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The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story Paperback – November 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"'... [enables] even the beginner to grasp the sense of Scripture as a single great story - a drama in which we are all invited to pay a part. I am delighted to see solid scholarship made easily accessible in this splendid fashion.' Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham 'The Drama of Scripture should be read, discussed, and acted on by Christians everywhere... Engaging almost every book of the Bible, Bartholomew and Goheen help us see the dynamic forward movement of the story that has not yet reached its end. The story encompasses us and calls for our conscious, enthusiastic engagement.' Jim Skillen, President, Center for Public Justice, Washington, D.C" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

This updated and revised edition surveys the grand narrative of the Bible, demonstrating how the biblical story forms the foundation of a Christian worldview.

Praise for the First Edition

"Much recent scholarship has emphasized the narrative quality of Scripture. This book takes that insight and brings it to life, enabling even the beginner to grasp the sense of Scripture as a single great story--a drama in which we are all invited to play a part. I am delighted to see solid scholarship made easily accessible in this splendid fashion."
--N. T. Wright, University of St. Andrews; former bishop of Durham

"An intelligent, engaging overview of the narrative of Scripture in six acts. Bartholomew and Goheen have produced a clear and theologically sensitive account of the Bible that is perfect for college students or adult Bible study groups."
--Christopher Seitz, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

"This is a vivid introduction to reading the Bible as a coherent story of God's purposes for the world. It will not only help the new reader but also enable the experienced reader to distinguish the central themes of Scripture from mere sidelights."
--Gordon J. Wenham, author of Story as Torah and Psalms as Torah

"A volume that will help inexperienced readers of the Bible get a view of the big picture before moving into more atomistic treatments of the Bible. It will serve well in introductory level Bible courses and may serve equally well in basic courses in hermeneutics. Its easy, nontechnical language will make it a popular text with such students."
--Review of Biblical Literature

"Every once in a while a book comes along that immediately meets a real need. This is one of those books. . . . [It] will serve college students, pastors, and scholars well in their efforts to understand and live the Christian story."
--Canadian Evangelical Review

"The book succeeds in making a case for a cohesive narrative in scripture, most successfully in relating the NT to OT in themes of covenant and promise, and when exploring briefly the idea of the contemporary Christian church continuing to be a player in the drama."
--Journal for the Study of the New Testament --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; 6th edition (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801027462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801027468
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Professor of Theology on May 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a marvelous book that everyone in the church would benefit from reading! Written by two professors at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, it tells the whole biblical story from Genesis to Revelation as a drama in six acts with an interlude in the middle. In the first three "acts" God establishes his kingdom (creation), there is rebellion in that kingdom (the Fall), and God through Israel initiates redemption. In the interlude (the "intertestamental period") God's kingdom story waits for an ending. Then the story is completed with the coming of the King (redemption accomplished), the spread of the news (the church's mission), and the return of the King (redemption completed). What is marvelous about this book is that it is written so creatively without cliches so the reader sees the biblical story as if for the first time. The authors are convinced that most people read the Bible as a mere jumble of history, poetry, lessons in morality and theology, comforting promises, guiding principles, and commands. They never realize that the Bible is fundamentally coherent and challenges the "idols" of modern culture. This book deserves a place in everyone's library.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A. Blake White on June 11, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Drama of Scripture" (213 p.) by Bartholomew and Goheen is an excellent read! I don't know much about Bartholomew but Michael Goheen did his dissertation on the missional ecclesiology of Lesslie Newbigin who is really the father of missional theology and has been very influential to many of the emerging church leaders. This book was designed for an intro course in Biblical Theology. The authors want the reader to become familiar with the storyline of Scripture, and help articulate a biblical worldview to live out as God's sent people. They write, "The Drama of Scripture tells the biblical story of redemption as a unified, coherent narrative of God's ongoing work within his kingdom (11)." They argue for a narrative reading from Genesis to Revelation. It is similar to a popular form of Dempster's "Dominion and Dynasty." Scripture should form our metatnarrative. They use the theme of kingdom to structure the book in 6 acts: Creation, Fall, Redemption Initiated, (Intertestamental Period), Redemption Accomplished, The Mission of the Church, and Redemption Completed.

They basically walk through the storyline of Scripture, with an eye to missional living throughout. I highly recommend this book! The chapter on the intertestamental period was very insightful for setting the background of the Jews and the coming of Christ. I also appreciated the emphasis on inaugurated eschatology, and the emphasis on the cosmic scope of redemption. 5 out of 5.


"Furthermore, the kingdom of God has arrived in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Two great figures stand at the entrances to two worlds: Adam stands at the gate of the old world, Jesus at the gate of the new. Adam's first sin inaugurated the old age and brought sin, death, and condemnation.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. Stephans VINE VOICE on September 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
The Drama of Scripture provides a big-picture look at God's relationship to humanity as the creation and dream of God. The authors analogize the Biblical story to a 6 act play consisting of the following acts: Creation, Fall, God Chooses Israel, Coming of the King, Spreading the News (Church), The Return of the King.

The theme running through the book is God's desire and commitment to his original creation idea and his willingness to restore the fallen world through a personal sacrifice.

The authors follow the narrative of scripture from Genesis to Revelation with the addition of the Maccabee story in Israel's history. They offer some in depth writing on few topics while offering a comprehensive survey of the story promoted as the metanarrative for all people. They tie in the events to the theme of God's mission for humanity.

This overview of scripture would be helpful to readers trying to see the story of the Bible in a more condensed form. It reminded me of the mission of the church today, as the authors stress the unfinished business of the church and God's Spirit on earth. The chapters on the church's mission are most creative and enthusiastic; however, the authors zip through the concluding chapter on The Return of the King and the discussion of Revelation and end times.

The authors stress that God's plan is for total restoration of creation not partial restoration. They identify areas where Israel went astray from its mission and where the church may be missing the mark today.

Overall, a very helpful book but one that may be too elemental for mature students of the Bible.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jerrell Jobe on July 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
There are a number of ways of engaging Scripture. One is to engage it through the Lens of a Story.

Stories are powerful. They shape how we see the world.

Scripture is the most powerful story ever recorded.

It is literally, HIS-STORY. It is the Story of God’s pursuit of humanity. In fact, you can take the first 3 chapters of Genesis and the last 3 chapters of Revelation and you have pretty much the complete story in and of it self. Now much happens, we know in between…

If Scripture were a Drama or a Play, it could be broken up into 6 Acts. Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen, in their book Drama of Scripture, The: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story do a great job of laying out Scripture in such a fashion. I often reference this book and walk through this framework when introducing/teaching through the storyline of Scripture. This is a great resource for both someone new to Scripture, as well as someone who is well versed.

Scripture as a 6 Act Drama

1. Creation: God Establishes His Kingdom
2. Crime/Crisis/Fall: Rebellion in the Kingdom
3. Israel: The King Chooses Israel
a. Scene I: A People for the King
b. Scene II: A Land for His People

Interlude: Intertestamental Period

4. Jesus: The Coming of the King - Redemption
5. NT & the People of God
a. Scene I: New Testament and the Early Church – Jerusalem to Rome
b. Scene II: the ongoing story of the Church – To the ends of the Earth
6. Restoration of all Creation: The Return of the King
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