Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Forest and the Trees

If you don't see how all of Scripture points to Jesus, it dwindles down to a collection of moral principles and historical accounts.  Two books I've read recently seek to show this main message of Scripture.  But they do it in very different ways.  Justin Buzzard's The Big Story shows you the forest, while Todd Friel's Jesus Unmasked shows you the trees.  Read just Buzzard and you'll miss a lot of beauty and depth.  Read just Friel and you'll get confused.  Buzzard provides the map of the national park; Friel gives you the botanical guide. 

The Big Story will help you understand the 'metanarrative' (storyline) of the Bible.  Others have outlined this as "Creation-Rebellion-Redemption-Consummation"; Buzzard uses the similar outline of "God-Creation-Rebellion-Rescue-Home".

Jesus Unmasked explains how Jesus is the focus of, and the gospel is portrayed in, such stories as Noah's ark, Moses' rock, the tabernacle, the bronze serpent, the sabbath, the seven festivals, to name just a few.  

Here's a chart to help you see the strengths of both.

Highly organized and sequential
Highly detailed and occasionally zany
Quotes from trusted authors, with relatively few direct quotes from the Bible.
Lots of quotes from the Bible (even includes a Scripture index)
Informational (you could teach this)
Proclamational (you could preach this)
Theological rabbit trails
Both men are good writers and good Bible students. I consider myself fairly familiar with the Bible, but I learned significant things from both books.

 I seem to have too many books and too few disciples. Consequently I find myself with no one to whom I can give either of these excellent books. Jesus Unmasked would not work for someone from another culture (too many quips that only Westerners would understand).  If you, or someone you know, would be interested in a free copy of one or both of these books, please contact me. 

I purchased Jesus Unmasked, but I received The Big Story for free from Moody Press in exchange for an unbiased review.

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