Many thoughts have been stirred up recently concerning the Big Picture of the Bible. Essentially, this post will be a series of resources I recommend. The first is, appropriately enough, the Big Picture Story Bible:
On Sunday, one of our pastors at Timberland gave this to my buddy Scott who blogs with me over at Better Beards. My wife flipped through it and read it to us on the way back to my place. In short, it’s awesome. It deliberately traces the covenant of God from the beginning to the end, all for children 12 and under. And honestly, even though I’m in my mid-twenties, this is a book I would want to read for myself. 450+ pages, Crossway, 5/5 stars. Get one at Amazon or Crossway.
The next set of books have served me well thus far in sermon preparation and keeping my eyes on the big picture:
Mark Dever’s overviews of the Old and New Testaments take the form of a series of sermons manuscripted and adapted into book format. Each chapter is one sermon, overviewing a book of the Bible. The strength here is in the Old Testament pointing forward to the New, and Christ being expounded upon in the New. Each is interpreted according to standard hermenutics, but the overarching theme is wonderfully New Testament priority. Jesus is indeed exalted in all of these, and it helps deepen the essential story that’s found in the above story book. New Testament: 560 pages, Crossway, 5/5 stars. Old Testament, 960 pages, Crossway, 5/5 stars.
The two-tiered approach (one as an overview for children, another as an overview for adults) is supplemented further by another resource I’ve just been made aware of.
I’ve heard good things about the book, although I haven’t gotten a chance to read it myself. It presents the major Biblical stories that relate to the central story of Christ, from beginning to end. 416 pages, Zondervan. But it at Amazon or at Zondervan.
Finally, for those who want to be equipped to communicate Christ-centered truth, I can’t recommend a better resource than Bryan Chapell’s Christ Centered Preaching.
This is currently my textbook for Expository Preaching at Northland. I wish it was a little less technical and somewhat more affectional, but it almost strikes a perfect balance of those two. If this weren’t coming so late in my education, I probably would give it five stars. As it stands, Chapell spends a lot of time getting into understanding the redemptive nature of the Scriuptures. The technical aspects have somewhat of a learning curve to them. Despite this, it’s a great book. 400 pages, Baker, 4.5/5 stars. Buy it from Amazon or from Baker.
An additional note: while one might be tempted to simply pull the trigger on whichever retailer is cheapest, it’s worth noting that Crossway gives away a .pdf copy of all their books when you purchase it through their site. This may not matter much in many instances, but I can see this being extremely useful for the Big Picture Story Bible. Possibly worth incorporating into slideshows for children’s Sunday School.