Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.
Discussion: The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight
From Chapter 5, “The Plot of the Wiki-Stories: How Does the Bible Work?”
To read the Bible as a story means that there are basic literary elements to the Bible when read from beginning to end.
It has a plot (creation to consummation), it has characters (God – Father, Son, and Spirit – and God’s people and the world and all creation around them), and it also has many authors who together tell the story.
McKnight states that there are basic elements to the plot of the story that center around five themes:
Plot: Creating Eikons (Genesis 1 – 2); Theme: Oneness
Plot: Cracked Eikons (Genesis 3 – 11); Theme: Otherness
Plot: Covenant Community (Genesis 12 – Malachi); Theme: Otherness expands
Plot: Christ, the Perfect Eikon, redeems (Matthew – Revelation 20); Theme: One in Christ
Plot: Consummation (Revelation 21 – 22); Theme: Perfectly One
Definition of Eikon: An image, figure, likeness of a) an image of the things (moral likeness of renewed men to God; image of the Son of God to which Christians are transformed); and b) the image of one (one in whom the likeness of any one is seen; applied to man on account of his power of command; to Christ on account of his divine nature and absolute moral excellence).
The most important thing is this:
The unity of the Bible is this Story. It is this Story that puts the Bible together. Our grand systems do not for the unity of the Bible; the Story that God tells forms and frames that unity.
McKnight explains the five themes as follows:
Creating Eikons: Designed for Oneness
Nothing in the Bible makes sense if one does not begin with the garden of Eden as a life of oneness – human beings in union with God and in communion with the self, with one another, and with the world around them. Life is about “oneness” – oneness with God, with ourselves, with others, and with the world. When this oneness is lived out, God is glorified and humans delight in that glory. This is our Creator’s intent, but oneness was about to take a hit in the second element of the Story.
Cracked Eikons: Distorting Oneness, Creating Otherness
The problem that the fall creates can be called “sin,” though that word is not used in Genesis 3. Sin is a cracked relationship of otherness with God, with self, with others, and with the world. The redemptive plan of the Bible is to restore humans into a oneness relationship with God, self, others, and the world. This otherness problem is what the gospel “fixes,” and the story of the Bible is the story of God’s people struggling with otherness and searching for oneness.
Covenant Community: The Struggle for Oneness
This covenanted community, which focuses on oneness with others, will shape the rest of the Bible. God’s idea of redemption is community-shaped. Oneness cannot be achieved just between God and self; rather, oneness involves God, self, and others, and the world around us.
Christ, the Perfect Eikon: Oneness Restored
God accomplishes four things in Christ (incarnation, death, resurrection, and pentecost), each of which contributes to the restoration of oneness. These four moments do the job, end the otherness, and create the oneness that the story of the Bible has been yearning for. We need each other; without that, otherness continues to reign; but when the strength of each is tapped into, oneness can be found.
Consummation: Oneness Forever
Jesus’ first work, the accomplishment of oneness in his first coming, stands now as partial redemption. The fullness of that work, complete union and perfect oneness, when God once again opens the gates to Eden for Adams and Eves, will be consummated only when Christ returns again to establish the new heavens and the new earth.
Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand. I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your rights hand.
Proverbs 11: 29 – 31
Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?
Photo credit: Kathi – Lovely dahlia