The Urgency of Reading the Bible as One Story in the 21st Century

This year, Kaleo Church began a corporate Bible reading plan.  As we embark on this, I was forwarded an excellent article by Michael Goheen, The Urgency of Reading the Bible as One Story in the 21st Century (PDF). Goheen writes:

Today, as in the ancient era, the Church is confronted by a host of master narratives that contradict and compete with the gospel. The pressing question is: who gets to narrate the world?”  Webber believes the three leading contenders are the Muslim story, the liberal capitalist story, and (somewhat surprisingly) The Marxist story. Over against these three contenders Webber and Kenyon say: “In a world of competing stories, we call Evangelicals to recover the truth of God's word as the story of the world, and to make it the centerpiece of Evangelical life.” 

How can the Church confront these stories and make the Biblical story our centerpiece, when as Goheen rightly claims, Christians fragment the Bible into bits, "moral bits, systematic-theological bits,devotional bits, historical-critical bits, narrative bits, and homiletical bits."  It is when we have a fragmented view of the Bible, there is no one grand story that shapes our 'culture' or worldview.  "The Bible bits are accommodated to the more all-embracing cultural story, and it becomes that story—i.e.the humanist story—that shapes our lives," writes Goheen. As Christians, we need to recover the Biblical Drama as one story, that is THE normative story of history.

Again, read this article, great quotes from Eugene Peterson, Lesslie Newbigin, and N. T. Wright (An essential part of our theological and missional task today is to ‘tell this story as clearly as possible, and to allow it to subvert other ways of telling the story of the world . . .’)

UPDATE: Here are two past posts w/ book recommendations that help present this one story: The Drama of Scripture (Goheen, author of the article) and Promise and Deliverance

  • Justin Buzzard

    January 2, 2007, 1:27 pm

    That’s a great quote. Are you guys using the Bible reading plan that is linked on Goheen’s biblical theology/Drama of Scripture site? I used that plan last year and really benefitted from it and have encourage many out here to go with that plan.

  • D. Goodmanson

    January 2, 2007, 4:00 pm

    That is a good one. For this year we are doing another one: by Robert Murray M’Cheyne.

  • bjnotbk

    January 3, 2007, 8:36 am

    Eugene Peterson’s work, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading, hits on this subject indirectly in that he talks about how we manipulate scripture to fit our needs instead of reading scripture in totality and seeing God revealing Himself to us. Collectively as a church we approach scripture as our spiritual buffet.

  • Robert Campbell

    January 3, 2007, 1:10 pm

    Just skimmed the article and look forward ot digging into it. I recently read Vaughn Roberts, God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Story-Line of the Bible. D.A. Carson recommended it in the Q&A at the Desiring God Conference. It was quite good.

    Peterson’s Eat This Book encouraged me to read a commentary for the first time. I mean, sit and read it cover to cover. It was wonderful.

    Thanks for the post.