The Bible is at times so grand and the plot so complex it’s sometimes difficult for most of us to gather details about God’s will for us. We rely on scholars and theologians to interpret passages, but because of disagreement among scholars we are forced to choose what we feel is most correct. That’s why it’s good to take an overview of the scriptures to discern the context; I describe this view as a “helicopter view.”
During my time in the Army, situations on the ground became much clearer when viewed from a position that permitted a view of the entire operation, not just one small perspective on the ground. This was done by finding high terrain, using unmanned arial vehicles (UAV), or jumping in a helicopter and seeing first hand the big view. This helicopter view is important when studying single scriptures to better understand the intent of the writer’s message to the recipients. The same can be said concerning the complete collection of biblical collection of writings. So what’s the story?
Much of the Bible is written in narrative form complete with characters, plot, and plot resolution. True to the narrative form, characters are divided into the protagonists or the main character, antagonists or the person bringing the conflict, and agonists who are the other characters that get involved in the struggle. One of the best summaries is provided by Fee and Stuart in their book How to Read The Bible for All Its Worth:
In the biblical story God is the protagonist, Satan (or evil people/powers) are the antagonists, and God’s people are the agonists. The basic “plot” of the biblical story is that the Creator God has created a people for his name – in his own “image” – who as his image bearers were to be his stewards over the earth that he created for their benefit. But an enemy entered the picture who persuaded the people to bear his “image” instead, and thus to become God’s enemies. The plot resolution is the long story of “redemption,” how God rescues his people from the enemy’s clutches, restores them back to his image, and (finally) will restore them “in a new heaven and a new earth.” (90)
We are being called back to the image of God through Jesus Christ. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20ESV)
…to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 2:16-18 ESV)
Fee, Gordon D. and Stuart, Douglas. How to Read The Bible for All Its Worth. Zondervan Grand Rapids 2003. ISBN 0-310-24604-0