Of Jesus-Shaped Fortune Cookies and The Epic of War

We tend to forget that the Bible is one book. We tend to forget that the Bible is an exciting epic that not even Tolkien or Rowlings could reproduce. We tend to forget that THE Author has written a book so that we can stand back and say, “He did all that for His Son?” (You thought that I was going to say, he did all that “for me” didn’t you?? Guess what… the Bible is about Jesus… not you.)


As we consider the way in which we read the Scriptures, we need to remember that the Scriptures are not to be used like fortune cookies or even little personal words of encouragements. We are to read the Bible as a book about a holy war. Two Kingdoms have been at war since the early pages of the Scriptures- and the Kingdom of the Son is the one that has conquered.

So next time you are reading your Bible, ask yourself where the passage  falls in the history of redemption. What makes that passage special in the building of the Kingdom of God? What does that passage teach you about Jesus, the King? What does that passage require of you, the subject of the King?

This is a more faithful way to read the Scriptures that diving in for fortunes and little encouragements. Craig Bartholomew says it like this, “‎”Many of us read the Bible as if it were merely a mosaic of little bits- theological bits, moral bits, historical-critical bits, sermon bits, devotional bits. But when we read the Bible in such a fragmented way, we ignore its divine author’s intention to shape our lives through its story.” (The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story)

What’s your character’s part in the Story of the King?


  1. Pastor Brad Johnston August 20, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Hey Nate, good work! One thing that helped me to think in these terms was a “Life Notebook,” an idea recommended to me by my father. I’ve kept a paper trail of the major events and decisions in my life. It has helped me immensely to see my life as a novel being written. My smaller story is one miniscule part of the much larger, grander, cosmic story being written by my King!

  2. R. Martin Snyder August 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Are you sure it is just a book about Jesus and not us? There sure are a lot of one anothers in it. If it wasn’t about us also then why all the fuss over what Christ did to reconcile us. For some reason that just grates on my nerves when people say that. And I don’t think I am overly narcissistic. I still believe it was for God’s Glory alone that we may be made co-heirs with Christ.

  3. R. Martin Snyder August 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    ‎(Rom 15:4) For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

    Maybe I just don’t get it still what people mean when they say things like you just wrote. Is it some reaction to something I am not familiar with?

    • Pastor Brad Johnston August 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

      Hey Martin! I think if people haven’t integrated Soli Deo Gloria into their thinking, and if they’ve experienced Christianity in a market-driven, mega-church context, they often have an anthropocentric (man-centered) view of the Gospel … and it can be all about God loving YOU and wanting YOU to be happy. In pastoral ministry I’ve found times when I must shake such a person up with a strong theocentric alternative (that is code for unmasking their selfish). I think that’s what Nate is doing here. A little polemical? Sure. But there’s a lot of selfish people out there on the Left Coast … and in my neighborhood.

  4. Chuck Wiese August 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    I disagree. It’s definitely true that the Scriptures are all about Jesus but the central message is not Jesus in His majesty. Even His reign as king is something much different than the Jews expected. The Jews would have been more than happy with a King Jesus who came and destroyed the Romans and set up His kingdom.

    Instead, the central message according to Paul is Christ-crucified. The Father showed His own self-sacrificial love for us by sending His only-begotten Son to die for us. The Son showed His own self-sacrificial love as a true Son of the Father by laying down His own life for us. He reigns suspended above the earth on the cross with a crown of thorns on his head and blood dripping down. He was killed by a world of sinners that He was giving His own life for. That is the King Jesus of the Scriptures.

    The King did not come so that we could serve Him but to serve us. Because we have been united to Christ in baptism we too show that self-sacrificial love of Christ to our neighbor. We are sheep and so we do sheepy things.

  5. Kurt August 24, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    This makes the case for pursuing memorizing large chunks of Scripture rather than a verse or two.

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