Bible Survey, A Big Screen Perspective
Dr. Bert Downs
Welcome to Bible Survey, the big screen version, if you will. I’m glad that you are here with us through these sessions. Thanks for making this a part of your life. I think you are going to find it, as I did earlier in my life, to be a life-changing experience.
In my house on Christmas, every Christmas since I don’t know when we have done a jigsaw puzzle; a frustrating experience for some of us. It lasts a couple of weeks, people working on it, on odds and ends, different people doing different things. In general, my family loves it. Probably the frustrating thing for me is to find a piece that I would bet any amount of money needs to go into a particular place in that puzzle, and yet I could never seem to get it to fit. One particular Christmas I was thinking this is a lot like the Scriptures. Interestingly, the Scriptures are kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. If you can think back to when you first opened the Bible if you think about it, it’s like that, isn’t it? It’s a book you get handed. Yet when you open the book, it’s multiple books. And it’s not just multiple books, it is multiple chapters. And it’s not just multiple chapters, it is a whole bunch of verses. If you just jump into the middle of it somewhere and start trying to figure out how those littlest pieces, those verses fit, it becomes like putting a jigsaw puzzle together without a very important part. That part is the box top lid. Just imagine dumping out a thousand pieces without having that picture on the box top lid, and saying to yourself, “I’m going to put this puzzle together.” Could you do it? Of course, you could. Would you go crazy in the process? Probably.
We do that all the time with the Bible, don’t we? We come to faith in Christ. Someone gives us a Bible. They hand it to us. They open it. They say, “Read John.” We read John. We begin to hear stories, maybe stories about David or stories about some of the judges, stories about Joshua defeating Jericho. These stories get scattered all over our lives. They are kind of like having a jigsaw puzzle with no box top lid. So, as crazy as it seems, what we are going to do for ten sessions is, we are going to create a box top lid. So when you look at the Scriptures and look at all of those pieces, you will begin to have the ability to fit them all into their proper spots, though you won’t know every detail.
I need to give a disclaimer at this point. That disclaimer is like this. Every time I do this, someone will come and say, “This was really good, but you didn’t go deep enough.” Let me just say, that is not our purpose. We’re not going to dig deep into the pieces. We are not going to pick up many pieces and look at them. What we are going to try to do is to create that big picture, so that will be our focus. I am going to invite you to take the big picture and then go deeper. Use this as a tool to go deeper and you will find that it is incredibly helpful and it will make a real difference for you.
Another perspective we are going to look at is the perspective through the eyes of leadership. In this particular case, what I am going to try to do as we put the big picture together is to attach it to applications and thoughts and look at some specific things that relate particularly to people who are developing influence, as it were, for the kingdom. Before you quickly say, “I’m not a leader,” let me suggest that you probably are and don’t know it. Leaders don’t just come in the form of pastors or elders or great speakers or book writers or whoever that might be. Leaders come in the forms of moms and dads and grandparents and people who perhaps do the most important leading of all in developing generators of people for the cause of Christ. So this will have a great application through various levels of your life and that is what we want it to have.
There is a third perspective that we will get glimpses of is how Jesus appears throughout the OT. Obviously in ten sessions together we are not going to be able to, as I said earlier, go deep with any of this, but I want to be faithful to the Scriptures. Part of the big picture is to help us get a faithfulness with handling the Scriptures. In the Scriptures, in the New Testament, Jesus says to his apostles and his followers, particularly post-resurrection, that the Scriptures; and the Scripture for him would have been what we call The Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures that we are going to be looking at for five sessions, were all about him. So we are going to take some time through each of the sessions when we are in the Old Testament, basically five of them, and do somewhat I will call, “Jesus pointers.” We will stop and say, “Okay, let’s look at this through the lens of Jesus because he looked at the Old Testament or the Hebrew Scriptures, and said, ‘These are about me. You should have known these are about me.’” So we will just take a moment or two from time to time and say, “Here is one of those pointers. When you look at this through the lens of Jesus, you will realize this is about him.”
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