This Sunday I begin a new Sunday school series with my teens–“Understanding the overarching storyline of scripture.” As part of the curriculum a developed, I’ve been looking forward to teaching this series for quite sometime. I think the teens will enjoy it. And I think we’ll all learn a lot in the process.
In contrast to many traditional “youth groups,” I’ve tried to organize and execute our teen ministry at Lake Drive much differently. One of the most significant difference is that we don’t spend a whole lot of time teaching what I might call more “secondary” material. Rather, I’ve designed our curriculum to focus on core elements of the Christian faith (e.g., theology, the gospel and evangelism, books like Romans and John, etc.) in the hopes of providing the teens with a solid foundation by the time they graduate.
One of those foundational topics, I believe, is understanding the unified story of the Bible, understanding how all of the distinct parts of scripture fit together.
The Bible is composed of 66 books and was written by around 40 different human authors over the span of around 1,500 years! But, at the same time, the Bible is one book that tells a unified story of redemption found in the person of Jesus Christ. So, how does the Bible fit together? Where do all of these Bible stories many of us know fit into this storyline? Unfortunately, many Christians–many adult Christians–are unable to answer these sorts of questions satisfactorily. In this series, I’m going to proactively try to reverse that trend, at least with the teens I have. We are going to study the Bible’s unified story of redemption that ultimately culminates in the person of Jesus Christ.
In more technical terms, this sort of study would fall under the discipline known as Biblical theology. And this happens to be one of my favorite things to study, hence some of my excitement for this series.
I’m going to organize our study into the following lessons, each tackling a significant era in redemptive history (besides the first and last lessons):
- The patriarchs.
- The exodus.
- The law.
- The wilderness wanderings.
- Entrance and life in the promise land.
- The monarchy.
- Wisdom and songs for God’s covenant people.
- The prophetic hope.
- Return from exile.
- Intertestamental period.
- The incarnation.
- The ministry and teaching of Jesus.
- The saving work of Jesus.
- The Church.
- Summary and implications.
To be clear, I’m not trying to present a Biblical history. Our goal won’t be a chronological tracing of events. Our investigation will be much more theologically focused as we seek to understand how the theologically interpreted history recorded in the Bible tells a unified story of redemption.
In the midst of these lessons, we will take time to investigate key themes in Biblical theology as they pop up. Such themes will include the image of God, covenant, kingdom, seed, land, circumcision, sacrifice, priest, rest, remnant, gentile inclusion, and much more. We will also take time each week to notice how our current era of redemptive history ultimately leads to and culminates in Christ.
And finally, along with this in-class study material, I will (hopefully) be having the teens read through Vaughan Robert’s immensely helpful, and very easy to understand, book, God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible. I will also have them look at key texts that provide us with helpful summaries of redemptive history.
I’m looking forward to it!