As the Bible is an ancient text, it makes sense that much of it is a recording of history. But to respond by merely reading it as a textbook would be a mistake, for this is history written with a very particular purpose. Namely, it is a theological history — its authors, under the inspiration of God, make theological arguments by the way they tell the stories, and what they include in them.
The books of the Kings are a prime example of this. A small group of historians sat down, with the Israelite exilic community of around 500 B.C. in mind, and aimed to explain how it is that the nation found itself in the place it was in. They had compiled what happened before, written it down, recording it for the generations that follow, in the hopes of helping Israel understand why they are where they are, and who they are where they are.
The lessons they draw are helpful for us in very similar ways. Their efforts are an attempt at grabbing us by the collar to get us to slow down for a moment, and to look behind us — in our case, around 2,500 years behind us — to see where we’ve come from, in the hopes of positively influencing where we are going, and who we will be when we get there.
These historians use three powerful types of characters to tell the story and unfold their theology. And it becomes clear that there is a sobering warning here, and great hope. A warning of a very clear and present danger in this world, and a message of hope for the one and only way it can be overcome.
If you’d like to explore this book of the Kings further, to see how that unfolds, I suggest you continue by means of the following helpful resources:
- Watch last week’s sermon on Kings.
- This video, The Story of The Bible, is a superb 5 minute summary of this kind of theological history.
- And this 6 minute video on sin, from the Bible Project’s “Bad Word Series,” helps us understand this very clear and present danger in the world.
- Click here to find a whole page of videos, milestones, study resources, and recommendations for further reading and study on the 400-year history of the Kings.
Finally, be sure to dive into the book of Isaiah in preparation for this coming Sunday. Plan ahead in your reading, as this one is 66 chapters long! As always, please feel free to email me with questions about, or ideas for, The Whole Story.
A fellow follower of the King,
Pastor Matthew will be preaching on the book of Mark this coming Sunday, January 20. Here are some tips for your Bible reading that you received in last week’s Weekly Bible Reading email.
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