Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Scope and Sequence

The Bible is a Book that tells a Story; it's the true narrative account of something God has done, is doing, and will someday bring to a grand fulfillment. Like any great story, reading it in bits and pieces, but never reading and understanding it from beginning to end, will not be satisfying. One won't get it fully. The story will be missing continuity; there will be gaps in one's understanding.

In the Bible the epic, true tale of God's plan of the ages is told in many different ways, using many different genres that include straight historical accounts, poetry, apocalyptic writing with scenes full of imagery and figures of speech, and riddles and parables. There are many stories within the story, like in Genesis 1-3 where we're given the whole reason for all that's to follow. All the different authors, different genres of writing, and stories within the story progress with seamless God-centeredness toward the final, amazing conclusion (with a tantalizing preview of the good that will be the next Story!).

"Scope and sequence" is an educational term that refers to the breadth and depth of a specific curriculum. The scope is how much will be taught of a subject over the course of a semester or year; the sequence is the order in which the lessons will be studied. The Bible, no differently than any "course," has a scope and sequence that takes precedence over any other study we will ever undertake. The scope is breathtaking, of eternal urgency, and of supernatural power and claim. The sequence, like any other true account, starts at the beginning and ends at the finish.

If you are a Christian, making a commitment to read God's story from cover to cover only makes sense. There are plenty of good reading plans available to help you; some good ones can be found here or if you want to simply keep a record of your reading, print out a handy record-keeping sheet here. Keep reading until you know you begin to understand. Keep reading until you begin to know the fear of the Lord. Keep reading until you begin to be ready for every secret thing to be brought into the light. And then keep reading.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

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