If you’re reading this, chances are you’re also familiar with Wikipedia. The title of the web sites come from the practice of publishing a data dump of your knowledge on a particular topic. It is a loosely constrained document that can take any number of shapes so long as it stays within the framework of the defined topic. Though the modern idea is credited to Ward Cunningham, the concept is centuries old and found in the Bible. Scot McKnight brings this concept to the discussion of reading the Bible as story in The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible’ target=_blank>The Blue Parakeet.
The Bible has a unique composition as we are all aware. Numerous authors writing over many, many years in a wide variety of environments and genres tell a single, continuous story. God superintended His story across this swatch of humanity and time to express His relationship with the world and His people. Rather than a systematic theology, He elected to tell the story as a series of ‘wikis.’ Each of the Bible’s authors is free to tell the story the way they see fit as long as it conforms to a consistent, sacred plot line. The authors may use poetry, history, or even a personal letter to tell the story but each remains based on the same plot.
Scot outlines the plot line as follows, using the Greek word Eikon. This becomes our anglicized ‘icon’ and means image, specifically in the Bible, the image of Christ into which we are being transformed. The storyline will be our creation as Eikons which become broken and finally restored. He suggests this order:
- Creating Eikons – Genesis 1 and 2 (Oneness)
- Cracked Eikons - Genesis 3 to 11 ( Otherness )
- Covenant Community - Genesis 12 to Malachi ( Otherness Expands )
- Christ, The Perfect Eikon Redeems – Matthew to Revelation 20 ( One in Christ )
- Consumation – Revelation 21-22
Each author works with this outline but does not necessarily have to use each one. When we view the Bible in this fashion, our understanding changes. Rather than sixty six different stories, we can understand the interaction of the authors as variations on the same story. This unity is missed when we use another approach to reading and can tempt us to pull books or passages out of the whole context, leading us to misinterpretations, something we should desire to avoid. Any impressions on this idea?