The Theme of the Bible

Written by Frank Jamerson.

The Bible is a library, consisting of sixty-six books. It really has one theme, which is God’s plan for redeeming man in Christ.  This theme begins with God’s promise to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15. The seed of the woman refers to Christ who would bruise the head of the serpent, or the devil (Heb. 2:14). The next mention is the promise to Abram that in his seed all families of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3; 22:18).

The Old Covenant, which included the ten commandments was given to the Jewish nation after they came out of Egypt (Ex. 20:1-17; 1 Kgs. 8:21; 2 Chron. 5:10; Neh. 9:12). Jeremiah prophesied that God would make a new covenant which would be different from the first covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). This prophecy is quoted in Hebrews 8:7-13 in order to show that we are now under the covenant dedicated with the blood of Christ.

One of the clearest passages showing the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham is Galatians 3:15-29. Paul wrote that God did not say “And to seeds, as of many, but as of one, and to your Seed, who is Christ” (v. 16). Four hundred and thirty years after God made the promise to Abraham, He gave the law through Moses (vs. 17,18). The law did not fulfill the promise that all nations will be blessed in the seed of Abraham. That is fulfilled in Christ. In fact, the law of Moses was never intended to be permanent. Paul said it was “given till the Seed should come” (v. 19). The superiority of the promise is indicated in the fact that God used a mediator (Moses) in giving the law, but He used no mediator in giving the promise to Abraham—He spoke directly to him (vs. 19,20).

The Old Covenant (the law) was a “tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith (v. 24). Christ is the teacher and the law is likened to a bus driver—it brought men to Christ. The New Testament is called “the faith,” and Paul said “after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (v. 25).

     Some to whom Paul wrote were having problems with going back to the Old Covenant. They wanted to “observe days and months and seasons and years” (Gal. 4:10). These were Jewish holy days—such as annual celebrations (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles), monthly feasts (New moons) and weekly Sabbaths which are not a part of the Covenant dedicated with the blood of Christ (Col. 2:14-17). Some also had problems with circumcision which was part of the Old Covenant. They were told that if they bound circumcision (as taught under the law), they were debtors to “keep the whole law” (Gal. 5:3), and would result in their “falling from grace” (Gal. 5:4).

It is important that we understand the difference between God’s Promise to Abraham—to bless all nations through Christ, and the Old Covenant—which was given to the Jewish nation until the Promise was fulfilled.  Just as surely as God fulfilled the promise to Abraham, the ten command law (which was given to Israel, Dt. 5:1-5,15), as well as the rest of the Old Covenant has been taken away.

Paul told the Galatians that they were “sons of God through faith” (the New Covenant, not the Old), and they  were sons of God “in Christ” (not in a Jewish family) (v. 26). He further told them that they were sons of God by being “baptized into Christ” (not by being born into a Jewish family) (v. 27).

Then the apostle drew the conclusion that in Christ “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” (vs. 28,29). God has no special nation today, anyone who obeys Christ is in Abraham’s family. It is a spiritual family (Rom. 2:28,29), and is not confined to one race or nationality.

It is important to study the Old Testament because it provides us examples of God’s dealing with His people (1 Cor. 10:6-11), but the Old Testament predicted that it would pass away (Jer. 31:31-34), and the New Testament says that it did (Heb. 8:7-13; 9:15-17; 10:9).

There is no greater use of our minds than to use them to understand the message of the Bible. Seeing the over-all theme helps us in this challenge.

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