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Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving, and Living God's Word Paperback – July 7, 2011
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“Welcome to the Story reads, well, like a story—full of many interesting and important characters. The reader will find intrigue and mystery, striking beauty and hideous ugliness, noble and courageous heroes along with wicked and contemptible villains, all depicting the richness and sweeping breadth of this story. Along the way, one encounters many testimonials from others who likewise have been involved in this story, and the reader is invited to consider how he or she also should enter this story. In the end, Nichols shows how this story is the Story of all stories, since its central character is none other than the King who is over all kings, the Creator and Author of the story in which He plays the leading part. I encourage you to read this story, enter the story, and join in making this Story—the Story above all stories—your story.”
—Bruce A. Ware, T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Nichols has written a delightful and inviting book on how to understand and live out the Bible. The storyline of the Scriptures is sketched in, and the book is full of wise advice on how to read and live out what God requires. I recommend the book with enthusiasm.”
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Professor of Biblical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
About the Author
Stephen J. Nichols (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) serves as the president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer of Ligonier Ministries. He is an editor of the Theologians on the Christian Life series and also hosts the weekly podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.
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Top Customer Reviews
His book and approach are not unique. However, this is an good choice for an audience that needs a gentle, conversational approach to get them started.
There is nothing new nor profound in what Stephen writes, but he does bring it in a very refreshing way as he walks us through the totality of scripture and describes the best way to understand the Bible. He starts by pointing out that any good book has a beginning, a middle and an ending, as well as a consistent plot line. Well then he points out that the Holy Bible is consistent with that concept. It falls under the outline of A. Creation, B. The Fall, C. Redemption and D. Restoration.
Nichols points out that the Bible begins with Creation. God created a perfect environment for man to live in and to have fellowship with him. But very quickly after the creation we have The Fall of man into sin. That happens just three chapters into the book, literally just a couple of pages into the story. The Fall is the problem that occurs and the rest of the Bible is the story to tell us how God is going to redeem for Himself a people whom He can call his own and then provide them with the restoration of the sweet fellowship He desires with them.
On page 44 Nichols gives us a definition of 'sin' that helps us to see what the problem of the story is and what has occurred that causes the story to have to take a certain path. Nichols goes on to point out on page 46, that "we live in a culture that seems rather content to ignore our true condition." What does he mean by that? He means that we have fallen into sin and that we love to wallow in it and not really work very hard to correct our life's course and return to the fellowship with God that God intended at the Beginning of Creation. He further explains on page 64 that, "Americans have a problem, they read the Bible through the lens of their culture -- not as the Lord intended!" He then goes on to explain how best to read the word to help gain a firm understanding of what God is doing in His Story.
To help with that several of the chapters have a list of "Questions to ask" while reading the different styles of writing in the Bible. These questions are really good and will help anyone wanting to understand their Bible better how to ask good questions, do good research and understand the flow of the story through the Bible.
I think my favorite chapter in the book is Chapter Six, The Story within the Story. The reason is that in this chapter Nichols points out about finding ourselves in the lives of the different Characters who are written about in the Bible. He uses Peter, Paul and Mary (the mother of Jesus) as examples of characters who are human just like us and faced many of the same issues that we faced in life but yet God spoke to them and used them in a mighty way. This was a great chapter for helping to think through how to read about the different characters and using their life circumstances to help us better grapple with our life circumstances.
This is a very quick, short read, but will give you many profound ideas on how to read and understand God's Word.
"Our personal story is actually a distortion of reality and a desire for significance. God's story is reality, and significance can be ours with even a walk-on bit part, because pleasing and glorifying the Creator is the most significant experience offered to created beings." Clem, Disciple, 15)
It's not only our personal stories that can be distortions of reality. Our reading and understanding of Scripture can suffer from the same distortion. Yes, God's story is about us. It is about our creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. but that is our part in the story. More than our story the Bible is the story of God and we play bit-part's in it.
Stephen J. Nichols has written Welcome to the Story with the hopes of inviting readers to "enter in, to participate in, the story of the Bible". Nichols traces the Bible's plotline of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration, then he starts teaching a street-level hermeneutics course.
That's really what this book is: a street-level hermeneutics course. I have been looking for this book for quite some time. I love Goldsworthy's books outlining God's story. I found a good amount of help from Vaughn Roberts' God's Big Picture. I found Dr. Wellum's hermeneutics class immensely helpful. Furthermore, works like Stephen Dempster's Dominion and Dynasty and Christopher Wright's The Mission of God helped to open my eyes to seeing the big picture of God's story. But up until this book by Nichols nothing seemed to translate into the pew.
Now I finally have something that I can give curious members of my church. Now there is something that we could use as a small group study to teach the storyline of the Bible in an engaging way. Now there is something that I can use as an introduction to biblical theology with young men that I train for ministry.
I share Tom Schreiner's enthusiasm for the book when he says, "Nichols has written a delightful and inviting book on how to understand and live out the Bible. The storyline of Scripture is sketched in, and the book is full of wise advice on how to read and live out what God requires. I recommend the book with enthusiasm."
There is enough in here to teach a seminary level course but it's written in such a way that the average Bible reader would be able to understand the concepts. As I read through the book I found myself engaged, helped, and at the end I finally realized what Nichols had done. I thought to myself after finishing the book, "He just taught a hermeneutics course, oh my goodness, how did he do that?!?!"
This book is very helpful. No matter what your level of Bible reading this book belongs in your library. For only 10.81 you can treat yourself to an engaging seminary course that you won't even notice is a seminary course. Buy it today!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is good for new believers, and Sunday school teachers.