Now, we will all agree that there are divisions in Scripture, after all, the language of ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Testaments naturally lends itself to some sort of division. And Jesus does say, “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.” (Luk 16:16 ESV) But then in the very next verse he says, “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.”(Luk 16:17 ESV)
So, which is it? Is the Bible a book divided into separate stories and methods of salvation? Or is it a unified history of God’s eternal purpose of salvation through Christ? Could it be that it is both? Sorry to lead you on, because it’s not both.
The Bible is, however, one book that has been written in 66 acts, so to speak. (Unless you add Ruth to the end of Judges, and combine 1 and 2 Samuel into one book, 1 and 2 Kings into one book, and 1 and 2 Chronicles into one book, which would make the Bible one book written in 62 acts.) This fact of the Bible as one book can most clearly be seen as we study the opening chapters of Genesis in light of the closing chapters of Revelation. 66 works+45 writers+1500 years+the Holy Spirit=1 book, united around one central theme…and here’s where it gets hairy, what is that theme?
Many think that the one theme of the Bible is their own personal salvation. Others view Israel, or the ‘promised land’ (either Canaan or Heaven) as the central theme. Still others view the Church as the theme that unites all of Scripture. Don’t get me wrong, all of these are important themes in Scripture, themes that should never be downplayed in their importance, but none of these themes are the theme that unites the Bible as one book. So what is this theme? The theme that unites all of Scripture as one book is God.
Time for a theology lesson! The God of Scripture is a Trinity. That is, he is one in essence, yet distinctively three in person. So when I say that God is the theme that unites all of Scripture, I am saying that Scripture is united in it’s revelation of the Triune God. Now we could get specific and talk about all of God’s attributes and how they are revealed to us in the pages of the Bible, but I don’t have time to do that right now. Instead we’re going to g a little broader and catch the scope and significance of this one complete revelation of God.
Back to the theology lesson…The God who is revealed in Scripture is three persons, united in one substance, undivided yet distinct. One God, three persons. Nobody said it was easy to understand. But it is true, so it is to be believed. God is a Trinity. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The classic definition of the relationship that exists among the three Persons of the one God goes something like this…
God the Father is neither begotten nor proceeding. The Son is begotten but not proceeding. The Spirit is proceeding but not begotten. The Son is begotten by the Father and the Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son together. Though the Son is begotten by the Father, and the Spirit is proceeding from the Father and the Son, they are all three co-eternal and co-existent.
The Son is eternally begotten as the Father is eternally begetting, and the Spirit is eternally proceeding as the Father and Son are eternally sending. So the order is not first the Father, then the Son, then the Spirit. But they are each eternally existing since, the Father as begetting is eternally begetting, therefore the begotten Son must needs be from eternity. And as the Father and Son are eternally sending, the Spirit must needs be eternally proceeding. So when the Father is, so the Son and the Spirit united with Him are. And when the Son is, the Spirit and the Father united with Him are. And when the Spirit is, the Son and the Father united with Him are. These three are one God, united in nature and substance, distinct in person.
So what does all of this have to do with the unity of the Bible? I’ll tell you Monday.