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God's Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible Paperback – November 15, 2003
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"God's Big Picture will serve as an excellent introduction to the Bible for anyone perplexed or overwhelmed by its seeming breadth and diversity." (Mark Traphagen, Modern Reformation, November/December 2007)
About the Author
Vaughan Roberts is rector of St. Ebbe's Church in Oxford, England, and author of God's Big Picture and Life's Big Questions. He is also a popular speaker at Spring Harvest and a founding member of "9:38" which encourages people to consider full-time gospel ministry.
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Roberts defines the kingdom of God as "God's people in God's place under God's rule and blessing" (21). Roberts's definition of the kingdom of God is significantly important for the entire book. Throughout the book, he chronologically traces the kingdom of God following this definition. Each chapter provides the reader with a chart helping them understand where God's people, place and rule were within particular areas of history. In addition to this chart, there was another chart, which showed the progression from creation, fall, history of Israel, Christ and the new creation (157). The final chart presented the line of Israel beginning with Abraham progressing to the Northern and Southern split, the Southern exile and release, Jesus and the last days (158).
The book is divided in eight chapters focusing on the pattern, perished, promised, partial, prophesied, present, proclaimed and the perfect kingdom. The main chart illustrating the kingdom of God is included at the end of each chapter to help the reader understand the progressive unfolding of redemptive history. The books main agenda is to introduce the reader to the storyline of the Bible. The writing is not scholarly, but it will equip the reader with the proper tools to help them understand where they are when they pick up their Bible.
Roberts's book may remain one my favorite entry-level books to teach others Biblical Theology. Teaching others the storyline of the Bible by utilizing Roberts charts has proven significantly practical for learners. Roberts understanding of the Kingdom as God's people in God's place under God's rule will help you identify where you are within any book in the Bible. Buy it, read it and enjoy!
I'm not sure I share his eschatological views. What I do resonate with, though, is the idea that God's agenda to bring his kingdom, and his king, to earth is a relentless pursuit.
So many say the God of the Old Testament is wrathful and grumpy compared to the loving God portrayed in the New Testament. Such uninsightful baloney is arrived at in part through selective viewing and misunderstanding of what's been read. Ergo the title.
Roberts does a good job of showing that everything God does throughout history is motivated by love and care. The fall of man that led to the rise of violent civilizations required counter-measures that seem harsh and cruel by today's standards. That we have standards at all, however, is evidence of the forward progress of his agenda.
Again, Roberts makes this clear through his well-written, thoughtful, engaging and easy to read book. He inspires much renewed hope in unifying the Bible's message and focusing God's loving intentions throughout history into a laser sharp point.
Highly recommended, especially since it's so helpful and easy to read. It's a good starter in biblical theology (to use the technical term).