If you were asked to summarise the story of the Bible in as few words as possible, what would you say?
A challenge like this one forces Christians to think about the crucial foundation stones, the navigational points, of the Bible’s storyline. What needs to be included and what omitted? How do we trace the narrative with sufficient economy of words and still give a faithful summary of what God has chosen to reveal in 66 books?
Well, if you keep reading, you will have opportunity to evaluate the summary of arguably the foremost Biblical scholar of our day, Dr. D. A. Carson. Carson has submitted his considered and edited version of the Bible in as few words as possible. See what you think.
God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the universe, including us, his image-bearers. Our misery lies in our rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance, attracts his implacable wrath.
But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he expects.
In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey the gospel (Romans 10:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17).