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The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,213 ratings  ·  101 reviews
The story of the Bible and its account of God's action in the world give meaning to our lives and provide us with the foundation for our actions.
"The Drama of Scripture" is an introduction to the basic story line and theology of the Bible. In considering the biblical story, the authors emphasize the unity of the whole, viewing the Bible as a drama in six acts--creation, s
Paperback, 252 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Baker Academic
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Drew Miller
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
The Drama of Scripture is one of the best books I have read in a while. Most Christians approach the Bible as a roadmap to life or a book on how to live their life when in reality it is a story about God. A story about His creation, the fall, redemption through Jesus Christ, and ultimately the restoration of all things. This book gives the reader a great overview of the Biblical Metanarrative. I found the chapter on the intertestamental periods to be the most helpful. It was excellent in showing ...more
Philip Mcduffie
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bible-study
The Drama of Scripture is a book that any follower of Christ needs to read. Bartholomew and Goheen seek to open a whole new door for people that read the Bible and they do a great job at it. They understand that seeking to read the Bible without a comprehensive understanding of the the overall narrative of Scripture leaves one confused and bewildered. With this being the case, they set out to lay out God's story in six acts. These include:

Act 1 God Establishes His Kingdom: Creation
Act 2 Rebellio
This is a really helpful book. Best of its kind, I think, in helping the reader to understand the entire sweep of the biblical story towards the end of finding one's place in the story. Most Christians read the bible only devotionally, if at all. That's important to be sure but it also pretty much guarantees that one comes away with only bits and pieces and not the whole story. That is a loss of great magnitude. This book serves the church well in overcoming the loss of story that makes followin ...more
Laney Mills
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it’s comprehensive look at the metanarrative of God’s work in this world — past, present, and future. After reading “Surprised by Hope” (N.T. Wright) recently, I appreciated similar themes but a different approach throughout this book, and thought the authors did an excellent job of painting a picture of the Biblical story, faithfully working through each element: creation, fall, redemption, restoration. I personally feel like I needed the reminder of the “big ...more
Todd Miles
Oct 17, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a solid book that covers the story of Scripture. The authors do an admirable job, structuring their telling around a Kingdom motif. On the whole, this is a good book that digs below the surface of the biblical story - a good place to go to understand the flow of Scripture with some depth. My only concern is their lack of of emphasis on the anticipation of the Messiah in their Old Testament material. Jesus saw himself as central to the message of the Law, Prophets, and Writings (Luke 24). ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ministers, Bible teachers, interested lay people
A solid introduction to the grand narrative of Scripture. This would be an excellent resource to educate lay people in churches. While most of the material was not new to me at this point in my reading and education, the authors synthesized a lot of good scholarship and delivered it in an engaging manner.

Finally, Bartholomew and Goheen take some time at the end of the book to look at the implications of understanding the story of the Bible. Where does this leave us today? They show that read the
Rachel Kimzey
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this with a discussion group at a Christian study center. It's very much an overview of the biblical narrative. Well-based in Scripture as authoritative. Lays out the 'acts' of the drama well showing that Christians today are part of the same tale. It's written by scholars, not story-tellers, but I think for the aim of their book, that is okay. I think it deserves a more compelling cover. (:
Ryan Linkous
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this as a companion to a sermon series I preached on the "Big Picture" of the Bible. I wanted to see how other gifted communicators selectively summarized and presented parts of the Bible. Their six-act framework is very helpful in understanding different biblical epochs. They also do an excellent job of showing the Bible's own expectation that its readers respond to it and invites them to join the "drama" as a worshipper of God in Christ.

Would be a very helpful book to read through with co
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book does amazing job helping its readers see the flow of scripture as one cohesive story of God redeeming creation back to himself and where we fall in that story.
Brian Simpfenderfer
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Perhaps the best book on the grand story of Scripture?!!
Josh Hopping
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Drawing from N.T. Wright’s model of the five-act structure, these two Redeemer University College professors lay out an easy-to-read view of the Kingdom of God throughout the Bible.

* Act 1: God Establishes His Kingdom: Creation
* Act 2: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall
* Act 3: The King Choose Israel: Redemption Initiated
* Interlude: A Kingdom Story Waiting for an Ending: The Intertestamental Period
* Act 4: The Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished
* Act 5: Spreading the News of the King:
Filip Sekkelsten
Absolutely brilliant! I appreciated especially the interlude chapter, the intertestamental period. The "reflections for today" at the end of the chapters is very helpful to see the links to our time, and the questions that follow further aid you to think about how you can live consistently to the biblical story. The interpretations of certain events and symbols in the story is fantastic and ties the whole book – and the biblical events – together nicely.
Definitely a book to refer to and an excel
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is an expansion of N.T. Wright's 5-point model of the Biblical drama. Bartholomew adds to it a Sixth Act: The Return of the King.

This is a popularizing of Wright's 5-point model to be used in a classroom setting or Bible study. Bartholomew has also provided many helpful resources for getting the most out of the book.

If you are unfamiliar with N.T. Wright, or are looking for an introduction to Biblical Theology with some excellent resources, this boo
Evghenii Sologubenco
Feb 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian-life
The title of the book itself sets the main premise of the book. The Drama of Scripture: Finding our Place in the Biblical Story points to the need for the individual to see the Bible as a unified story and not as a collection of independent books written over several hundred years. The authors argue that the Bible presents a meta-story of creation and points to the need for each individual to find his or her place in this narrative. In this attempt the authors borrow the idea from N.T. Wright, w ...more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
If you want a broad conservative overview of the Bible this would be a good book to read. The authors lay out the Scripture in 6 acts, as in a drama, with an interlude. What I like about this way of looking at the Bible is that it helps us to see its purposeful flow and its cohesion. The authors very clearly say the Bible is the only real true story of humankind. The authors are conservative and make no issue about the reliability of Scripture, for which I was so thankful, but there were a few l ...more
Charlie Creech
The Drama of Scripture is based on the idea that the Bible is a narrative (a story) of how God has worked, and continues to work, throughout history. Usually we will hear or read parts of that story without understanding or knowing how it connects to the whole narrative. This book attempts to take all those stories and put it in the proper order to the main narrative. So it starts at creation and follows the narrative of the bible along to the final book, Revelation. On the way you read all the ...more
Joel Wentz
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Several years ago, the idea of "the story of the Bible" made waves in Evangelical culture (as opposed to approaching the Bible as a collection of disparate mini-stories). This book is an extremely approachable, but thoroughly researched, introduction to the "meta-narrative" of scripture. The authors strike a careful balance of both presenting nuance and different theological/interpretive ideas, but also keeping the narrative flow of scripture at the forefront.

In particular, the summary chapters
Elliott Montgomery
Aug 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology, bible
The Drama of Scripture is a book thats main idea is to tie together the diverse stories, teachings, themes, and people of the Bible to present it as a complete picture of God's working with His creation. The book separates the Bible into 6 acts. They are as follows: 1) God Establishes His kingdom, 2) Rebellion in the Kingdom, 3) The King Chooses Israel: Redemption Initiated, (Interlude: A kingdom Story Waiting for an Ending: The Intertestamental Period), 4) The Coming of the King: Redemption Acc ...more
Mark Schlechty
Promises more than what was delivered .

The introduction and process were absolutely inspiring. The thesis that the author put forward , " finding our place in the biblical story," resonated deeply with me . I was so anxious to see how the author developed the thesis. I found that the book is incredibly high on narration and lacking in application . it wasn't until the last two chapters that the application was really brought together with the narration . Overall , this book was probably not writ
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Flowery language abounds through this book (e.g. "spread the fragrance of his presence" p. 38). There are frequent uses of colons where the sentence could just as easily (and more straightforwardly) be written with the addition of commas or other punctuation. There are paragraphs with several sentences which have seem to barely be related, with only vague or passing relation. Unnecessary apositives, appellatives and short on facts. I'm also not sure who "von Rad" is but he must be fairly authori ...more
Austin Spence
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
For a book on the entire biblical narrative I thought Bartholomew and Goheen did a good job bringing out the application side of things. In terms of a biblical studies book there weren't any huge leaps made for fresh content, but you don't get many good books these days that balance the interpretation of scriptures and what we are supposed to do with it. Would recommend for someone who had previously read the entirety of the Bible and looking to do so again, that way they are bringing in fresh t ...more
Dec 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A helpful development of NT Wright's useful analogy of redemptive history as a drama. There's nothing exactly groundbreaking here, but a number of little insights are scattered throughout. All in all, there is almost nothing here with which anyone should really disagree; I think that's by design, which I can appreciate, but it does mean that certain important questions (like that of predestination, for example) are left untouched by the authors. This survey is worth reading, especially for those ...more
Jon Beadle
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The sweep of this book is so incredible, and yet he pulled it off! The theater of the Bible is hardly ever mentioned in church, but writer like Bartholomew and NT Wright have popularized biblical theology in our generation. We should be grateful. I highly recommended this to all of my friends, young and old.
Noel Scoggins
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A totally (at least for me) new perspective on Scripture. The authors' view of The Bible as one unified story in six acts is most enlightening and refreshing. They also manage to avoid the covenantal vs dispensational theology disputes into which efforts such as this often devolve. Well-researched, well-documented, and theologically sound.
Vicki Doak
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book offered profound revelation for me. It's insight was an excellent guide aiding my theology studies. It touches on all the key events in the Bible, offering some in depth analysis and guidance about moving into the future as Christians. I really enjoying the experience of reading this as a new Christian. It really helped in building upon my foundational knowledge.
David Wreesman
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read this in conjunction with a class I’ll be teaching this fall. I found it to be quite helpful—it traces the connections and themes of Scripture into a coherent whole, showing God’s work and priorities have been consistent throughout history, and it includes helpful discussions on how we fit into that.
Hunter List
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bartholomew does a great job walking through the narrative of Scripture as well as including the intertestamental period. I also enjoyed his understanding of the development of the new creation theme throughout scripture as well as the “already and not yet” kingdom of God.
Chris Wermeskerch
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great introduction to Biblical Theology. Even better than most, though, the authors directly tie this Biblical Theology to missiology, reminding us that finding our place in God's story means finding ourselves in God's mission.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
3-4 This book is used by some as a textbook for introductory Bible classes. It divides the story of Scripture into six acts, building on the work of N.T. Wright who introduced five acts. It is an accessible text and a good reminder of the arc of Scripture.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book took the biblical stories so many of us know and have separated out from The Bible as a whole and ties it all together with a deeper meaning that resonates even today. A must read for one seeking a larger understanding for what The Bible tells us as a whole.
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Craig G. Bartholomew (PhD, University of Bristol) is the H. Evan Runner Professor of Philosophy at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, and the principal of the Paideia Centre for Public Theology. He founded the internationally recognized Scripture and Hermeneutics seminar and is coauthor of Living at the Crossroads and Christian Philosophy.

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