As the title of the book suggests, Vaughan Roberts tries to help us understand the one big idea of the Bible. He wrote the book with the aim of ‘providing all Christians, from the new convert to the mature believer, with an overview of the whole Bible that would help them see how the different parts fit together.’
The writer uses the kingdom perspective to help us understand the storyline of the Bible, by tracing the theme of the kingdom of God from Genesis to revelation. In the introduction, Vaughan starts by explaining the Bible as one book with a diverse collection of writings, one author, and one subject. He also explains that the Bible is not a book of quotations and not a collection of books. He then goes ahead to explain the Bible as one book. He says’ The Bible must be understood and read as one book with one ultimate author, God, and one ultimate subject, God’s plan of salvation through His son Jesus. Vaughan then introduces the theme of the kingdom of God which he chronologically traces from Genesis to Revelation in the rest of the chapters of the book. He defines the Kingdom of God as ‘God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule and blessing’. This definition is significant in the rest of the book as he helps us understand in each chapter where God’ people, place and rule were within particular areas in history. In addition he uses charts and illustrative diagrams to help us trace the storyline. Vaughan has divided the Bible into eight sections which form the chapters of this book.
Chapter one focuses on the pattern of the Kingdom as God had designed it to be. We see Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden under God’s rule enjoying perfect relationships. With God, with each other and with the rest of the creation at the beginning of Genesis. In chapter two we see a perished Kingdom, Adam and Eve are banished from the garden due to disobedience which is followed by curses. Interestingly the author helps us to see God’s mercy extended right from Genesis 3. The rest of the chapters follow with the promised kingdom with the call of Abraham, the partial kingdom with the Israelites in Canaan. The prophesied Kingdom with the remnants of Israel and inclusion of nations, the present kingdom with Jesus Christ (the new Adam, new Israel). The proclaimed kingdom with the new Israel (Jews and Gentiles, believers in Christ).This is the era that we are in with the command to preach the gospel to all nations. Finally Vaughan talks of the perfected Kingdom with the multinational family of God.
This book has challenged me a lot in how I handle the Bible, seeing that it is God’s unfolding plan and not just random ideas. It will be of great help whenever I listen to sermons or I handle a certain book/passage as I will be able to trace the timeline in the storyline of the Bible. I mostly love the encouragement from Vaughan not to forget the vertical relationship with the Bible in the rush to put Jesus in the context. The whole Bible is about God and thus being keen to see what a passage says about Him and what it is saying to me in regard to His nature. I would recommend the book to any Christian particularly wishing to get the timeline of the Bible and understand it as one book.
Book title: GOD’S BIG PICTURE (Tracing the storyline of the Bible)
Author: Vaughan Roberts
Reviewed by: Daisy Njenga
Serving at St Josephs Mission Hospital, Voi