We tend to only read and study a few verses of Scripture at a time, maybe a whole chapter. This is true of preaching, Bible studies and personal quiet times. There s an important place for this in-depth study and reflection. However, the risk is that we can lose sight of the big picture. A book of the Bible or a section of it builds up a narrative or a logical argument. Letters and Gospels in the New Testament were designed to be read as wholes. In the Old Testament, there is a story that builds up from Genesis through to 2 Kings and if we don’t get the whole story, we lose something of its meaning.
So, there is a place for stepping back and seeing the bigger picture. In fact, this is something I specifically encourage preachers to do before diving into a new series. Over the next few articles here on faithroots.net we are going to be looking at the big picture of a few Bible books.
First of all, we are going to get the big picture of Ecclesiastes as part of our Enigma Sermons series. Then I’m going to take you to a couple of books that I’ve been preparing to teach and preach on. We are going to have a look at Genesis 37-50 to get the big picture of the Joseph story. Finally, we will have a look at Paul’s second latter to the Corinthians.
Why not read through these books and pick up on the themes that arise. When you’ve done that why not try for yourself. Choose a book and read it through. I suggest Mark’s Gospel which can be read in 1 hour sitting. Read it through once and then read it through again with your notepad open noting down themes, repeated phrases, key characters, surprises and challenges as you go along.