Major Themes of Scripture

On my iPhone (it’s really an iPod Touch but it’s annoying calling it an iPod Touch and it sounds slightly perverse calling it an iTouch and with the right applications and microphone it is essentially the same device sans camera so I’ll continue calling it an iPhone for any future posts though I don’t technically own one) I have a document that I reference when I’m out and about reading Scripture. It contains some themes that shoot right through Scripture, from beginning to end, and which all are tied up to the Gospel and eventually are the very things that God is culminating. Of course, the ideas aren’t original. My thinking was influenced by DA Carson, Dwight Pentacost, even John Piper and NT Wright (if you believe it).

In the list you might notice I’m missing some things like “Shepherd” or “Davidic King” but that’s because I think those tie into Man and his position under God. I didn’t mention Israel, though it is surely a major theme but I’ve subsumed it under People of God—but I don’t feel quite right about that. I might still put them under their own number—not sure.

I’ve noticed that some make a mistake of taking one of the themes of Scripture and making it the central focus of the Gospel (the good news). For example, NT Wright loves to make the Gospel all about the Kingdom. Piper loves to make the Gospel all about God (even has a book called God is the Gospel). So on. I think that to say the main theme of the Gospel is any one of these things is seriously mistaken and ignores the breadth of what God is accomplishing. Also, I think some would like to remove some of these things as being tied to the Gospel. So, one might argue that Creation is central to the Gospel and Sin is merely a side issue: that is mistaken. The Gospel necessarily deals with both of those (and other) things but I won’t argue the point beyond listing the themes from my iPhone here sans scripture:

  1. God (all that He implies)
  2. His Kingdom
  3. Creation
  4. Man (and his Position)
  5. Family
  6. Marriage / Relationship
  7. Sin
  8. Bondage (might bundle up with sin, possibly)
  9. Life – Healing – Salvation
  10. Death  – Sickness – Suffering
  11. Promise / Covenant
  12. Judgment
  13. Sacrifice  / Blood
  14. Atonement
  15. Holiness (and the levels Holy-Clean-Unclean-Profane)
  16. Light / Glory / Dark / Shadow
  17. Son
  18. Joy (Wine?)
  19. Love
  20. Temple / Tabernacle
  21. Rest
  22. Priesthood
  23. People of God
  24. Food / Eating (Bread)
  25. Word
  26. Water

Here’s a few that I might have thought up along the way but might need to mull over some more:

Gentiles Bringing Gifts

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2 thoughts on “Major Themes of Scripture

Also, admittedly, there would be interplay. “Seed” for instance might be seen under Son or Family but also Creation and Man and his position and Food. Stuff like that.

Also, a comment that might come up is JESUS but that ignores the fact that Jesus is the effective worker of the good news. The fact that these themes all tie up in him and are fully realized by him surely all teaches about Him. The Gospel would be preached in the Old Testament and the ah-ha moment of seeing Him just makes the preached Gospel make sense.

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