About This Blog

Monday, February 6, 2017

"The Whole Message of the Bible in 16 Words" (Chris Bruno)

TITLE: The Whole Message of the Bible in 16 Words
AUTHOR: Chris Bruno
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016, (160 pages).

The Holy Bible has a total of 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. How can we possibly summarize the entire Bible in 16 words? Unless of course, these words tell a story, explain a theological concept, or act as bridges to link all these books together. This is exactly what Chris Bruno has done. In choosing 16 key words, he manages to squeeze in the entire Bible narrative and paraphrases it into a small paperback. No easy task indeed. Following his earlier book "The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses," he manages to push himself to re-tell the story of the Bible in 16 words. The main purpose is to teach the Bible in a new way so as to spur learners to think and to consider the meaning behind the narrative. Bruno wants us to go beyond mere forests and trees, and to zoom in on the ropes that tie the whole picture together. These 16 words are the ropes, categorized under three themes. The first section is the Foundation where the author uses the word "The End" and "God" to bracket the beginning and the end. The second section is the Frame where we look at the "creation," "covenant," and "kingdom." The third section is the largest which is the SuperStructure that ties in eleven other key words, "Temple," "Messiah," "Israel," "Land," "Idols," "Judgment," "Exodus," "Wisdom," "Law," "Spirit," and "Mission." This is essentially biblical theology made simple.

Rather than to follow the chronological order from Genesis to Revelation, these 16 "ropes" tie in the chunks of biblical genres together as one story. The Foundational words of "The End" and "God" tell us about the end times and the unfolding revelation of God Himself. He tells of God being Creator, Sustainer, Omnipotent, and the Overarching Person who is glorious and mighty. In the Frame section, he bridges the Old Testament and the New Testament with the words "Creation," "Covenant" and "Kingdom." In creation, there is the original creation and the new creation. The covenants demonstrate the relationship and commitment God has made with people through the ages. The kingdom is familiar to New Testament believers, and talks about God's power to rule and to reign yesterday, today, and forever. The Superstructure covers a wide variety of biblical concepts.

  • Temple: How the Old Testament people worship God originally, and how the New Testament internalizes it into believers being the temple of the Holy Spirit
  • Messiah: How the Bible introduces the Messiah in the OT and reveals Him in Christ.
  • Israel: The role of Israel then, now, and the future
  • Land: What land means in the old and the new creation
  • Idols: How idolatry that destroyed the faith of Israel is also capable of destroying the Church
  • Judgment: There is judgment meted out in the past and in the coming future
  • Exodus: The history of how God delivered Israel is a glimpse of the glorious deliverance that is to come
  • Wisdom: Jesus is the Way, the Wisdom, the Truth, the Life, and the Sustainer of all
  • Law: How Israel failed to keep the law, while Jesus kept the full law most satisfactorily
  • Spirit: How God has been working from creation till the end of time
  • Mission: How God's mission to save the world continues to this day.

Well done, Bruno! This is indeed a creative take on the biblical story. In doing so, the author tries to train us to be biblical theologians, who are able to see the Bible as one big story rather than scattered passages. This is perhaps the biggest reason to buy this book. The words are nothing new as theologians throughout history have used these terms repeatedly in teaching the Bible. Although the book appears rather small in terms of the number of pages, each word could easily be expanded into a full length book. However, that is not the purpose of this book. The author is simply trying to teach the Bible as concise and as pedagogically appropriate as possible. Many teachers have adopted a Read Through the Bible approach; a book-by-book approach; a genre by genre sequence; a walk-through-the-bible method; and other conventional ways of teaching. Bruno contributes to the teaching resources by providing us a helpful 16 words to tie in the whole biblical story. Great stuff.

Author Chris Bruno serves at Trinity Christian School in Kailua, Hawaii. He previously taught Bible and theology at Cedarville University and Northland International University and served as a pastor at Harbor Church in Honolulu, Hawaii. Chris and his wife, Katie, have four sons.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of Crossway Publishers and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment