The following is an exercise that I have utilized several times to gauge my students present an understanding of the Biblical narrative. According to Barna’s report on spiritual growth in 2017, millennials reported Bible reading as the most important spiritual discipline, but less than 30% noted any reading in a previous month. I would put forth that in my experience, there is a high level of Biblical illiteracy in every generation. This issue is something our Church leaders need to address with a more intentional approach.
The tool I use is a simple ten-name framework – five Old Testament individuals and five New Testament individuals. From each of these names, different narratives and doctrines are attached for more natural referencing and deeper dives into the work of God across history. To begin, I have my audience try to name five individuals from each group, so that signify the crucial changes in the story. We then go through them and my suggestions. So, here are the following names I use to tell the Bible story and some of the doctrines and other narratives attached to them.
Creation, Marriage, The Fall
The flood, Covenant, Righteousness
Covenant, Faith, Patriarchs and Israel, Salvation by Faith
Slavery in Egypt, Exodus, The Law, The Promise Land, Judges
History of the Kingdoms, the Messiah and David’s throne, the devils attempt to destroy the seed of David on the throne through exile and corruption.
John the Baptist
The last Old Testament prophet who reminded the people of the promises of God and provided the final connection to the coming Messiah.
Everything the Scripture points toward. The Gospel and all that includes. Need I say more?
Represents the early church and its growth and struggles. The day of Pentecost and living under the Holy Spirit. Begins the transition from grace centered on the Jewish population toward the inclusion to the Gentiles.
The apostle to the larger Gentile world. Furthered the expansion of the church, its organization, and practical theology.
John the Beloved
Brings closure to the New Testament by pointing forward to life under the victorious Christ in uncertain times for an undetermined period. Demonstrates that God is still on the throne, and Christ will make all things right.