The Bible for Grown-ups, Part 1: Last Things First (Andy Stanley)
Most of us know some Bible stories, but very few of us know the story of the Bible. And it may be surprising to discover it’s a story that doesn’t actually begin in the beginning. It begins with the accounts of a few men who sat down to record the death and resurrection of Jesus. It begins with the words of his followers who were compelled to document the events that had changed everything for them—because they knew it could change everything for us.
Many of us carried our childhood understanding of the Bible into adulthood. Faced with questions we couldn’t answer and doubts we couldn’t ignore, we walked away. If that’s your story, there’s another approach—one that John offers in his personal account of the life of Jesus. And if this account was all we had, it would be enough. This week, approach your faith in a new way by reading John’s account of Jesus’ life as though it was the only Scripture you had.
Luke 1:1–4 ; John 20:30–31
The Bible for Grown-ups, Part 2: In the Beginning (Andy Stanley)
“In the beginning . . . ” can be a loaded phrase—one that forces us into debate and doubt. But maybe we’re missing the point of Genesis 1:1—a point Moses made to a world where the violence and injustice of the gods justified and legitimized the violence and injustice of human rulers. Moses introduced a radically different, unparalleled, and untested worldview.
You’re here on purpose for a purpose. You are not the result of a cosmic conflict between the gods. You were not created by the universe. God wanted image-bearers who could know him and one another. And in the beginning we are introduced to the God who saves, redeems, delivers, and never gives up on us. He gave us freedom to choose, and he honors our choices. This week, read Genesis 1. This time, though, ask God to help you see this Scripture not as an introduction to how the world was created, but as an introduction to the one who created it.
The Bible for Grown-ups, Part 3: The Old Testament (Andy Stanley)
The Old Testament chronicles God’s redemptive, sequential activity in history. It’s a fabulous, gritty, epic history of the Hebrew people in which, over and over, Israel is reminded that they are a divine means to an end. So, maybe instead of seeing the Old Testament as a spiritual guidebook or a storyline that needs to be tidied up, we should see it as something even better: the history of God preparing the world for a Savior.
The storyline of the Old Testament should cause us to drop to our knees in gratitude. There’s no need to tidy it up and sand off the rough edges. It’s not a spiritual guidebook. It’s the story of our God, who waded into the mess in order to write a story of redemption. This week, write Galatians 4:4–5 on a notecard and think about what these verses mean for you.
Isaiah 53:5–11 ; Galatians 4:4–5
The Bible for Grown-ups, Part 4: For the World (Andy Stanley)
The Bible did not create Christianity. Christianity is the result of an event (the resurrection) that created a movement (the church) that produced sacred and reliable texts that were collected and bound into a book (the Bible). But how do we approach not being at peace with everything we read in the Bible? Paul—the apostle, Pharisee, author, preacher, and church planter—offers us clarity and confidence to move forward.
The story of the Bible is extraordinary. It’s a story with personal implications for all of us because of what Jesus did for all of us. We can have clarity regarding our relationship with the Hebrew Bible and we can have confidence regarding the event of the resurrection. This week, think about what old ways of thinking you can let go of in order to make room for a better way—the way that was established before the Bible existed; the way that relies on Jesus rising from the dead and being seen by men and women who believed and followed.
- Scholar: Paul studied under the most esteemed Jewish teachers. He was an expert in the law.
- Skeptic: Paul initially spent all of his energy attempting to discredit, undermine, and hurt the followers of Jesus.
- Convert: Paul went from being a law-abiding Pharisee to a Jesus-follower in a single day.
- Leader: Paul taught, wrote to, prayed for, chastised, and financially and emotionally invested in the people he led.
- Writer: The letters to the churches Paul planted help explain in practical terms what it looks like to follow Jesus. His writing has shaped the thought of Western civilization.
- Thinker: Paul thought deeply about life and its most difficult questions. He cared deeply about leading people to think the new way Jesus came to introduce.
- Sufferer: Paul experienced extraordinary loss and pain. At times he struggled financially, physically, and emotionally.
Ephesians 5:21, 4:32 ; 1 Corinthians 15:1, 15:3-7