The Bible’s Sprawling, Ramshackle Narrative

Before we launch into Jeremiah, Lord willing, I’m doing three sermons on Biblical Theology at Kenwood. This past Sunday, August 21, 2011, it was my privilege to preach “A Story of Stories: The Bible’s Sprawling, Ramshackle Narrative.” The title of the sermon comes from a phrase used by David Steinmetz in an essay about the Bible, which Stephen Dempster brought back to my attention.

We looked at the building blocks of the Bible’s narrative: its setting, characters, plot (with its conflict and episodes), and only one sentence on its theme. But the theme is pervasive.

Then we looked at the unsolved mystery that you have when you get to the end of the Old Testament, a mystery solved in Christ.

Probably the most exciting thing about this sermon was what my 7 year old son wrote while I was preaching. Here’s an image of his notebook, and the transcription follows below:

The Seed [by Jake Hamilton, age 7]

Once upon a time there was a king and his arch enemy. The kings name was Zavior. His arch enemy’s name was Serpen. King Zavior was everything you could name. Serpen seemed good, but he was evil. Serpen was secretly gathering an army made of demons. King Zavior had an army made of angels. One day Serpen was sitting in his lair when one of his spies came in and said that King Zavior was having a party – a perfect time to attack! When the party came and it was time to attack the bad guys heard a war cry! It was King Zaviors army! Well unlike other books you’ve read where there’s the soldiers run away well this was diffrent. The soldiers fought and fought but Zaviors army won! [Crossed out sentence] The soldiers were killed and Serpen was bound in a pit for a thousand years and then [crossed out phrase] be let go to gather an army but they failed. Then he was judged and thrown in the lake of fire. After that, King Zavior reigned forever in peace. The End.

Hallelujah! And I wasn’t even talking about the millennium in this sermon!

May “The Story of Stories: The Bible’s Sprawling Ramshackle Narrative” continue to inspire artistic hearts to imitate the great Creator.

Join the Conversation


  1. Wow! Now that Is a true hero! I pray more kids become enamored with This hero story.

  2. Wow, that is awesome! It was a great sermon, but those are equally great sermon notes!

  3. Can’t wait to see where he’s at in 20 years. Praise God for his grasp of God’s story.

  4. So wonderful that your son already has the end in view! “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

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