Starting New Things – The Bible as Narrative
Theology is the beginning of Mission and Christian Theology is revealed to us through the whole of the Bible. But how to read the Bible to find that Theology and that Mission, God’s Mission, the Missio Dei? When we read a passage from the Bible, we read it in one of three ways. We can read the passage with no sense that it is part of a whole, or we can read it within an unconscious framework that we have somehow developed, or we can read it within a conscious framework that we have decided on. One such framework is to recognise the Bible as a narrative, a story, with a beginning and an end, and that it has a coherent theme.
Christopher J.H, Wright suggests that the entire Bible can be read in the context of God’s Mission. That each part of the Bible sits within the framework of a missional theme which describes who God is and what God has called people to be and to do. Tom Wright provides a framework for placing ourselves in this narrative suggesting that the narrative of the Bible can be seen as a play, broken down into five acts – Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus and Church.
This five act play framework suggests that we, the church, are on the stage of God’s creation and we, as actors in the play, should be improvising our part. Tom Wright suggests this is best done when we know what has gone before in the previous four acts and what the trajectory of the plot is. If we read and understand the Bible as a whole, with a missional framework then we are more likely to come up with the right lines and can make the most of our time on the stage.
When we are thinking about Starting New Things, we are standing within the grand narrative of God’s Mission revealed in the Bible. That brings with it all the knowledge of God’s power, sovereignty and grace to encourage us on our way. This grand missional narrative also guides us at to what our New Thing might look like.
Encouragement: Reading the Bible with a Missional Framework in our minds helps us to think through why we might start something new and helps us to feel we are part of something that God is initiating, that the Holy Spirit is indeed at the helm.
To think about: What framework do you read the Bible with? Do you see it as a coherent whole? Do you recognise its missional theme?
 Wright, C.J.H., The mission of God: unlocking the Bible’s grand narrative, IVP 2006.
 Wright, N.T., Scripture and the Authority of God, SPCK 2013, p122. Although a theme in many of Wright’s works.