Before I knew that the technical term “narrative theology” existed, I knew that it was important to understand the Bible as narrative – as story. I learned that important lesson a while back from this simple little book.
That’s the beauty of it: no technical theological jargon. It’s written to simple people like me and it cites not Karl Barth or Stanley Hauerwas but Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee.
The basic premise is that the Bible tells a story and we have a role to play whether we know it or not. If we don’t know what’s going on in the story of heaven and earth, we’re going to feel very lost.
Eldredge divides the timeline the story into four acts. Act One: The beginning of the Trinity and the birth of eternal love. Act Two: The villain enters the story and evil follows. Act Three: The Battle. God fights for the hearts of His people. Act Four: Heaven. It’s paradise regained, the life we've always dreamed of. The time when God makes "all things new."
This is one of the most helpful outlines I’ve come across to zoom out and get the big picture of the story of the Bible. Eldredge does this in his own unique and brilliant way. If you’re a fan of movies like I am, you’ll be captivated (no pun intended) by the way he interweaves Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, Titanic, The Matrix, Star Wars, and The Lion King to relate to us the drama, the action, and the romance of the bigger story – the true story.
Also, the video of the author’s live reading of this short book can be found here.
Thanks Dad for turning me on to John Eldredge when I was young and at risk of losing heart in systems of religion. I desperately needed to know how epic God’s story really is.