The Biblical story

God has a long-term plan, well underway

To better understand today we need to better understand yesterday.

Late 20th century developments in archaeology and Biblical research have improved our understanding of the 1st century.  With these developments we can better understand the Biblical story and the tension of God’s covenant faithfulness in the 1st century.

What is the Biblical story?

The Biblical story is broad, complex and multifaceted.  Yet there are some key moments we can focus on to better understand the tension of God’s covenant faithfulness in the 1st century.

For example, why did God call Abraham in Genesis 12?

The answer to this question requires understanding the prior story of Adam and Eve.  In brief, God called Abraham to undo the sin of Adam and Eve.

Key moments and themes include:

  • Adam and eve.
  • The call of Abraham.
  • God’s pattern of selectivity.  (For example, Isaac not Ishmael, Jacob not Esau.)
  • Moses and the Torah.
  • Blessings or curses.  (For example, see Deuteronomy 28.)
  • The “golden age” of King David.
  • David’s radical sin.
  • Exile and the murder of the prophets.

Understanding these key moments leads us to tension of God’s covenant faithfulness in the 1st century.

The tension of God’s covenant faithfulness

The tension was, God had made promises to the Jewish people (including as noted in Genesis 12), yet they were now oppressed and subject to the nations.

The Jewish people had wanted God to act to defeat evil.  However, the Jewish people were part of the mess.

So what was God to do?

Jesus’ ministry took place in this tension.

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John describe the time of Jesus’ ministry and of God’s answer to the tension.

Conversation in theology

The story of Israel prior to Jesus’ ministry helps us to better understand the tension of God’s covenant faithfulness in the 1st century.

Through informed conversation on the story of Israel, David helps to build this tension.  This enables us to consider Jesus’ ministry in terms of the tension: the deeper our understanding of the cross, the deeper our understanding of the resurrection.  So that in Jesus ministry and in his death, burial and bodily resurrection, we can see God’s answer.

The book of Acts continues the story, and St Paul declares in Romans that through the gospel, God’s covenant faithfulness is revealed.

As we better understand yesterday, we can better understand today:

God has a long-term plan, well underway

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash