Reading and understanding the Bible can be challenging. The Bible is telling one grand narrative about God’s redemption and rescue of His people. But that grand story is filled with a number of smaller stories along with other literature and teaching. There are laws, poems, prophetic writings and sermons, wisdom sayings, and commentary wrapped into a winding story. In the Old Testament the story follows God’s choosing Israel as a nation, redeeming her, and then being faithful to His people in spite of their unfaithfulness. The avenue for this relationship is covenant, or divinely instituted agreements between God and people stipulating the condition of their relationship. Every page of the Old Testament is part of this grand story, but is only truly understood in light of the place within that story and the immediate context. The Old Testament portion of the story follows about 1500 years of the history of Israel starting with the call of Abraham. This is why it is often hard to understand.
The New Testament is the fulfillment of everything set forth in the storyline of the Old Testament. God has been faithful but Israel is not. But the story always pointed forward to a true Israel, a single person who would both represent Israel as the covenant keeper and then die for the sins of all of God’s people as an atoning sacrifice. These books too need to be understood in light of the large story of God’s redemption fulfilled in Jesus and in light of their immediate context and purpose.
The content posted from the recent Desiring God Pastor’s Conference has two helpful videos. In the first is Dr. Jason Derouchie, Old Testament Professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary explaining every book in the Old Testament in 10 minutes. The second video has Dr. Andy Naselli who teaches New Testament and Theology at Bethlehem doing the same thing with the books and story of the New Testament. So, the Old Testament in 10 minutes, and the New Testament in 10 minutes. Very helpful, especially if the Bible is fairly new to you, as they give a simple explanation of the overall storyline and each of 66 books place within that story.