Q&A with Nancy Guthrie on The Promised One
This book is a ten-week Bible study through the book of Genesis oriented specifically for what Genesis has to show us about who Christ will be and why he will come. Each weekly lesson includes questions for personal study, a teaching chapter that emphasizes how the passage fits into the bigger story of redemptive history, and something I’ve never seen in a Bible study before―a brief section on how the passage uniquely points to what is yet to come at the consummation of Christ’s kingdom when he returns―as well a guide for group discussion.
My longing is for women’s Bible studies in our churches to have more of a sense of the big story of the Bible with Christ at the center, and my aim has been to create resources that provide sound biblical theology and gospel-saturated application presented in a personal and passionate way.
I would say that the Bible is living and active and it always has something new to say to us because we read it in context of the struggles and questions we have now that we might not have had when we studied that passage before. But more significantly I would ask, since we know that the whole Bible―Old and New Testaments―is really about Jesus, what did you learn about who Jesus is and what he came to accomplish from your previous study of Genesis?
The truth is, most of us have never studied Genesis expecting to see anything about Jesus. We’ve taught and been taught Genesis and most of the Old Testament as a collection of stories about people who provide us with examples to follow. But as we read the Old Testament we don’t want to merely make observations about the behavior of the godly and godless and then try harder to be like the godly and less like the godless. The Old Testament is an uncompleted story, a promise waiting for its fulfillment. And Jesus is that fulfillment. So once we know where the story was leading all along―to Christ―it makes sense to go back and read it again in that light, through those glasses.
For many reasons! For one, this is the way Jesus taught the disciples to read and understand the Old Testament. When we read the gospels and listen to the sermons in the book of Acts and work our way through the epistles, we see that they taught the Old Testament just as Jesus had taught them to. They help us to see that without Jesus, the Old Testament is an uncompleted story, and without the Old Testament we simply can’t make sense of the ministry of Jesus.
Another reason would be that without a greater understanding of the bigger picture of the biblical story, we really can’t make sense of so many of the smaller parts that we read. But as we grow in our understanding of God’s intention for his glory to be manifest over the whole earth, and as we develop a firmer grasp on the way in which he is working out his plan for the redemption of all things, we are better able to figure out many of the parts of the Bible that perplex us.
When you’ve experienced first-hand the effects the curse of death that came because of Adam and Eve’s sin, your longing grows for that curse to be gone for good. It makes you hate sin and the power sin has to hurt us in this broken world. And when we go to Genesis, looking to find Christ there, we see that not only is the grace that will come through Christ promised in the midst of the curse, but also that he will be the one who will take this curse upon himself at the cross. The thorns that began to grow from the ground as a result of the curse were thrust upon his head. Because of what he accomplished on the cross, we can look forward to the new heaven and new earth in which there will be “no more curse.” I, for one, have a longing for that day like never before because of the losses in my life.
Joni Eareckson Tada says that most of us are content to swim in the shallow end of the theological pool when things are good, but suffering and sorrow push us into the deep end of the pool, and that has certainly been my experience. We have questions that need answers, and it is to the scriptures that I have turned to find those answers. My experience has caused to me to dig deep into God’s word to figure out more about who God is and what he’s doing in the world and therefore in my life. And the truth is, the deeper I go, the more amazed I am at the goodness and glory of his plans, and the more confident I am that he can be trusted.
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