As you read through the entire Bible, there will be many times that you see the writers refer to some of the major themes of the Bible. I look for four major themes as I read through scripture: creation, fall, redemption and restoration. If you focus on finding references to these themes, you will be reading the Bible from a solid perspective and you’ll find all of the wonderful ways that individual books and stories of the Bible point back to God and His plans as the main theme of scripture. Welcome to Bible Comprehension 101!
Bringing the Bible to Life for Mom
Spoiler Alert: The Bible is About God!
These four themes are important because from them, we learn a lot about God’s character, God’s plans and how we fit into his plans. As you read scripture from the point of view of what I’ll call The Big 4, you will move away from a narcissistic reading of scripture and begin to have a greater understanding of what God is doing in the world. The book is, after all, a story about God’s unfolding plan. He is the main character of the book, not you and me. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of self-centered Christianity out there that takes the focus off God and places man at the center of the story. The danger in this approach is that it can quickly lead to heresy. None of us want that, right?! So, the big spoiler alert is that the Bible is about God (not you)! That’s our first lesson in Bible Comprehension 101!
Learning About God in Creation
Our second lesson in Bible Comprehension 101 is to focus on one of the Big 4 Themes – Creation. Creation is an important theme in the Bible because it’s where God establishes himself as infinite, all-powerful, creative, all-knowing, as well as, detailed, intimate, and compassionate. The Bible begins with God’s infinity, assumed from the first line of the Bible. In the beginning of all we know and see, God was there. God’s power to create something from nothing is on clear display in creation. Within the creation story, we see that God’s wisdom is far beyond our own, we see him establishing protective boundaries to keep nature in place and to keep mankind protected from evil.
We also see an abundance of creativity and detail in the vast array of what God creates. He displays his compassion and concern for Adam that he should have a suitable helper. And he is an involved God. Notice that God does not set things in motion and then walk away. On the contrary, God walks in the garden with mankind. Adam and Eve know his footsteps and his voice. These details point to God’s character. We learn a lot about God in the creation account.
There are a few basics about God and man that are established in the creation account. It’s a good practice to make a list of some of the things you learn as you read. And in the creation account, there are more things you can learn about God than you realize! You can probably find more, but here is my list:
- God has always existed.
- God created everything from nothing.
- As creator of everything, God has the authority to set rules and order.
- God established rules to protect mankind and help him flourish.
- God created a pattern of male and female in animals and humans.
- God’s creation culminated when he made man and woman in His image.
- God established the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman at creation.
- Mankind was given a purpose in the world, to reflect and bear the image of God and to steward the earth.
- Every human being deserves respect and dignity as an image bearer of God.
- God’s plan for mankind was good.
- God created mankind to have a relationship with him.
- God delighted in his creation.
As you read through the Bible, look for these basics! This is all part of Bible Comprehension 101!
Bringing the Bible to Life for Kids
Let’s Begin with Creation
Why don’t you give it a try now! With you child, read Genesis 1 and 2. You’ll want to choose a translation that is easy for them to understand. I use the NIrV version with our grandkids. Now talk through the following questions. Let your children make the discoveries, that makes learning fun for them.
- Ask what your child learns about God from this passage.
- Make a list of what you learned about God.
- What do you learn about how things were created?
- What did God think of his creation?
Now Read Psalm 148
Next, with your child read Psalm 148. This time, you are going to help them make the connection back to what they just read in Genesis 1 and 2. In this way, you will model for them how to read the Bible as a whole, not just separate parts. You can help them understand that the Bible is a book about God and his unfolding plan. Now talk about the following questions:
- What are some of the things in this Psalm that remind you of what you have just read in Genesis?
- What are the most repeated words in this Psalm?
- What do you learn about creation from these verses?
- Why does creation praise the name of the Lord?
- Share what new things you learned about God in this Psalm.
- What instructions does this Psalm give us?
- Give an example of how you praise the name of the Lord.
Wow! How wonderful that was to read Psalm 148 and have a better understanding of that Psalm based on what we learned in Genesis about creation and about God. This is just one small example of how God reveals to us who he is in the Bible. You will understand the Bible much better if you look for what you can learn about God in each story. It will also help to ask yourself how a passage relates back to what you have learned about creation.
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