You may have heard this term in a number of different contexts. But, are you familiar with the metanarrative of the Bible? The term is not strictly a biblical term, but when used to talk about the Bible or Bible study it refers to the “Big Story” of Scripture. Sounds important, but what is it?
Metanarrative of the Bible is the overarching story that ties all the pieces together. Scripture’s Big Story runs from Genesis to Revelation like a bright red thread. This Big Story tells the one, unified story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration all under God’s sovereign reign and rule. (For a great and more complete explanation see “Study with Purpose: Seeing the Big Story of the Bible” excerpted from “Women of the Word” by Jen Wilkin.)
An article on GotQuestions used the metaphor of a house to help explain metanarrative. When a house is under construction, various tradesmen like plumbers, electricians, and carpenters contribute their individual pieces towards the overall project. But without the blueprints we miss the big picture of the house. (See “What is a Metanarrative?”)
The Bible includes books of history, law, prophecy, wisdom, and letters. If we miss the metanarrative we might only see the Bible as a disjointed collection of individual books instead of the masterful, divinely-crafted unit it truly is. (See also “Who Wrote the Bible and Why Does it Matter?”) If we miss the Big Story, we might see two “Gods” in the Bible – the one justice in the Old Testament and the one of love and grace in the New. But viewed under the umbrella of the metanarrative, from beginning to end we see our one, holy God working out His divine plan for our redemption and restoration.
The Bible Emphasizes its Metanarrative
All of Scripture links together to unfurl God’s one divine plan – mankind’s redemption through Jesus Christ. Consider these truths:
- The Father planned for Jesus to provide for our salvation before Creation (1 Peter 1:20-21).
- God’s overarching purpose is to unite all things in heaven and earth to Himself through Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10).
- God sent Jesus at just the right time in history to carry out His plan (Galatians 4:4-5).
- God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled in Jesus (Galatians 3:7-14).
- Everything God prescribed in the Old Testament was an earthly shadow of the spiritual realities fulfilled in Jesus (Hebrews 8:1-6, Hebrews 10:1-7).
- Jesus fulfilled specific Old Testament prophecy. (For a list of 39 fulfilled Old Testament prophecies see “Is Jesus the Promised Messiah?”)
The Bible’s Big Story Aids Our Bible Study
Everything in the Bible comes into clearer focus when we keep the metanarrative in mind. (Also see “The 4 R Bible Study Method” and “4 Tips to Help You Understand the Bible.”) As you read and study the Bible consider the following:
- Where does this story/passage fit in the Big Story?
- How does the Big Story help me understand this piece?
- The pieces won’t contradict the Big Story.
The metanarrative of Scripture tells us all about God’s desire to have an eternal relationship with us and how He has worked it all out in history to make it possible. It is really the greatest love story of all time.