You may find it difficult to figure out exactly where your story is going. You might think that your life is a little off or wonder, “What is the purpose in it all?” But the truth is, you cannot understand the story of your life apart from Jesus.
Your story begins with a creating God. The Bible proclaims that you are created in God’s image. Your beginning started in the mind of a majestic God. Everything beautiful, spiritual, wonderful, and eternal about you is the result of God’s divine image woven into your spirit from the start.
Louie Giglio is Pastor of Passion City Church and the Founder of the Passion movement, which exists to call a generation to leverage their lives for the fame of Jesus. Louie is also the author of national-bestseller Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table, Goliath Must Fall, and Seeing God as a Perfect Father (June 2023). He is also the general editor for The Jesus Bible, born out of the Passion Movement. The Jesus Bible Study Series explores the six acts of Scripture. Below we speak with Louie about the first volume in that series, BEGINNINGS: The Story of How All Things were Created by God and for God.
In the Welcome section of The Jesus Bible, you wrote that the Bible is “the unique story of God from beginning to end, with one central character – Jesus Christ.” How does that influence the way you read Scripture?
When you understand that the main thread of the entire Scripture is the person and work of Jesus, it changes everything about how you and I can engage with the Word. It shifts the text from information to revelation. The individual books are no longer just collections of random stories, but each chapter, every verse, becomes a lamp illuminating a slightly wider view of this central character.
Seeing Jesus as the central thread magnifies the beauty of this Holy Scripture. It elevates the intentionality of the Author, recognizing this story didn’t come to be by accident or by coincidence. The one central character of Jesus gives credibility to the power of sustaining faithfulness from generation to generation, language to language, culture to culture.
When you begin to see Jesus on every page, your heart and mind can’t help but be overwhelmed by the enormity of God’s love. Highlighting Jesus as the central character enriches the text and extends the implications of what you are reading. It’s no longer words on a page. It’s a peek behind the veil. It’s no longer a duty to check off. It’s a work of relational intimacy as you continue to uncover truths about your Savior that stuns your heart anew.
What are the six “acts” in the story of Scripture, and how do they help us connect with Jesus better?
Scripture can seem like a massive story, especially if you are just picking it up off a shelf and flipping through the pages. But just because it’s dense doesn’t mean it has to be daunting.
That’s why we summarized the major movements of Scripture into six “acts”: Beginnings, Revolt, People, Savior, Church, and Forever.
These acts provide a quick outline that you can use to dive deeper into specific moments of the overarching story. They also give you a framework for seeing Jesus throughout the entire Bible.
If we’re not careful, it’s easy to isolate Jesus to the Savior act. After all, that’s when He seems to come onto the scene. Yet, because we know the different acts are interconnected and know that God set everything into motion from the beginning, we are challenged to go looking for Jesus in the other 5 acts. And as we look, we begin to see Him everywhere.
Colossians 1 tells us that by Jesus and for Jesus all things were created. He was in Beginnings. Romans 5 outlines the distinction between the one man Adam and the one man Jesus, and as you read, you begin to understand that the promise of Genesis 3:15 was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. He was there in the Revolt as well.
Jesus is in the covenantal promises to his People through Abraham, Moses, and David. He is the originator and sustainer of the Church, and He will be the centrality of all glory and worship Forever.
When you begin to see Jesus in every act, there is more of Him to connect with. He’s no longer just the baby in the manger. He’s the builder of the mountains. He’s no longer just the
miracle-worker and parable-teller. He’s the culmination of God’s faithfulness to His people, fulfilling every promise and every covenant perfectly. He’s not just the perfect man who died for the sins of the world. He’s the ongoing head and leader of God’s rescue mission on planet Earth.
Ultimately, seeing Jesus in every act deepens our awe of His power and our appreciation of His sacrifice.
What’s the benefit of studying one “act” of the Bible at a time?
As we continue to walk with Jesus and interact with His Word, it’s vital that we not only know the grand Story of Scripture but that we also look more closely at each of the individual “acts.” It’s a constant balance of zooming out and zooming in, of switching between your telescope and your microscope as you study.
Any great thing that’s worth studying is better understood when you zoom out and zoom in. Take the Apollo 11 mission, for example. What might stand out to many about that particular flight is the fact that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. And that’s a big deal. But that’s just the zoom out.
In talking about that mission, Neil Armstrong himself said that it was only with the help of “hundreds of thousands of people all doing their job a little better than they have to,” that the moon landing was successful. Each detail, each component, each role, combining together to make a lasting mark on history. That’s what you see when you zoom in.
The same is true of Scripture. We want to know the grand story, the telescope view because it helps assure us of the big picture. Jesus wins. He fought for us on the Cross and broke the hold of death by His resurrection. The outcome is that redemption is now possible for people who were once far off from God.
But if you zoom in, the details and examples of how this all happened start to become more clear. Each act has threads that give context to the larger narrative. The people, events, promises, places; each of these things help add more layers, and consequently, more appreciation, to what we know is the eventual outcome: the victory of Jesus.
The first volume of The Jesus Bible Series is appropriately titled Beginnings. What is the scope of this study?
The scope of Beginnings takes readers on a journey through Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. You might read that and think, “Seriously? Only two chapters?” But that’s the beauty of the Word of God; even a single line of Scripture could merit our study and attention for years or generations to come.
Within Genesis 1-2, we see the seeds of six major ideas or threads that will continue throughout the rest of the Old and New Testaments. That’s where this Beginnings study goes. Starting with the first seed, or the act of Creation, we look deeper at the inspiration of wonder and worship, of God’s intentionality and His desire for relationship with His creation.
Then we look more closely at The Trinity. The three persons of God and their roles and inner workings as One God. We look at the Imago Dei and the confidence and responsibility that comes with being made in God’s image. We dig deeper into the seed of Uniqueness and the dazzling beauty and unending creativity of God’s creation. We finish this study by expanding on the idea of Work as seen in the Garden of Eden and throughout the Word, before we conclude with the necessity of Community and the power of the relationships around us as we lean towards God.
What is one takeaway that you want participants to understand after completing this Beginnings study?
I think that the Beginnings study ultimately is a great reminder that God has never done anything by accident. He’s been working, from day one–and even before that–to accomplish His plans and purposes. That includes you and me.
From the beginning, He was intentional. From the beginning, He was loving. He was full of goodness, life, hope, and peace. From the beginning, He was in control, all-powerful,
Because He is God and we know that He cannot change, that must mean that He is still all of those things today. If you’re in a place or a season where you need that to be true, you can look back to the beginning and be assured that He is still speaking, still creating, still drawing near, still fulfilling His promises.
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