The story of the Bible is the story of God’s work in the world. It is His (God’s) story, that is the fundamental and original understanding of history. It is only in the post-Enlightenment, modern, secular, humanistic world that God has been written out of history (His story). Historians since 18th Century tell us that history is the story of man, of humanity, and that to suggest God’s involvement in history amounts to a confusion of history with religion. But such an idea is a modern invention and is patently false.
It should be obvious that every fact of history must be interpreted in the light of God from a Christian perspective. But God is no less involved in the study of history from a non-Christian perspective. If we believe that God exists, then all of history necessarily relates to Him. And if we believe that God does not exist, then all of history must deny Him. In either case, God plays a central role either as the central actor or as the central thing to avoid.
It is true that history can be written from a variety of perspectives, but again that does not mean that all historical perspectives are equal in validity or trustworthiness. It is incumbent upon Christians to understand the world and its history from the perspective of the Bible not just ancient history, but contemporary history, as well. That is what it means to be a Christian. So, to fail in this regard is to fail to be a Christian in any meaningful sense.
One of the unique things about the history of the Bible is that it has been written without providing a positive view of humanity or of Israel, God’s chosen people. The Old Testament is filled with the flaws and foibles of God’s chosen people. People are not prone to provide an unflattering view of themselves, yet that is precisely what we find in Scripture.
The adage of our day is that winners write the history of their exploits and in so doing portray themselves in a positive, favorable light. But that is not what we find in Scripture. The culmination of the Old Testament story is the threat of destruction, following in the pattern of Israel’s previous destructions. Samaria and the Northern Kingdom was destroyed in 722 B.C. by Assyria, and Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians.
The story of the New Testament is the story of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, come to earth to provide for the salvation of His people through the propitiation of His Father by dying for the sins of His people on the cross. In the face of His self-sacrifice for the benefit of His people, we find the Jewish establishment rejecting and denying that Jesus is the long-awaited Christ. The consequence of their denial was the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 by the Roman army, which threw the newly established Christian church into a world-wide mission on behalf of the resurrected Christ to gather His people for His return in glory.
The Bible is the story of how God uses the events of history to accomplish His will.
We believe in the progressive self-revelation of God to His covenant people through the vehicle of history. All things have a direction toward the consummation of God’s good purposes.The culmination of the ages is the manifestation of God in the flesh, Jesus Christ, first in humiliation to accomplish God’s eternal redemption and finally in glory to consummate the Kingdom of God. To these fullnesses of time God orchestrates all of history leading up. The Church [Abraham’s seed] is the nation of choice through which God has delighted to bless all the nations of the world. … the Scriptures [are] the progressive self-disclosure of God. All of the Scriptures point to the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, become flesh. And all of the Scriptures need to be interpreted in light of His historical work, death, resurrection, and ascension. —from Biblical Theology and Redemptive Historical Hermeneutics
If you do not know history, you do not know anything. You are a leaf that does not know it is part of a tree. —Michael Crichton