AUTHOR: Lewis, C.S.
PUBLISHED ON: May 6, 2003
PUBLISHED IN: Bible Studies

                          A SUMMARY OF THE BIBLE

While the Bible is full of history, poetry, and principles for living, all
are tied to a single main theme.  This theme begins with the very first
words of the Old Testament (OT) and is consistent across both testaments,
right to the end of the book of Revelation.  This is a summary of that

1.  The very first words of the Bible (Genesis 1:1) are “In the beginning
God created the heavens and the earth.”  This can be called in a word,
“Creation.”  According to the Bible, there actually was a beginning of time
and space, so one can actually know the historic origin of things.

This most basic verse in the Bible states more, however, for it makes plain
that at the time of the “beginning”, God existed.  He is in fact “eternal.”
So at the outset the Bible takes into account the fact of what has been
called a “supernatural reality.”  Everything there is, in other words,
cannot be judged on a materialistic or physical basis.  God the Father, God
the Son, and God the Holy Spirit existed before the beginning, and it was
this Trinity Who decided to create.  Which is also another way of saying
that we live in a personal universe.

The Bible therefore begins by assuming God’s reality and thus explaining
the origin of the material world.  But it also answers a question troubling
many persons: “Who am I?”  Rather than just a “speck of protoplasm floating
on a sea of meaninglessness,” as one person described him, man according to
the Bible is a creature made by God, and as such bears His image.  Man
really is somebody!  He has value and worth!  And furthermore, as God’s
creation, he has been given a purpose.  God designed him with something
particular in view, and man despairs until he fulfills it.

So God began by creating the first man, Adam, and the first woman, his wife
Eve, and He put them in a beautiful place called the Garden of Eden.  Here
the first couple enjoyed their worth and purpose before God.  It really was

Now God certainly showed that He loved man, but He also wanted man to love
Him.  God is personal after all.  He’s living.  He can be
known…communicated with…loved.  So God arranged for the testing of
man’s love for Him.  Would man choose to maintain his wonderful
relationship with his Creator, or would he go independent?  The Bible
states that under the temptation of Satan, a rebellious and fallen angel,
Adam and Eve wilfully chose to go independent.  In effect, they rebelled
against God and His love.  So in this way, sin historically came into the
world.  The covenant–God’s arrangement with man–was broken.  Man by his
choice had brought down on himself and his descendents all the consequences
of his rebellion of which God had warned him…guilt, shame, misery, and
ultimately, death.

Now the whole story could have ended here.  God could have just wiped
everything out and started again.  But His plan was to establish another
arrangement or covenant by which He would restore a people for Himself.  In
Genesis 3:15, God declared that He would bring this about through “the seed
of the woman,” and that’s what the rest of the Bible is all about…how God
would do it.

This promise was first given to Adam and Eve.  Later God renewed it to
Noah, the man who built the ark at the time of the Great Flood.  Still
later God appeared to a herdsman named Abraham and said that through his
“seed–a person–all the nations of the earth would be blessed.  Abraham’s
son Isaac was next to hear the promise, and his son Jacob (later called
Isreal) was chosed to get this good news.  Jacob had twelve sons, and the
choice fell on Judah, the one from whom the name “Jew” derives.  Thus,
through the descendents of Jacob or Isreal, God made clear His Messiah, His
annointed One, would come.

2.  When you begin reading the second book of the Bible, Exodus, the
children of Isreal, you’ll find, had become a nation down in Egypt, and God
was going to lead them back to Canaan–what is now modern Isreal–by a man
named Moses.  Moses led all these people across the Red Sea and on toward
the Promised Land until they came to a place called Mount Sinai.  There on
Sinai, a craggy peak you can visit today, God summoned Moses to meet with
Him, and on that historic occasion God gave Moses his “Law”, what has been
commonly called the “Ten Commandments.”

Now this Law came from God, Whom the Bible describes as holy, pure, good,
and everything right.  And the Law showed that kind of character.  That is
why there is a right and a wrong; because of the way God is.  But when man
looks at this Law, he discovers that he’s not that way himself…he is
unGod-like.  This Law, being perfect and righteous, suddenly makes a man or
woman realize how different from God he or she has become when it comes to
character.  Loss of temper, depression, self-centeredness, discontent,
hate, murder, war, …on and on we could go naming evidences of the stark
truth that man is a law-breaker.  While it is often hard for a person to
admit this, at least it gives a plausible answer to his or her question,
“What am I like?”  The answer is simply, a rebel against God and His Law,
and also suffering the consequences.  Unlike what many people think, God
gave Moses his Law in Exodus 20 so man could know his real condition.  It’s
like what one reads in the New Testament (NT) in Romans 3:20; “…through
law comes the knowledge of sin.”

With this Law, however, came hope as well, for God also gave careful
instructions to show how such sinful persons could worship and find
acceptance with such a holy God.  Since the first sin committed by Adam
brought death and its curse, so it could bo only through death (sacrifice)
that God would accept man.  That may sound strange, but that really is the
way it is, according to the Bible.  Consequently, God gave detailed
directions for offering sacrifices, including a place of worship called a
Tabernacle (or tent), and elaborate duties for a regiment of special
priests.  Now the Bible explains that the ritual itself did not make the
people holy or acceptable to God, but rather it pointed to the coming
Messiah–the seed of the woman as promised –Whose predicted death would
make man acceptable to God.  The “Old Testament”, therefore, the first part
of the Bible with its kings like David and Solomon, through whose
descendents the promise would come, all looks forward to this Coming
One…the seed of the woman.

3.  As one begins to read the “New Testament”, he discovers something is
indeed new!  The Promised One is coming.  Born of a young virgin named
Mary, supernaturally conceived in her by the Holy Spirit, God’s Son came
into the world.  He was named Jesus for He would “save His people from
their sins.” Thus, born in Bethlehem in poor conditions and reared in
Nazareth in his stepfather’s carpenter shop, Jesus Christ spent the first
thirty years of His earthly life.

Now at this point, the Bible tells us He began to carry out His specific
purpose in coming.  A man called John, nicknamed “the Baptizer”, introduced
Him to the world one day by saying: “Look, The Lamb of God, Who takes away
the sin of the world.”(John 1:29)  This title sounds strange, unless of
course one remembers what has been said about the necessity of sacrifice
for acceptance with God.  The significant thing about this statement is
that God Himself sent Jesus into the world to be His sacrifice for sin. God
in history was in the act of carrying out His promise or covenant through
the “seed of the woman”, Jesus.

Everywhere Jesus went, He went about doing good.  Where Adam had refused to
love God and obey Him, Jesus was perfectly responsive to doing God’s will.
He served God by choice.  He kept the Law of God absolutely perfectly.  He
was in the sight of God really righteous.  But in addition to this, He
showed that He had come from God by healing the sick, curing the crippled,
and even on an occasion or two, raising the dead!  Everything about Jesus’
character and life pointed men to God.  He was in fact God in the flesh. So
the Bible says.

But Jesus also preached.  He told men about God, about themselves, and
about the world…and about why He had come.  He showed by His love and
concern that people–men, women, and children–had worth, yet he spoke
plainly to them of sin and the judgement of God on sin.  He bluntly told
people,”Repent!”  He commanded them to tury from self-centeredness and
independence back to God.  But while what He said was true, lawbreakers
usually do not like to hear the truth.  So the people with their leaders
drummed up false charges and pressured the Roman governor, Pilate, to
sentence Him to death.  There at a place called “Calvary”, outside
Jerusalem, Jesus was nailed to a cross, where He died.  People–in the heat
of their sin–had actually killed the Son of God.  But their plot fell into
the plan of God, for in fact, they had been the means by which God’s
sacrifice for sin had been offered.  The Lamb of God had died.  But three
days later, Jesus miraculously came back to life, His work on earth

This is the heart of the Bible’s message.  In a few words, it can be said
this way (I Corinthians 15:3,4): “For I delivered to you as of first
importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in
accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised
on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.”  This focal point of
history, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, points out the
answer to man’s question, “What do I need?”  Of all the things that man
wants and needs, he basically needs to be brought back into a right
relationship with his Creator, God.  It is really of first importance,
because through the perfect life and death of Jesus, God actually does
restore man to His fellowship. And according to the Bible, that is the ONLY
way God does it.  But in order to appropriate the work of Christ, man is
commanded by God to put his faith and confidence in Jesus.  In other words,
God offers mercy and forgiveness to all who look to Jesus’ death on the
cross as the complete sacrifice for their sins and then follow Christ as
their King.  And according to the Bible, such persons receive eternal life.

A short time after Jesus rose from the dead, and after having shown Himself
to His friends, He returned to heaven.  And the Bible states that He is
there today, alive and ruling.  When He went back to heaven, however, two
angels told His disciples, “This same Jesus, Who was taken up from you into
heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”(Acts
1:11)  So, Jesus will, in time and space, come to earth again.

4.  Unlike His first coming, Jesus’ second coming will be with power and
splendour.  The Bible states that everyone will see Him, and everyone will
appear before Him in judgement.  Simply put, He will confront every person
and pronounce his or her destiny.  In John chapter 5, verses 28 and 29,
Jesus said it this way: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when
all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have
done good, to the resurrection of life (or heaven), and those who have done
evil, to the resurrection of ‘damnation'(or hell).”

So, when a person asks the question, “What is going to happen to me?”–a
very important question to everyone–the answer in the Bible is clear.
Each is going to meet Jesus Christ; and Christ, as God’s appointed Ruler,
will pronounce judgement.  Those persons who have put their trust in
Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and submitted to His rule over them
will enjoy everlasting life in the presence of God.  As it states in II
Peter 3:13, “But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new
earth in which righteousness dwells.”  On the other hand, those who have
neglected or refused Christ’s sacrifice for sin and persisted in their own
independence and rebellion from God…well, they must suffer the
consequences.  It’s simply an eternal future of hell and God’s anger.

You can see why the person who understands and believes the Bible knows
what is ahead.  It’s no mystery really.  The next great event in history
will be the coming of Jesus Christ and the final judgement.  We today do
not know how long it will be from now until then, though we do know how
long it has been since Jesus died and rose.  The Bible just does not give
that information.  But just like it explains the origin of all things, so
the Bible predicts the end of world history.  Every event is another step
toward that moment when Christ will come, the judgement will be pronounced,
and the new heavens and new earth established.  And there you have a
summary of the Bible.

By C.S.Lewis.

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