What, you thought I was joking? I thought about breaking this post up, but then I'd be behind.
OVERVIEW OF THE BIBLE (these 4 1/2 pages of my new LARGE print ESV Study Bible took me 2 hours to read and write about WITH my READING glasses on...told you I was slow (and evidently blind). But it was sooooo good, I might go back and re-read tomorrow.)
How does the Bible as a whole fit together?
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Diving right in...
In themselves, the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament (OT) were not able to remove sins permanently and to atone for them permanently (Heb. 10:1-18). They pointed forward to Christ, who is the final and complete sacrifice for sins.
When Christ appeared to the disciples after his resurrection, his teaching focused on showing them how the Old Testament pointed to him.
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45
The Law of Moses: Genesis to Deuteronomy
Former Prophets: Historical books Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, and 1-2 Kings
Latter Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the 12 Minor Prophets (Hosea-Malachi)
Writings: Psalms, Daniel
The OT as a whole, through its promises, its symbols, and its pictures of salvation, looks forward to the actual accomplishment of salvation that took place once-for-all in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In what ways does the OT look forward to Christ?
First, it directly points forward through promises of salvation and promises concerning God’s commitment to his people.
Salvation: Christ as the Messiah, the Savior in the line of David. Through the prophet Micah, God promises that the Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David (Micah 5:2), a prophecy strikingly fulfilled in the New Testament (Matthew 2:1-12). There are also general promises concerning a future great day of salvation, without spelling out all the details (ex. Isaiah 25:6-9)
Commitment to his people: To be their God (Jeremiah 31:33, Hosea 2:23; Zechariah 8:8; 13:9; Hebrews 8:10) – comprehensive commitment to be with his people, to care for them, to discipline them, to protect them, to supply their needs, and to have a personal relationship with them. If that commitment continues, it promises to result ultimately in the final salvation that God works out in Christ.
“For all the promises of God find their Yes in him (Christ)” 2 Corinthians 1:20. Sometimes God gives immediate, temporal blessings. These blessings are only a foretaste of the rich, eternal blessings that come through Christ.
WARNINGS AND CURSES
God’s relation to people includes not only blessings but also warnings, threatening, and cursings. These are appropriate because of God’s righteous reaction to sin. They anticipate and point forward to Christ in two distinct ways. First, Christ is the Lamb of God, the sin-bearer (John 1:29; 1 Peter 2:24). He was innocent of sin, but became sin for us and bore the curse of God on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13). Second, Christ as his second coming wars against sin and exterminates it (final judgment against sin).
People’s commitment and obligations to God. Noah, Abraham, and others whom God meets and addresses are called on to respond not only with trust in God’s promises but with lives that begin to bear fruit from their fellowship with God. A covenant between two human beings is a binding commitment obliging them to deal faithfully with one another (as with Jacob and Laban in Genesis 31:44).
“I will be their God, they shall be my people.” By dealing with the wrath of God against sin, Christ changed a situation of alienation from God to a situation of peace. He reconciled believers to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Romans 5:6-11). He brought personal intimacy with God, and the privilege of being children of God (Romans 8:14-17). This intimacy is what all the OT covenants anticipated. In Isaiah, God even declares that his servant, the Messiah, will be the covenant for the people (Isaiah 42:6; 49:8).
Through Christ believers are united to him and thereby themselves become “Abraham’s off-spring” (Galatians 3:29). Believers become heirs to the promises of God made to Abraham and his offspring: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:28-29).
CHRIST AS THE LAST ADAM
Christ is not only the offspring of Abraham but the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45-49). Like Adam, he represents all who belong to him. And he reverses the effects of Adam’s fall.
SHADOWS, PREFIGURES, AND “TYPES”
1 Corinthians 10:6 indicates that the events the Israelites experienced in the wilderness were “examples for us.” Greek word for “example” is typos (aka “type”). A “type,” in the language of theology, is a special example, symbol, or picture that God designed beforehand, and that he placed in history at an earlier point in time in order to point forward to a later, larger fulfillment. Animal sacrifices in the OT prefigure the final sacrifice of Christ. The temple, as a dwelling place for God, prefigured Christ, who is the final “dwelling place” for God.
CHRIST AS THE MEDIATOR
The Bible makes it clear that ever since the fall of Adam into sin, sin and its consequences have been the pervasive problem of the human race. God is holy, and no sinful human being, not even a great man like Moses, can stand in the presence of God without dying: “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (Exodus 33:20). Sinful man needs a mediator who will approach God on his behalf. Christ, who is both God and man, and who is innocent of sin, is the only one who can serve: “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (1Timothy 2:-6). In a much smaller/subordinate way, Moses serving as a mediator for the Israelites prefigured Christ’s ultimate mediation for us. So understanding of the unity of the Bible increases when one pays attention to instance where God brings salvation, and instances where a mediator stands between God and man.
Instances of mediators in the OT includes PROPHETS (bring the word of God from God to the people), KINGS (bring God’s rule to bear on the people), and PRIESTS (represent the people in coming before God’s presence). Also can look at them as WISE MEN (bring God’s wisdom to others), WARRIORS (bring God’s deliverance from enemies), and SINGERS (who bring praise to God on behalf of the people and speak of the character of God to the people). Mediation occurs not only through human figures, but through institutions. COVENANTS (bring God’s word to the people), TEMPLE (brings God’s presence to the people), SACRIFICES (bring God’s forgiveness to the people).
In reading the Bible one should look for ways in which God brings his word and his presence to people through means that he establishes.