Dane Ortland over at Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology recently asked a gaggle of wise men the following: "What's the Message of the Bible in One Sentence?" Below are their answers:
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.
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!
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.
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.
God has made promises to bring His people to Himself and He is fulfilling them all through Christ.
A holy God sends his righteous Son to die for unrighteous sinners so we can be holy and live happily with God forever.
Apprenticing with Jesus to become human again.
God glorifies himself in the redemption of sinners.
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).
Jesus is the promised Savior-King.
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.
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').
God is redeeming his creation by bringing it under the lordship of Jesus Christ.
'God so loved the world that the gave his one and only Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16).
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!
The message of the Bible is the transforming grace of God displayed preeminently in Jesus Christ.
The Lover of our souls won't let the romance die, but is rekindling it forever.
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.
The Bible is the record of God's promise of and deliverance through Jesus Christ.
The message of the Bible is twofold: to show how people can be saved from their sins through faith in Christ's atonement AND how to live all of life as a follower of God.
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.
Verbum caro factum est.
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!
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.
Scripture tells us the story of how a Garden is transformed into a Garden City, but only after a dragon had turned that Garden into a howling wilderness, a haunt of owls and jackals, which lasted until an appointed warrior came to slay the dragon, giving up his life in the process, but with his blood effecting the transformation of the wilderness into the Garden City.
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.
Very helpful, brothers! Thanks very much for this. And may I say how particularly tickled I am with the brevity of Seifrid, Frame, and Helm, the strategic literary deployment of chiasm and alliteration by DeYoung, and the answer that is more substantive than some whole dissertations I have read, despite having less than .0001% the words, by Beale.
My response would be something like: Despite ongoing rebellion on our part, the holy God of the universe refuses to leave us to wallow in our sin, eventually and climactically becoming one of us, in the moral mud, to restore us to glory, if we will receive his love in trusting contrition. (Dane Ortland)