Dane Ortlund asked a number of prominent evangelical pastors and writers to sum up the Bible in one sentence. Here is a sampling (see more at the link):
God was so covenantally committed to the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him may have eternal life!
God is in the process of recreating the universe which has been corrupted by sin and has made it possible for all those and only those who follow Jesus to be a part of the magnificent, eternal community that will result.
The Bible tells how the loving Creator God restored a lost humanity and cosmos through reestablishing his rule through Jesus Christ and the provision of life to His honor.
God has made promises to bring His people to Himself and He is fulfilling them all through Christ.
A holy God sends his righteous Son to die for unrighteous sinners so we can be holy and live happily with God forever.
Apprenticing with Jesus to become human again.
God glorifies himself in the redemption of sinners.
The Triune God is the beginning, middle, and end of everything, ‘for from him (as Creator) and through him (as Sustainer and Redeemer) and to him (as Judge) are all things’ (Rom 11:36).
Jesus is the promised Savior-King.
The movement in history from creation to new creation through the redemptive work of Father, Son, and Spirit who saves and changes corrupted people and places for his glory and their good.
The message of the Bible in one sentence is that genuine truth, unlike every human philosophy, is far too luxuriant, too enthralling, too personal, too all-encompassing, too sovereign, and too life-changing to be reducible to one sentence (or, as Einstein once put it, the challenge is to ‘make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler’).
Some of these are pretty good, but two things struck me: (1) How unevangelical many of these are. That is, how they emphasize not the Gospel (evangel), but the Law, putting the focus on our being or becoming.
(2) How these different takes on Scripture often reveal a specific theological perspective. Evangelicals often maintain that they are taking their beliefs straight from the Bible, without needing a theological framework, but scratch the surface and you will tend to find a specific theology at work. Not that that’s bad, since I believe one needs a specific theology. In fact, this exercise shows that theology is inevitable. We say we believe the Bible. It’s legitimate to ask next, “What do you believe the Bible says?” And that’s your theology. We Lutherans answer that in a whole book of confessions rather than one sentence, but the principle is the same.
Can you do better? Sum up the Bible–or the message of the Bible– in one sentence. Or, if you consider that too reductionistic, comment on these other attempts.