Several years ago I attended a continuing education event at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando, Florida. One of the highlights of the event was a presentation from the church’s lead pastor, the Rev. Bill Barnes, on “The Bible in Twelve Words.” I have thought about his presentation over the years, but I had trouble finding my notes. With the current construction project at Lovely Lane, I have been moving items around in my office. With all this activity, I found my notes. I would like to share my learnings.
For Rev. Barnes, the Bible is a “progressive revelation of the nature of God as understood by a particular people” (the Jewish people and those who would identify as Christians). For him, words help people see a progression in Jewish tradition, history, and custom, that culminates in the life and teachings of Jesus.
For Rev. Barnes, the Twelve Words and Themes are . . .
Creation – the book of Genesis starts with two creation stories
Relation – the “Fall” and God’s relationship with the Hebrew people
Liberation – the book of Exodus addresses the liberation of the Hebrews
Formation – the latter part of Exodus and the Torah bring holy structure
Confederation – Joshua, Judges, and Ruth address God’s providence
Accommodation – likes its neighbors, Israel insists on a king
Deportation – the nations of Israel and Judah are defeated and annexed
Restoration – the Israelites return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple
Sensation – Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes come from the heart
Salvation – the Good News – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus
Evangelization – Acts and the Letters of Paul spread the church
New Creation – Revelation encourages believers in the First Century world
I hope some of this is helpful for you. I encourage you to turn to the Scriptures for inspiration. This is always a good discipline as we head into the Lenten season this month!
Blessings to you! Scott