Skip to main content

Everything is Connected

Most people see the Bible as a collection of sayings. It’s a book of pithy sayings, rules, and moral fables that have no relationship with each other. It’s a toolkit when you have a problem and you pick the right tool and fix your flat tire or hammer the nail. If you have trouble with careless spending, read Proverbs. If you have marital issues, read Song of Solomon. If you're depressed, read the Psalms. If you need some excitement, read Revelation. It’s not that the Bible can’t be read that way – it certainly can. But it’s so much more than a collection of wisdom, prophecy, and rules.

The Bible is a story of God’s creative and redemptive work in humanity. It is a love story. And everything in the book is connected to everything else. The beauty of a great story is its ability to make connections – to make connections within itself and to make connections with the audience. 

I read the Hunger Games trilogy awhile go and really enjoyed it. Suzanne Collins knows how to tell a story and each book in the trilogy is connected to the others. The third book is called Mockingjay. The bird is a hybrid of a mockingbird and a genetically engineered bluejay. And she begins seeding that image in the first book. Katniss receives the mockingjay pin and it later becomes a defining symbol of rebellion in the final book.

A good storyteller makes connections. God is an incredible storyteller and the Bible is full of connections. The scriptures are connected in so many ways - Old Testament with New Testament, Jews to Gentiles, different people to Jesus, and most of all, how God connects with us.

The question you wrestle with when you approach the Bible isn’t whether the section you’re reading is related to everything else. It is connected. The question is how? And as you get to know the text, you realize how closely connected everything is and there’s these myriad themes tied together that pull everything together.

In Breaking Bad season 2, they seed the beginning of latter episodes with a slow pan over the main character’s backyard. You see all kinds of carnage, figures in white radioactive suits, and then the camera zooms onto a teddy bear with its eye missing. And the camera just lingers there. And at least five episodes begin with this shot and each time they show you a little more but you have no idea what you’re looking at. Until you get to the end of the season. That's how the Bible unfolds.

Genesis 1-2 describes how God created the heavens and earth. He places man and woman in a garden with the tree of life and a river runs through it. The garden is God's perfection. God is seeding something here.

Later in Genesis 4, Cain builds a city in rebellion against God. In Genesis 11, mankind builds the city of Babel to reach the heavens. Cities are evil. Cities are man's creation. And yet God places his temple in the city of Jerusalem. He sends Jonah to reach Ninevah. He blesses the city. 

Finally in Revelation 21, a new heaven and earth arrive. The New Jerusalem descends out of heaven. And in the middle of this Holy City, a river flows down the main drag. And the tree of life straddles the waters.  The garden was perfect but the city is better. 

Between Genesis and Revelation, everything is connected. God seeded something in Genesis and the result at the end is a hybrid of the journey between God and man. The Bible is the story of how it all unfolds.

So when you approach the text with questions like what is being seeded here? What themes are being pulled forward and expanded on in this section? How does this connect with everything else?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Dad's Review of Passport 2 Purity

[3,100 words, 11 minute read] The sex talk is one of the most dreaded conversations parents anticipate having with their children. To make things easier, an entire industry exists to help parents with sex education. Dozens of books have been written to help parents navigate this treacherous topic with their progeny. One of the best known among evangelicals is called the Passport 2 Purity Getaway package . It is produced by FamilyLife, a division of Cru (former Campus Crusade for Christ) and consists of a five lecture CD package including a journal and exercises designed as a weekend retreat for a pre-pubescent child and his/her parent(s). Passport 2 Purity was not my initiative. Our trip came about because Judy had heard from several home-schooling mom friends how they had taken their daughters on a road trip to go through the CDs. She even heard how a mom took a trip with husband and two sons to through the curriculum. So a couple months ago, Judy suggested we take our two older boy

Why Asians Run Slower

My brother got me David Epstein's book The Sports Gene . It is a fascinating quick read. If you're interested in sports and science, it will enthrall you.  I finished it in three days. Epstein's point is that far more of an athlete's performance is due to genetics than due to the so-called "10,000 hour" rule promulgated by books such as Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin (both which are very good). The 10,000 hour rule states that any person can reach expert level of performance in a sport if they devote 10,000 hours of deliberate and intentional practice.  That's a lot of hours. Most people aren't capable of anywhere close. And that's precisely Epstein's point. Someone who devotes 10,000 hours of sport-specific practice is likely genetically gifted for the sport in extraordinary ways AND genetically gifted in their ability to persevere and benefit from practice. Therefore, a person who can pra

Unsolvable Problems in Marriage I: Lowering Expectations

Different expectations of conflict From a recent Facebook post: Working on a post about unsolvable problems in marriage: For those who have been married five or more years, on a scale of 1 to 10, how much expectation did you have entering into marriage that communication could resolve any conflict between you and your spouse? How would you rate that expectation now? People often enter into marriage thinking that most if not all their conflicts can be resolved. Women come into marriage thinking "I can make my husband a better man". Men come into marriage thinking, "My wife will learn to see things my way". This idealistic view of marriage does not survive contact with the enemy. Even for couples for whom the first years of marriage are conflict-free, raising children is its own brand of unsolvable problem. And then there's sickness and mental health issues, job changes, unemployment, moving, and shifts in friendships. Conflict in marriage is inevitable. A number