ODJ: front to back

December 14, 2013 

READ: Acts 17:16-34 

He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man made temples (v.24).

At the start of the film Walk the Line, young Johnny Cash is talking with his older brother Jack who is hoping to become a preacher. Johnny is sad because he doesn’t know the Bible like his brother, who said, “If I’m going to be a preacher one day, I gotta know the Bible front to back. I mean, you can’t help nobody if you can’t tell them the right story.”

Tragically, a sawmill accident ended the aspiring preacher’s life. But what he told his little brother Johnny—who would go on to become a famous musical artist—applies to us all. We can’t help people if we don’t tell them the right story. And the right story is found in the Bible from front to back.

The front of the story is where the apostle Paul began as he preached in Athens, presenting God as the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth (Acts 17:24-26). In the beginning God dwelt with His image-bearers in perfect relationship and they reigned together over His good creation (Genesis 1:26-31).

The back of the story comes full circle, with God again reigning “supreme over everything everywhere” (1 Corinthians 15:28) and dwelling “among his people” in a fully renewed heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1-3).

There’s also a lot in the middle of the story. Human rebellion (which left us separated from God and each other); God’s gracious promise to rescue us from the mess of humanity’s rebellion through Abraham’s offspring (namely Jesus Christ); and God now dwelling in the hearts of those He has rescued, enabling them to love others and to take part in advancing God’s kingdom on earth.

Declaring the story, front to back, is important. For it awakens us to our need for Jesus—our Saviour and King. —Jeff Olson

Telling God’s story, cover to cover, is one important way to answer anyone who “asks about your Christian hope” (1 Peter 3:15). 
How would you briefly tell the story of the Bible, cover to cover? Why is it vital that we know and tell the whole story of God’s Word?