This book will help you understand each book of the Bible. But, first, you need to know where each book fits. What is the big story of the Bible? Here is a short outline.
From Adam to Abraham
The Bible begins with God. God has always been. And God decided to make the world. He made the heavens. He made the earth. And he filled them with good things. Then God made a man named Adam. He made a woman named Eve. He put them in a beautiful garden. He gave them all that they needed. God told them that there was only one thing that they could not do. They could not eat from one of the trees in the middle of the garden.
One day, a snake came into the garden. That snake was Satan*. The snake told them a lie. He told them to eat the fruit. They chose to believe that lie. They decided not to obey God. They ate the fruit. So God sent them out of the garden that he made for them. But he did not leave them. He watched over them. He gave them clothes to cover them. He gave them children. And he gave them a promise. He would give them a son. That son would overcome Satan.
After Adam and Eve left the garden, many things happened. One of their sons killed his brother. Their children and their children’s children grew more in number. They built cities. As more and more people began to live on the earth, the more evil the people became.
So God decided to send a flood to the earth. The flood would destroy all of the people and animals from the earth. But God chose one man to remain alive. He would build a boat. He would bring some of the animals into the boat with him. After the flood, he and his family would start over again. They would fill the earth with children and teach them to follow God.
After the flood, Noah and his family came out of the boat. They built houses. They had children. Soon the earth began to be filled with people again. But not all of the people followed God. Instead, some of them built a tall building to honour themselves. God was not pleased. So God confused the people. He changed the languages they spoke. They could not understand each other. So they moved away from each other. They became many different nations. They moved to various places on the earth.
From Abraham to Moses
Many years went by. But God was not finished with the people on the earth. He had a plan to rescue them. So God came to a man named Abram. He made him a promise. He told Abram that he would bless* him. He would give him a land of his own. He would give him a son. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. God told Abraham that he would bless* all of the nations because of him. Abraham did have a son. His name was Isaac. Isaac became a man and he also had a son. His name was Jacob. Jacob grew to be a man and he had 12 sons. God changed Jacob’s name too. He called him Israel*. And the sons of Jacob became known as the children of Israel*.
After many years, there was a time when there was no food in the land that God gave to Abraham. So Jacob and his family moved to Egypt. Not many years after they moved to Egypt, the king of Egypt made them slaves. They lived there for 400 years.
From Moses to David
One day, God came to a man named Moses. God told Moses that he was going to take the children of Israel* back to the land that God gave Abraham. This was a very difficult job. But God helped Moses. And, after the children of Israel* came out of Egypt, God made another promise. He told them that he would bless* them. He would give them the land that he promised Abraham. And they would become a great nation.
God also gave Israel* rules to help them live for God. When they obeyed God’s ways, God would bless* them. If they did not obey, God would not bless* them. After many years and after many tests, the people did go into the land God gave them. They lived there for many years. God was with them. He sent men and women to lead them. They were called judges.
From David to Exile
Then, God gave the people of Israel a king. The first king did not follow God. So God gave them a second king. His name was David. Just like he had with Abraham and Moses, God made a special promise to David. He promised to make a great nation from his family. He promised that one of David’s sons would rule some day. This son would be the king of all of the nations in all of the world. His kingdom* would last for ever.
When David was king, God began to speak to the people through some special men. These men were prophets*. David built a great kingdom*. He was not perfect, but he was good. The people were strong. The land was safe.
One day, David had a son named Solomon. After David died, Solomon became king. God made him great too. Solomon built a special house for God called the temple*. The temple* was a place where the people came to honour God. When they came there, they did the things that God told them to do through his words to Moses.
But, after Solomon died, there was trouble in the land of Israel*. The people did not want Solomon’s son to be the next king. So Israel* was no longer one nation. It broke apart. The people in the north part of the country chose a different king. They took the name Israel*. The people in the south chose their own king. They took the name Judah. For many years, the two nations fought each other. Sometimes, Judah had a good king who told them to follow the ways of God. But Israel* did not have kings who pleased God.
God sent prophets* to Israel* and Judah for many years. The prophets* told the people to come back to God. The prophets* warned the people. They said that God would punish them if they did not return to him. God would let their enemies come into the land. Their enemies would take them away from the land. Then, Israel* and Judah would be in exile* in a land that was not their own.
God warned them. But they did not listen. So God sent an army to fight against Israel*. The army was from Assyria. They overcame Israel*. They took the people from the land. Many years later, God sent another army. That army was from Babylon. They fought against Judah. They destroyed the temple*. They took the people from the land. It was a very sad time for God’s people. But God sent prophets* to the people. The prophets* said that God would not forget them. He would remember the promises that he had made to them. God would bring them back to the land that he promised to Abraham.
From Exile to Return
For many years, the people of God lived in exile*. But, one day, God brought many of the people back to the land. The first thing they did was put the temple* back together. Then, they built the walls of the city again. And soon, God sent leaders to remind them of the ways Moses had taught them to live. The people were back in the land.
But they were not a great nation any more. They had no king. But the prophets* told them to have hope*. God would still keep his promises to Abraham, Moses, and David. God would send the son he promised Abraham. God would live among his people like he had promised Moses. God would give a son from David’s family who would rule all of the nations.
From Return to Jesus
So the people waited. For almost 400 years, there was no new word from God. No prophets* spoke. No kings came to rule.
Then, one day, God came to a young virgin* named Mary. He told her that she would have a son. He said that this son would sit on the throne* of David. This son would be called the Son of God. Soon, Jesus was born. God had become a man. When he grew to be an adult, he chose some men to be his followers. They went from place to place with him. They heard him say many wonderful things. They saw him do many wonderful things. He made blind people see again. He made sick people well again. He even went to people who had died and gave them life again. They saw that he was a holy man. He did nothing evil*. He always obeyed the laws of Moses. He did not sin*.
Many people were happy to hear what Jesus said. But many of the people did not believe him. Some of the leaders became angry with him. They said that Jesus spoke in a way that made people think that Jesus was God. They were right. That made them so angry that they decided to kill him.
So Jesus met with his followers and told them what was going to happen. Soldiers were going to take Jesus and hold him. They were going to kill him. But his followers did not have to be afraid. God would bring Jesus back to life again. And that is just what happened.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he spent some time teaching the men and women who believed him. He told them that he would go to be with God soon. But, someday, he will return. When he returns, he will do all of the things that God had promised to Abraham, Moses, and David. But, until then, Jesus wants all of his followers to go everywhere and tell everyone the good news about him. Jesus is the Son of God. He died and is alive again. And anyone who believes in Jesus, anyone who trusts* his words, will have life that lasts for ever. God will forgive* them for the evil* things that they have done. And, some day, they will live with God. They will go to a place where everything is good and they will never die. But, until then, they would not be alone. Jesus would send the Holy Spirit* to help them.
After Jesus finished saying these things, God took him up through the clouds. And so the followers did what Jesus told them to do. They went everywhere they could go. They told everyone they could tell about Jesus.
From Jesus to Now
After many years, God came to one of the first men to follow Jesus named John. He gave him a dream. He showed him many things about what will happen in the future. He told him that life will be hard for the Christians. He told him that Satan* will fight against God and lie to many people. But he told John not to be afraid. Jesus will return to earth. He will defeat Satan*. He will judge everyone that ever lived. He will punish Satan* and all of those who followed him. And he will gather his people to be with him for ever. He will make a new heaven* and a new earth. And he will rule all of the nations. They will be his people. He will be their God for ever.
But that is not the end of the story. In some ways, a new story will just be beginning.