The Bible is more than a storybook

02.01.2016

EJ Farley-CCSM 2015Guest writing today on the Cross Church School of Ministry blog is E.J. Farley. E.J. serves with the Cross Church School of Ministry as a resident minister on the Pastoral Ministry track. E.J. joins the CCSM from Cincinnati, Ohio.

My father is a pastor and has been for my entire life. Consequently, I grew up in the church. As a matter a fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of Sundays I missed church while growing up. Even if we were traveling, we were guaranteed to be in a church somewhere on Sunday. That’s just how it was.

As a kid in the church, one of my favorite things about Sundays was Sunday School. I can still remember my Sunday School teacher’s name—Faye Galberth. We called her Ms. Faye. What I loved the most about Sunday School was the great Bible stories we were taught. It would usually be the classic stories of the Old Testament like David and Goliath, Jonah and the big fish, Adam and Eve, the story of Moses, etc. Ms. Faye would read to us from storybooks and we even watched animated movies. She was a great storyteller and she always made learning fun. She would always point out the lessons that we could learn from each of these stories. For example, I remember how she taught us how we should be courageous like David when he faced a Goliath-like challenger, and how we should always follow God’s instructions, unlike Jonah. Every story ended with a moral lesson.

That was many, many years ago. Yet, I still can vividly remember some of the stories I learned in that class. It was those same awesome stories that really got me interested in learning more about Jesus and the Bible. Ms. Faye’s Sunday School class was my introduction to God’s Word. And for that I am grateful.

But now, as I’ve grown older, I realize that many of us today still view the Bible with that same mindset. We view it as a collection of great stories with moral lessons from which we can learn. And though there are things we can definitely learn from each and every story in the Bible, we must remember that the Bible is ultimately about God and not about us. It is about God’s sovereign plan and the revelation of this plan to us. And His plan ultimately points to His son Jesus, who came to die for our sins. As Paul writes in Galatians 4:4, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law”.

So yes, learn from the courage of David. Learn from the courage of Esther. Show the forgiveness of Joseph. Imitate the faith and obedience of Abraham. Pray for the wisdom of Solomon. But always remember that these flawed individuals were just instruments that God used as apart of His greater story.  Though the Biblical men and women did great things, they were only used to point to someone greater. Their stories were only glimpses of the coming Messiah.

So as you read about the stories of the bible, instead of asking yourself, “how does this story apply to me?” ask yourself, “how does this story point to Jesus?” And if you answer the latter question, the answer to the first will be evident. He is the answer to everything we need or desire.

The Bible is more than a storybook full of entertaining stories that teach us moral lessons. It is a unified narrative that shows God’s plan for all of history. And that plan is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. It all points to Him.

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