The Drama of Scripture: Introduction
I’ve begun working through a new book The Drama of Scripture by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen. The book gives a whirlwind tour of the overarching story of Scripture, Genesis to Revelation. They take an approach I am a big fan of and borrowed from N.T. Wright, looking at Scripture as a drama with separate acts, where it is important to remember the place of each act within the larger story and how that changes our interpretative framework.
But first, some may be asking an important question: why would we want to view Scripture in this story framework anyway? Particularly if you are inclined toward a flat view of Scripture where every verse is to be interpreted the same way with no interest in genre or context, it is an odd question to ask. The authors explain why in their Preface:
Many of us have read the Bible as if it were merely a mosaic of little bits – theological bits, moral bits, historical-critical bits, sermon bits, devotional bits, narrative bits. But to read the Bible in such a fragmented way is to ignore its divine author’s intention to shape our lives through its story. All human communities live out of some story that provides a context for understanding the meaning of history that gives shape and direction to their lives. If we allow the Bible to become fragmented, it is in danger of being absorbed into whatever other story is shaping our culture, and will thus cease to shape our lives as it should. The dominant cultural story of the secular Western world has been twisted by idolatry. If as believers we allow this story (rather than the Bible) to become the foundation of our thought and action, then our lives will be shaped not by the story of Scripture, but the lies of an idolatrous culture. Thus the unity of Scripture is no minor matter: a fragmented Bible may produce theologically orthodox, morally upright, warmly pious idol worshippers!
If our lives are to be shaped by the story of Scripture, we will need to understand two things well: that the biblical story is a compelling unity on which we may depend; and our place within that story.
Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen, The Drama of Scripture, ix-x