Today, I begin to explain step by step how to tell the whole story of the Bible. From the beginning, my aim has been to develop a model that is coherent, reproducible, faithful to Scripture, and balances a variety of biblical themes. Accordingly, I take seriously the theme of honor-shame in the Bible.
In what follows, I will largely assume you are familiar with the Biblical story and/or have read previous posts. For the sake of efficiency, I will simply summarize the big movements of story. I’m not looking to write an entire course in biblical theology in a few blog posts. My purpose is simply to suggest a model that can be used to teach countless other details.
天下一家： One Family Under Heaven
The Bible starts with creation. The Creator God is Father and King over the human family. Being made in God’s image, humanity should to reflect the glory of the heavenly Father. He created the world to be his kingdom. In the beginning, there was harmony in creation. Humans were set apart from the rest of creation. In the “cultural mandate,” the Father-King gave them a special vocation––to rule the world on God’s behalf.
The bottom line of the box represents a time line. At the bottom left corner is Adam. Along the way, we will add Abraham, Moses, and others. A time line helps us track the sequence of events. In this way, no matter where one opens the Bible, the reader can where he or she is in the overall story. Stories by nature have a flow; they are not abstractions.
One reason for beginning with this simple picture is that anyone can draw a rectangle (depicting the world as a box whose bottom side is a time line).
丢脸争面: Losing Face, Seeking Face
All people have defamed God’s name and broken relationship with him. Humans have forsaken their father and betrayed the world’s true king. As a result, people have lost true and lasting face (脸), that which marks us as being fully human. Sadly, people seek to regain a kind of face (面子) that is fleeting and superficial. Consequently, human relationships are also fractured. The world is now full of shame.
Humanity is all enslaved to sin, the disgraceful ambitions and actions that characterize this cursed world.
With the fall of the human family, people became enslaved to sin. Because sin is our master (cf. Rom 6), the world is like a box that confines and imprisons us. Inside the world (box) is death, curse, and shame.
Next Post: Explaining Israel’s Role in the Story