Stories influence; they shape values and transmit ideologies. Stories shape us into the people that we are. We are all story-shaped.
Stories and the lives of individuals consist of six components:
- A setting (Everyone has a personal, family, community—local and global—context)
- Characters (Both positive and negative people are a part of our family-story, our communal-story, and our global-story)
- Conflict (Turmoil exists internally, domestically, communally, and globally)
- Movement (No life is stationary. Every day offers new story ingredients)
- Climax (Every person, family, community—locally and globally—reaches a crisis point)
- An ending (No one escapes death)
Subconsciously we want a story greater than our own and we know that such a story exists. Sadly, we settle for inferior stories (the characters in books, sitcoms, reality shows, and movies) and then wonder how we’ve become the people we’ve become—completely self-absorbed.
John Trapp warns, “As water tastes of the soil it runs through, so does the soul taste of the authors that a man reads.” The same truth applies to the stories we view and hear broadcasted on the big screen and read from a variety of sources. As water tastes of the soil it runs through, so does a person’s soul taste of the stories in which they immerse themselves.
Pure water comes by filtering water through different materials. A filter does for water what the story of the Bible does for a person’s soul. God story filters out the dross from the truth. It opens the eyes to spiritual reality—to the need of redemption. The Bible reveals the real God who has a real solution to the real problem of real people.
What happens when those within the church only know bits and pieces of His Story and cannot tell its story?
- Sexual immorality and idolatry increase as the understanding of God, as He has revealed Himself through the Scriptures, grows dim.
- When people don’t know life’s Creator and His Story, life simply does not make sense.
- People live narcissistic lives when God is in none of their thoughts..
God calls His people to Bible literacy and invites them to find their place in His Story—to live in such a way that it entices others to know the story greater than their own.
Bible literacy is similar to puzzle assembly.
Puzzles are chosen by the picture on the puzzle box. First, the assembler extracts the straight edges and corners from the box and puts them together to provide the outside structure for the puzzle. Then, using the cover as a guide, he inserts one piece at a time into the puzzle’s structure from the various piles he has compiled by their color scheme.
That’s not what we’ve done with Bible study! Few know the panoramic story the Bible tells or the infrastructure of the story. People love the bits and pieces (topical, character, and book studies) that they’ve managed to put together and even applaud themselves for their ability to assemble those favored pieces. Imagine the appreciation of those few connected pieces should they them connect to the straight edges and corners. Then, imagine the increased appreciation as the entire puzzle comes together. That is Bible literacy!
The Chronological Bible Teaching/Discipleship materials were developed to counteract the decline of Biblical literacy within the evangelical community. Knowing the story of the Bible and the God of that story transforms secular-thinkers into those who operate from a Biblical worldview. Respected author Larry Crabb describes how the lack of understanding God’s story affected him:
In 2006, after knowing Jesus for a half century, after years of active involvement in church, I realized I knew bits and pieces of Bible truth, lots of principles and lots of doctrine, but I didn’t really know the story it told. Without story truth, I’ll flirt with atheism, struggle with unbelief, pray without passion (except maybe anger), remain devoted to my story, and continue in hopeless addiction to myself.
— Larry Crabb, Real Church (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009), page 99.
Bible literacy and knowing God, as He has revealed Himself throughout the story of the Bible, drives missional living. Without Story-truth, believers default to living no differently than those around them. Paul urges believers to resist such conformity and actively pursue transformation of the mind, which in turn, produces noticeable change in behavior. Genuine transformation occurs as the Author of the grand narrative illumines the mind, reveals the heart, and empowers the feet of believers so that they discover their own place in His Story.
Chronological Bible Teaching seeks to:
- Provide the picture on the box (help people understand the chronological story of the Bible)
- Put together the straight edges and corners of the story (provide a simple 14 era structure as a framework for the Bible’s story)
- Unpack the theology of the individual stories (provide a set of questions that assist the student in discovering truth for themselves)
- Connect the individual stories to the meta-narrative (build Bible literacy)
Through the ages God’s people have told and lived the story. Moses, David, Nehemiah, Peter, Steven, and Paul all knew the Story. Jesus told the Story and said it was about Him. The church and her people are the custodians of the Bible’s story. If the church doesn’t know the Bible’s story, then who does? We must know His Story and take up our place in His Story.
Bible Literacy Tracks (See Resource Tab to order materials)
|CBT Personal Devotional Study Companion – One Year® Chronological Bible, NIV (Tyndale, 1995)||His Story, My Story – 14 week study teaching the meta-narrative of the Bible (workbook and DVDs)||CBT for Sunday School - 52 lesson companion to the One Year® Chronological Bible, NIV (Tyndale, 1995)|
|CBT Personal Devotional Study Companion – Reading God’s Story: A Chronological Daily Bible (Holman, 2011)||W3: Women, Worldview, and the Word – 52 week discipleship for womenSpanish edition in Spring of 2013||CBT for Sunday School – 52 lesson companion to Reading God’s Story: A Chronological Daily Bible (Holman, 2011)|
|M3: Men, Mindset, and Message – 52 week discipleship for men||CBT for Students - a 52 lesson companion to Reading God’s Story: A Chronological Daily Bible (Holman, 2011) Coming soon!|