Friday, January 14, 2011

The Bible in One Sentence - What others are saying

That is the question that Dane Ortlund recently asked some biblical scholars and pastors to consider. Not all of them did it one sentence, and one of them used Latin. But here is what some biblical scholars had to say. Many are from the reformed point of view. I have included my own attempt at the bottom.

Greg Beale

The OT storyline appears best to be summarized as: the historical story of God who progressively reestablishes his new creational kingdom out of chaos over a sinful people by his word and Spirit through promise, covenant, and redemption, resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend that new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful (defeat and exile), all of which issues into his glory; the NT storyline can be summarized as: Jesus’ life of covenantal obedience, trials, judgmental death for sinners, and especially resurrection by the Spirit has launched the fulfillment of the eschatological already-and-not-yet promised new creation reign, bestowed by grace through faith and resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to extend this new creation rule and resulting in judgment for the unfaithful, unto God’s glory.

Dan Block

God was so covenantally committed to the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him may have eternal life!

Craig Blomberg

God is in the process of recreating the universe which has been corrupted by sin and has made it possible for all those and only those who follow Jesus to be a part of the magnificent, eternal community that will result.

Darrell Bock

The Bible tells how the loving Creator God restored a lost humanity and cosmos through reestablishing his rule through Jesus Christ and the provision of life to His honor.

Scott Hafemann

The Triune God is the beginning, middle, and end of everything, 'for from him (as Creator) and through him (as Sustainer and Redeemer) and to him (as Judge) are all things' (Rom 11:36).

Paul House

The movement in history from creation to new creation through the redemptive work of Father, Son, and Spirit who saves and changes corrupted people and places for his glory and their good.

Gordon Hugenberger

The message of the Bible in one sentence is that genuine truth, unlike every human philosophy, is far too luxuriant, too enthralling, too personal, too all-encompassing, too sovereign, and too life-changing to be reducible to one sentence (or, as Einstein once put it, the challenge is to 'make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler').

Phil Long

God, who made us and everything else, loves us and gave himself for us that we might live forever with him as new creatures in a new creation—the news is good!

Grant Osborne

God created mankind in order to love them, but we all rejected his love, so God sent His Son to bear our sins on the cross in order that by believing in His sacrificial atonement, we might have life.

Tom Schreiner

God reigns over all things for his glory, but we will only enjoy his saving reign in the new heavens and the new earth if we repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the crucified and risen Lord and who gave himself on the cross for our salvation.

Mark Seifrid

Verbum caro factum est.

Jay Sklar

The first sentence that comes to mind is that of my colleague Michael D. Williams, who describes the Bible's story about the world as follows: God made it, we broke it, Jesus fixes it!

Erik Thoennes

The main message of the Bible is that the one true God is displaying his glory primarily in redeeming and restoring his fallen creation by fulfilling his covenant promises and commands through the glorious person and atoning work of Christ

Bob Yarbough

He—God in Christ—shall reign forever and ever; so today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart but believing the good news take up your cross and follow Jesus.

The Bible is the story of humanity’s pursuit of and interaction with the divine, focused on the ultimate hope that all of creation will be restored.

You can read the full post here.

What do you think? Can you describe the Bible in one sentence?


  1. Here are a few attempts (though these are not original thoughts):
    1) "In so far as I am Man I am the chief of creatures. In so far as I am man I am the chief of sinner." (G.K. Chesterton)
    2) God in search of man, man in search of God (kind of taken from Abraham Heschel)

  2. The Bible records the Jewish experience of God and also the instantiation of his presence in human form which gives hope to all of humanity for good winning out over evil now and in the future.

  3. The Bible is the true story of God at work in the world, as seen and experienced by many people over many centuries, through the eyes of faith and in the hope of reconciliation and redemption, with the conviction that on the day of God's choosing and in the fullness of time, all will finally be made well.