Bible Overview Resources

I’ve been teaching a class on a survey of the Bible and have found a few resources that have helped me more effectively communicate the “big picture” of God’s Story in the Old and New Testaments.

First, a DVD-ROM called The Bible Overview: How to Understand the Bible as a Whole has excellent PowerPoint presentations that walk you through the major events of both testaments using clear, easy-to-grasp symbols and labels. I appreciate the kingdom-centered approach to the drama of redemption that unfolds in the Bible. Click here to see a sample screenshot of the Complete Picture. The DVD-ROM includes PowerPoint presentations, handouts, leader’s guide, and even a PDF version of cards that can be printed, cut out, and used to reproduce the Complete Picture chart on a wall or white board. They’ve also included picture files that will enable you to make your own PowerPoint slides, so that you can adapt this material to your teaching situation.

This curriculum also includes a PowerPoint presentation on how to read the Bible using what they call the COMA Method. COMA is short hand for the four steps of good Bible study: Context, Observation, Meaning, and Application. I appreciate the emphasis on understanding a passage of Scripture in the Context of the larger story of God’s redemptive plan.

This is one of the best tools I’ve seen for helping people of all ages get a grip on God’s overarching Story. Amazingly, this curriculum only costs $25.00.

Second, I would highly recommend Robert Vaughan’s God’s Big Picture, a short book that follows the kingdom of God theme from cover to cover of the Bible. Vaughan concisely defines the Kingdom of God as “God’s People in God’s Place under God’s rule and blessing,” and then traces these themes throughout the Bible.

This book fits perfectly with The Bible Overview curriculum that I mentioned above. I was able to use Vaughan’s alliterated divisions of the Story by putting them under the major headings of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration and laying them over the Complete Picture chart as follows:

CREATION

  • The Pattern of the Kingdom (Creation story)

FALL

  • The Perished Kingdom (The Fall and Babel)

REDEMPTION

  • The Promised Kingdom (The Covenant with Abraham)
  • The Partial Kingdom (The Law and Kings)
  • The Prophesied Kingdom (The Prophets)
  • The Present Kingdom (Life, Death, Resurrection, Ascension of Jesus)

RESTORATION

  • The Proclaimed Kingdom (Pentecost and the Church)
  • The Perfected Kingdom (Return of Christ; New Heavens and Earth)

Third, if you want to dig a little deeper into this “drama of redemption” I must recommend Dr. Michael D. Williams’ Far As the Curse Is Found: The Covenant Story of Redemption. Here’s a taste:

“In its most basic structure, the Bible follows this dramatic pattern. It has an introduction, a dramatic problem that arises, a resolution to the problem, and a summing up or conclusion. We might refer to these four elements within the biblical storyline as creation, fall, redemption, and consummation…The creation-fall-redemption-consummation storyline is the central theme of Scripture, and it forms the Bible’s overarching literary structure” (page xi).

Fourth, I’ve found the PowerPoint presentations of Rose Publishing to be useful for helping folks visualize biblical content and Bible lands. Each PowerPoint CD-ROM also includes PDF files with well-produced handouts for students. I’ve also used their Ten Foot Bible Timeline chart on our classroom wall in conjunction with The Bible Overview cards I mentioned above.

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