The True Story of the Whole World: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Drama
By Michael W. Goheen and Craig Bartholomew (Brazos Press)
Surely, Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew must take the prize for the most audaciously titled book of the year. Actually, it is an abridged and updated revision of their 2004 book, The Drama of Scripture. Readers familiar with N.T. Wright’s work will recognize the metaphor of the biblical narrative as a drama, and the authors acknowledge their debt to Wright for that approach.
In fewer than 200 pages, Goheen and Bartholomew provide an easily accessible overview of Scripture as the story of the King and his kingdom, structured in six acts with an intertestamental interlude halfway through the drama. They use as their outline a half-dozen themes: creation, fall, restoration initiated, restoration accomplished, the mission of the church and restoration completed.
The key contribution of Goheen and Bartholomew is the effective way they relate the overarching story of Scripture to the lives of everyday people today. The authors make it clear the Bible is more than simply a book of religion or the history of an ancient people. They demonstrate not only how God’s actions provided Israel a unique sense of identity and purpose, but also how God’s work in human history offers meaning to every person. By their reckoning, the story of the Bible, in a real sense, is the grand unifying story that offers a framework for understanding God, the universe and everything in it.
After helping readers consider contemporary applications for each act in the drama, the authors include a section of discussion questions, “Finding Our Place in the Story,” at the conclusion of every chapter. The open-ended questions provide a good springboard for discussion in a small-group setting, as well as for personal reflection.
Ken Camp, managing editor