If we view the Bible as one whole document, what is it saying? What are the big messages by which interior messages are to be interpreted?
The Bible is richly diverse, sixty-six "books" written over eleven hundred years by prophets, poets, historians, sages, farmers, soldiers, prisoners, storytellers, theologians, and letter writers. Some expressed strong faith, others grave doubt. Aggregated into a unit, what is the whole book saying?
This study suggests that four major themes are to be found in the Bible that tell us about God and God's role in our lives. First, God is with us; we are not fugitives wandering the earth bereft of larger meaning. Second, God is most concerned not with kings and human power but with "the least of these my brothers and sisters." Third, God loves us; at the center of the creation is a heart of compassion. And fourth, God is always bigger than we think; our minds are repeatedly too small to fathom the enormity of God's mind and heart.
To keep in mind the Bible's central messages is highly important. Isolated texts, read by themselves, can say things that vastly contradict the whole. Smaller interpretations always need to be judged in the context of the larger messages.
Each session in this study examines one of these themes, using Old and New Testament texts and stories to help participants see the four large themes. The Leader's Guides help bring the biblical message to a more personal level, encouraging participants to examine just how these themes are manifest in their own lives.