THE BIBLE’S BIG PICTURE
A “purpose-centred” focus
© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 5 June 2020
God has made Himself1 known to people throughout history. This has been recorded in the Bible – it is “His story”!
[NOTE#1: To see a footnote, just click on the footnote reference number.]
The Bible has a vast amount of unique and vital information. The challenge is to increase our understanding of it. Whatever way we follow, there are no easy shortcuts. But the effort is profoundly worth it. In fact it really is a must-do for every person!
[NOTE#2: You can get a free download of the whole Bible at www.biblegateway.com, either onto your computer or as an app on your device. This has many English translation versions of the Bible, also versions in several other languages. There is a look-up tool to find verses quickly, as well as devotional readings, study tools and other aids.]
This website aims to provide a way that makes sense by following the Bible’s historical time sequence. What God made known about Himself was increased by Him with the passing of time. The range of peoples involved and geographical locations also expanded.
I have identified nine historical Eras in the biblical record [see OV5 – listed under OV in the Index]. The boundaries between these Eras were whenever God changed the ways people were to know and respond to Him. This was mostly when God introduced further “Covenants”. I have then used boxes-and-arrows flow charts to show the “big picture” for each historical Era.2
Many attempts have been made to produce an overview of the whole Bible. These are usually built around a focal point of meaning, such as:
# God’s sovereignty
# the Covenants and covenantal relationships
# the Kingdom of God
# Christ in all the Scriptures
# the Gospel of Christ
# the history of redemption
Do these provide a really unified picture of all the Bible’s contents? In the writings of some great Christian researchers, they do! Each has their own perspectives, gifts of insight and communicating.
My perspective is that God’s purposes are the unifying theme throughout the Bible. God’s actions are driven by His intentions, to produce His results. Because God is all-knowing and all-powerful, He always achieves His purposes. He even knows the outcomes in advance. The Bible is a history-based record of all this.
Here are some key verses from across the whole Bible that overwhelmingly support this God’s purpose-centred focus:
[NOTE: You don’t have to go to your Bible to look up these verses! To read them, just place your pointer on the Bible reference – see “Bible verse references” in the HOW-TO’s menu.]
Genesis 41:32, Job 36:5, 42:2, Psalm 33:10-11, Proverbs 19:21, Isaiah 14:24,26-27, 46:10, 55:11
John 12:27-28, Acts 2:23,24, Romans 8:28,29-30, Ephesians 1:9-10,11-12, 3:10-11, Philippians 2:13
But does God have a primary purpose?
If we could know God’s primary purpose, surely this would explain everything else in the Bible. I see this “Why?” emphasis as providing a central connection between all biblical themes.
In Era 1 (1A3) I have developed from the Old Testament the first part of a definition of God’s Primary Purpose, as follows.
God’s Primary Purpose in all of His creation:
To express His own glorious nature forever, beginning especially on Earth by making Himself known to people worldwide, and through them as they respond to Him.
I emphasise that this definition is based only on my research for Eras 1 to 5 (Genesis to Ruth, Job and Psalm 90). Further extensions of this definition based on the New Testament, which I have not yet fully researched, could be as follows:
God accomplished His Primary Purpose on Earth by sending His Son Jesus Christ there as a man, and especially through His death and resurrection.
God will ultimately accomplish His Primary Purpose eternally in Heaven, where His own glorious nature is totally expressed and His chosen people will fully know Him, love Him and be like Him.
Some key verses are listed below that emphasise the purposeful expressing of aspects of God’s own glorious nature, by making Him known worldwide TO and THROUGH people, and supremely THROUGH His Son Jesus Christ.3
Exodus 9:14,15-16, 33:13,19, Deuteronomy 7:9, Joshua 4:24, Psalm 145:10-12, Isaiah 43:10,11-12,13, Jeremiah 23:20, 31:34, Ezekiel 28:22, 38:23, Daniel 4:17
John 16:13,14, 1Corinthians 2:7,10-11,12
In doing the “big picture” in this way I have had a strong sense of discovery, that “it works”! My hope and prayer are that it will “work” for you too…
To get started, read the HOW-TO’s instructions.
Then go to the INDEX list and:
go straight in, by starting on Chart 1A. CLICK on: Era 1 – from CREATION to the FALL, and work down through the items there.
to get a general introduction, go to: OV – Overview: The big picture.
to get into some of the basic issues involved, go to: CA – Confronting assumptions.
start with the New Testament, go to: NTS, then NTQ and NT1-4
You can also ask questions, make comments and give feedback. Just CLICK on “Your Comments”. And get replies.
This website is offering you all of this – and its all FREE.
1. The use of a capital letter “H” for personal pronouns referring to God (“He”, “His”, “Him”, Himself”) is traditional, to convey due reverence.
I have also retained this usage because it is helpful in distinguishing these pronouns from those that refer to other male persons. (Return to reading).
2. I have applied my purpose-centred perspective to each Era, illustrated by boxes-and-arrows flow charts (see OV6, 7, 8) with detailed explanations for each box and arrow. (Return to reading).
3. I have listed many more key verses here (but I wouldn’t expect you to read them all!). They are just to show that this is a central, recurring theme throughout the whole Bible. These verses are mostly selected based on the occurrences in the Bible (NIV) of the words “know”, “known”, “knowledge”, etc. Significantly, these verses show that God could make Himself known TO people either positively or negatively, depending on how they were responding to Him.
[yes, these are huge lists of Bible verses! But it’s so much easier being able to browse across any of them here, instead of having to look them up in a Bible].
Genesis 41:38-39, Exodus 6:7, 7:5, 8:10, 10:2, 16:11-12, 18:9,10-11, Numbers 16:28, 24:16, Joshua 23:14, 1Samuel 17:46,47, 2Samuel 5:12, 1Kings 18:36,37, 2Kings 5:15, 19:19, Job 19:25, 37:6-7, Psalm 100:1-3, Proverbs 2:5-6, Ecclesiastes 2:26a, Isaiah 11:9, 45:5,6, Jeremiah 11:18, 22:16, 24:7, Ezekiel 34:27, 37:14,27-28, 38:16, 39:28,29, Joel 3:16,17, Zechariah 6:15
Matthew 11:27, John 8:19, 10:14-15, 14:9, 15:15, 16:13,14-15, 17:24,25,26, 1Corinthians 2:9,10, 13:12, Ephesians 3:2-3,4-5, 1Peter 1:20, 1John 3:2, 4:6,7, Revelation 1:1-2 (Return to reading).