At Work & Theology 101

Reading the Bible as One Story: The Four Chapter Gospel (Part 6)

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Let’s summarize our discussion of the Four-Chapter Gospel from these past several days:

  • For 1800 years the metanarrative of the Bible was taught in four chapters, creation, fall, redemption and restoration.
  • In the last 200 years, the evangelical church in America has truncated the Four-Chapter gospel to only two chapters: Fall and Redemption.
  • Leaving out the first chapter, Creation, and the last chapter, Redemption. The Two-Chapter gospel becomes a gospel of sin management and the focus is all about us.
  • We need to rediscover the lost two chapters to find out why we were created and understand our future destiny. Only in this larger framework can we understand why our work is important to God.

Stressing the urgency of reading the Bible as one unified story, Michael Goheen in a lecture called “The Urgency of Reading the Bible as One Story in the 21st Century,” says:

The question is not whether the whole of our lives will be shaped by some grand story. The only question is which grand story will shape our lives. For the one who has heard Jesus’ call to follow him, the call comes with a summons to enter the story of which he was the climactic moment—the story narrated in the Bible. It is an invitation to find our place in that story.


The issue is urgent: only then can we submit to Scripture’s authority; only then can we understand our missional identity; only then can we resist being absorbed into the dangerous idolatries of our time. The church needs pastors and leaders, (businesses needs entrepreneurs and workers) and the academy needs scholars and teachers who are in the grip of this story, and discharge their task in a way that calls church members and students to find their place in the true story of the world.

The gospel, when understood in its fullness, is not solely about individual happiness and fulfillment; it is not all about me. As Tim Keller says,

It is not just a wonderful plan for ‘my life’ but a wonderful plan for the world; it is about the coming of God’s kingdom to renew all things.

Only with this bigger picture in view can we understand how our story fits into His story and the importance of the Biblical doctrine of work. 

Question: Has this discussion of the Four-Chapter Gospel been new to you? What is your overall reaction to this larger metanarrative of the Bible? Leave a comment.

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