever He wants[10].

His Word says He created us to love Him for His glory[11], perfect character[12], and goodness[13]. He displayed His glory in what He created: the heavens, the Earth[14], spiritual beings called angels that execute His will[15], the first humans (Adam and Eve)[16], and a paradise for humans to live in[17]. He declared it was all good[18]. More accurate to say He is the source of all good: holding the universe together, keeping our bodies healthy, making the world so pleasing to us (eg good food, beautiful sights)[19], giving us people to share it with, and all the happy moments that follow. His creation would spend eternity with Him enjoying those blessings in the beautiful paradise He made for them. His unchanging character means He keeps every promise[20].

God gave His creations free will to follow or rebel against Him[21]. Rebelling against (i.e. betraying) our God is called sin. Satan, a great angel, led the first rebellion out of selfish pride. He and His followers wanted[22] to be greater than God. They were cast out of heaven to Earth. After Satan tempted them, humans also betrayed God[23] seeking to be like gods themselves. His infinite purity, love, and sovereignty mean we may never understand what this betrayal did to Him. It seems like a child witnessing a murder, a spouse of decades betrayed, and a king spat on by his heir all at once. God was angry. That He's eternal meant that the consequences would be, too.

God is perfectly just: He must punish sin[24]. When humanity sinned, He gave them and the world around them less grace[25]. He also took away our bodies' immortality[26]. Humans would spend their limited lifetimes working hard to survive in a dangerous world. God's final punishment, His full wrath[27], comes after death. His wrath is described as a consuming fire[28]. Those He'd have loved and blessed for eternity who betray Him are thrown into a place described as a lake of fire[29][30]. His gifts of love, joy, peace, and pleasure are withdrawn to leave only burning and "weeping and gnashing of teeth."[31] Instead of repenting (turning from sin), humans' sin only increased with every generation[32] until He regretted[33] making them.

Like His justice, God's mercy is so strong that He wants none to perish[34] Before He even created us[35] He already had a Plan ready to redeem all who would turn back to Him. He revealed Himself to the least-significant nation (Israel)[36] set them apart[37]for His Plan, and promised blessings for all who served Him[38] The Law He gave them[39]required everyone to love Him first, then each other, and to live holy lives (i.e. be righteous)[40] He defended them from their enemies[41](often miraculously[42]. He gave them land[43]and riches[44] He instituted animal sacrifices to remind them all sin is paid for in blood[45] They still kept turning back to sin[46] They even worshiped man-made things[47]instead of the creator of all things. His judges[48] kings[49] and prophets[50]couldn't keep them on track either[51] Like all of us, their sinful nature[52]kept them selfish and rebellious.

Perfect justice and mercy seem like a contradiction. God's prophets promised His solution would achieve both. That man would be born of a virgin woman[53]in Israel's bloodline[54] He'd absolve us of our sins, bring us back to God[55] and give us eternal life[56][57] He would do it for all peoples, not just Israel [58][59] The Word of God also gave them hundreds of prophecies,[60] or details about the future, that the faithful who studied His Word could use to know who their Savior was.

Around 2,000 years ago, He came as promised. God's Spirit supernaturally caused a virgin woman[61]to conceive a child. God took flesh in the form of a Son who was fully God and fully man[62][63][64] Although God, He limited and humbled Himself to set an example for us. Put in an animal feeder (manger)[65]as an infant, He later grew up to be an unremarkable-looking carpenter[66][67]in a no-name town. He had all the needs, worries, and temptations we do[68][69][70] He still lived in perfect obedience[71]to God's Law. He responded to God's call for ministry in His thirties[72] He served[73][74][75][76]those around Him out of selfless love.

In His ministry, He proved who He was by fulfilling all the prophecies[77]and performing miracles[78] including raising the dead[79] He was rejected[80]by those meant to receive Him. So dedicated was He, that He endured being beaten[81]until He had no flesh on His back[82] mocked/stripped[83] spat on[84] and crucified to death[85] In crucifixion, a person's lungs are forced into a position where every breath requires them to force the nails further into the nerves of their feet while rubbing a shredded back against the wood. Seconds, minutes, hours... they endure this pain with every breath until physical exhaustion makes them suffocate. Even worse, Jesus had been in strong communion with God before birth[86]and during His life[87] Taking God's wrath for us, He'd be cut off from God's peace, feel alone[88]for the first time, and feel it while being tortured to death.

At any point, He could've gotten off that cross. Jesus once rebuked an entire storm with His words. Issuing one command[89]as the Son of God would've extinguished His enemies. Knowing God's justice must be satisfied, Jesus willingly stayed on that cross out of love for us. Although crushed[90]by the burden, He obeyed[91]to the point of a death that left His body unrecognizable[92]to those watching. God showed He was pleased with Jesus' sacrifice by raising Him[93]from the dead on the third day. Jesus' perfect obedience and blood earned this for us: He will save anyone who believes in Him, repents, and follows Him. He promises that and tells us how (below).

Before we get to that, making the right choice will have tough consequences. We live in a world whose evil is fueled by a love of sin and Satan's influence. Jesus warned the world will hate,[94] persecute,[95] jail,[96] and/or kill[97]us. We must always choose Him over ourselves, even over our very lives[98] He'll use our suffering to draw us closer to Him in spirit and character[99][100] Then, heavily reward[101]it in the next life. A massive number of believers have already been murdered for their faith. Some lost their families right in front of them.

As the end draws near, Jesus said[102]the signs will be massive increase in lies (eg mass media), wars, famines, and earthquakes. His messenger, Paul, wrote[103]that individuals will be more self-centered, arrogant, greedy, abusive, disobedient to parents, and anti-religious. After that at an unknown time[104] Jesus will return to judge everyone for their choices: rewarding His followers for the good they did while following Him[105] punishing the rest who rejected him and remained in sin[106][107]

Until then, we endure our one life loving God and others until we get where we're going. His Word, His promises, His character, and His power all assure us we'll get there. Jesus is already there making a place[108]for us. We must put our faith in and follow Him. We know our God expects it, deserves it, and is so worth it. We just keep our focus[109]and hope[110]on Him till the end.

The Gospel (1-2 min)

God is a perfect being. He's holy, loving, and just. He made us to worship Him and love each other. We didn't.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

Our sins are many. Everyone who does evil will face God's judgement. His enemies go to Hell: a lake of fire where they never get rest and the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. But, there's good news:

"But God gives proof of his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23)
"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
"[Jesus said:] This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:40)
"Therefore, repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." (Acts 3:19)

Jesus was God in human flesh. He lived the perfect life we didn't, died for our sins, and was raised again. If you commit your life to Him (believe), He saves you by what He did for you, not your own works. To return to God, just say this to Him (i.e. pray) right where you are:

"Dear God, I know that I am an unworthy sinner and there is nothing that I can do to earn your salvation. I believe Jesus is man and God. I believe you sent Him to live the life I didn't, that He died on the cross for my sins, and was raised from the dead three days later. I repent (or turn away from sin) and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. God I ask in Jesus' name that you please forgive and save me. Thank you. Amen (the end)."

If you meant it, then you now have peace with God. The Spirit of God now dwells in you. The washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit will change you into a new person from the inside out. Now, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God.

Now What?

You pray that, start living as a believer, and be baptized to publicly demonstrate your faith. The evidence you did this is that the Holy Spirit will change your heart, or begin "sanctifying" you, to make you want to be more like Jesus. A need to love God and others more will begin to overflow out of your heart. You will need to spend time with God daily, studying His Word and praying, to grow as a believer. Join a local church that focuses on these things to help you do that. You will probably also face suffering in a world that hates God and righteousness. Endure it to the end since He is worth it.

God's Word is our ultimate authority for all matters on life. Get you a study Bible to understand it better. I recommend the English Standard Version (ESV). Read the New Testament first, starting in John. On the go, you can use a pocket Bible, online Bible, or Bible app.

My other site teaches the fundamentals. It also has a Quick Start guide to get you started. Read the whole thing. Dig into what links you find interesting. Get into a Biblical church to grow with others. Above all, be grateful because Christ has already secured your future by His own blood. It's a gift we did nothing to earn.

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