Essentials in the Biblical Storyline Part 3 – Promise (Gen 4 – Mal 4)

In some ways this might be the most difficult chapter of the biblical storyline to condense neatly and succinctly since it covers the time from the fall to the advent of Christ. The OT is filled with significant promises, covenants, events, etc. that ar important for the biblical storyline, but as you think of the big picture which one are especially crucial for understanding the storyline?

Think in terms of promises, covenants, specific figures, events, etc.

3 thoughts on “Essentials in the Biblical Storyline Part 3 – Promise (Gen 4 – Mal 4)”

  1. As I’ve indicated in some previous comments, I’m teaching a first-year UK university level module on biblical theology at the moment, and one of the strategies I have adopted is to go through the biblical story. I had just over one class session on this portion of the narrative (approx. 1.25 hours). I had an opening section where I tried to highlight some recent studies (e.g., Dempster’s Dominion and Dynasty, and Pate et al.’s The Story of Israel) as examples of those who read the history of Israel from a biblical-theological perspective, and then had a second, longer section where I outlined the following points as significant, from a biblical-theological perspective.

    1. The promise to Abraham
    2. The redemption through Moses
    3. The covenant at Sinai
    4. The entry into the land
    5. The giving of the monarchy
    6. The building of the temple
    7. The judgment of exile

    By this time in their first year, students have completed a survey of the biblical history, so the point of this exercise was not to repeat the history as such, but to foreground some of the important biblical-theological themes arising out of the history.

    I then had a separate section on the exile in biblical theology which went like this…

    1. The loss that comes with exile

    2. The writings that flow out of exile

    3. The restoration that follows exile

    (a) New king (Jeremiah 23:1-8; 30:9; 33:14-26; Ezekiel 34:1-31; 37:22-28)
    (b) New land (Ezekiel 34:25-31; 35:1-36:15)
    (c) New people (Ezekiel 36:16-37:25)
    (d) New covenant (Jeremiah 31:27-34; Ezekiel 34:25-30; 37:26-28)
    (e) New exodus (Isaiah 40:3-4; 41:17-20; 43:1-2, 16-21; 48:20-21; 49:24-26; 51:9-11; 52:3-12; 61:1)
    (f) New Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2-4; chs. 60-62)
    (g) New temple (Ezekiel 40-48)
    (h) New creation (Isaiah 11:1-9; 65:17-25)
    (i) New ‘bringers of salvation’ (Isaiah 42:1-9; 44:1-5; 49:1-7; 52:13-53:12; Daniel 7)

    4. The hope that still awaits the end of exile?

    The final sub-point here was my hinge into the next chapter (Jesus) and was also designed as a way of introducing Tom Wright’s (disputed!) views on exile.

    If you or any readers have any constructive comments about what more I need to include, or what could be left out, I’d be grateful to hear them.


  2. Antony,

    Thanks for this lengthy and helpful post. I like what you’ve done here. My only question under your list of seven would be what particular scriptural passages do you emphasize for each of these? I like the idea of giving people key texts associated with each so they have a specific place to go in their bibles.

    Looking at this list here are the texts I would highlight under each:

    1. Gen 12:1-3; 15:1-6
    2. Exod 12
    3. Exod 19:1-20:26; 24:1-18
    4. Josh 21:43-45
    5. Judg 21:25; 1 Sam 8; 2 Sam 7
    6. 2 Sam 7; 1 Kgs 8
    7. 2 Kgs 17:7-23; 2 Chr 36:15-21

    What do you think? Do you already use some of these texts?

    Re: exile and N.T. Wright, at some point I’d like to post on that because his views are an example of attempting to use biblical theological categories for Jesus and redemption. The question in my mind is whether he does so in a reductionistic manner. But that is perhaps for another post!

  3. I did try to look even very briefly at a ‘purple passage’ for each of the points, pretty much the ones you mention – Genesis 12, Exodus 12, Exodus 19, etc., although I also want to encourage students to move beyond the citation of individual passages to seeing the points played out across salvation history.

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