Chapter 1: Introduction: A Puzzling Book, Perfect Word This chapter will open by comparing the Bible to a puzzle. Puzzles are hard, and so is the Bible. Puzzles take a long time and are comprised of many diverse parts. So is the Bible. Puzzles are often left incomplete. Tragically, so is the Bible, and as a result so is our picture of Christ. And yet, like a puzzle, the Bible's parts aren't meant to conceal but to reveal. With time and patience the Bible can be understood and our picture of Christ made more complete across our life. The body of this chapter will be divided into three parts corresponding to the three parts of the book, each part unpacking a different aspect of a complete reading of Scripture. PART 1: THE BIBLE'S NATURE Chapter 2: What Is the Bible? The first question most of us will ask when coming to the Bible is, "What does it say?" That's a good question. But a more fundamental question is, simply, "What is it?" That is, "What is the Bible?" This chapter will answer this question in three ways: 1) The Bible is a divine-human book, and so it has divine and human features; 2) The Bible is a progressively revealed book, which means it comes to us in the course of time, revealing and interpreting God's work in the world; 3) The Bible is a book centered on Christ, which means that all of its diverse material has a fundamental unity in revealing Jesus Christ to the reader. Chapter 3: How Then Should We Read the Bible? As with any book, there is a proper and an improper way to read the Bible. Having established what the Bible is, in this chapter we will explore how we can read the Bible according to what it is: where it came from, how it came to us, and what it's centrally about. And so we read the Bible according to three horizons or three contexts. The immediate horizon concerns the immediate context of the words on any given page of Scripture in light of its placement in the book of Scripture. The unfolding horizon/context requires that we read a text in light of what comes before it, discerning its location in God's covenant story. The final horizon/context has to do with how a given text relates to the Bible's overarching message of salvation in Jesus Christ, and how it is understood in terms of the whole Bible. PART 2: THE BIBLE'S STRUCTURE Chapter 4: Creation: A Garden Full of God's Glory This chapter will work through the story of Creation in Genesis 1-2 to identify the main characters of the story, establish the setting of the story, and define trajectories for the storyline ahead. Kids who ask their parents, "Where did everything come from?," are asking a perceptive question of inestimable consequence. Parents who have an answer are speaking to their children about the most basic beliefs that shape their understanding of the world and their place in it. Creation stories are important and every person and every people has one. So does God. Chapter 5: Fall: A Day Full of Death This chapter sets the stage for the rest of the book. It is through an understanding the problem at the heart of the Bible that the message of the Bible makes sense. By unpacking Genesis 3 we will see how sin brings a transformation in the relationship of the characters to one another (God and humankind), a transformation of the setting (the creation groans), and a transformation in the direction of the story (judgment). The question at hand is this: in light of sin and its consequences, how can God and humankind be reconciled to one another? Chapter 6: Redemption: A Story Full of Promise This chapter will give an answer to the question raised in the previous chapter. In Genesis 3:15, God makes an astounding promise: a son of Eve will crush the head of the serpent, and the serpent will bruise his heel. There will be conflict, God will win, and he will defeat his enemy through a human son. How he will do this remains a great mystery at this point, but that he will do it is certain. The story that follows will unfold ho
Trent Hunter is Pastor for Administration and Teaching at Desert Springs Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is Director for The Gospel Coalition's Southwest Regional Conference and Coordinator for Albuquerque's Gospel Coalition regional chapter. In addition, he is an Instructor for the Charles Simeon Trust and travels to instruct pastors in biblical exposition. He received his MDiv from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of Joshua in Crossway's Knowing the Bible series and Graphical Greek: A Quick Reference Guide for Biblical Greek. Stephen Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of Kingdom through Covenant (Crossway). He is also the author of a forthcoming volume on Christology in the Foundations of Evangelical Theology series (Crossway). He is also writing a systematic theology that will be published around 2017 (B&H Academic).