Summary: The Bible story divides itself into Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian eras and this is very important to understanding and applying God’s word.

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The Bible Story (You Can Understand the Bible 2) II Tim. 2:15

INTRO.: The Bible was written by about 40 different authors over a span of about 15 centuries. The last book in the Bible was written 2 thousand years ago in a land most of us have never seen and a language we don’t speak. The Bible is the product of a culture completely foreign to us. It reveals things we would otherwise never know. How can we hope to understand such a book?

Yet, it is the Word of God to us. We need to understand it.

Today, I want to share with you what I think is the most important key to understanding God’s Word. The concept of how the Bible story divides itself into three eras of revelation.

They are the Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian ages. Let’s look at each a little more closely.

I. The first age of biblical history is the patriarchal age.

A. Called this because the father of the family served as prophet, priest, ruler.

1. This age includes the record of God’s establishment of the family. Gen. 2:18, 21-24

2. This age was from Adam to Moses.

3. We read this part of Bible history in Genesis and Job.

B. Religion was a family matter.

1. Record of the first offerings made by men is seen in Gen. 4:3-5

2. During this time, God spoke through men like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, etc.

3. Gen. 26:1-5 an example of God revealing His will through Isaac and expressing His approval of Isaac’s father.

C. The place of worship was generally an altar set up by the father of the family.

1. Noah provides an example. Gen. 8:20ff

2. Abraham’s offering of Isaac reinforces this lesson. Gen. 22

3. Men were learning the necessity of sacrifice. "The wages of sin is death."

4. This was a time of very dim light, the "starlight" age.

II. The second age of biblical history is the Mosaic or Jewish age.

A. Called this because during this time, God dealt with the Jewish nation and the Law of Moses was the standard.

1. This era extended from the giving of the Law of Moses to the day of Pentecost when the Church was born.

2. This history occupies the Bible from Exodus 20 to Acts 2, about 1500 years.

3. During this era, the nation of Israel was governed by the Law of Moses and the priesthood.

B. Religion was national during this period.

1. The Jews were God’s special people above all others. Exod. 19:5, 6 & Deut. 7:6-8

2. The Law of Moses was the constitution of the nation.

3. The sign of the covenant was circumcision of the males.

4. God’s ultimate intention was to raise up a people through whom He could send His Son into the world.

C. During this time, the Jews worshiped in the tabernacle and later, after the time of David, in the temple at Jerusalem.

1. Every adult Jewish male was expected to be in attendance at three annual feast days.

2. Animal sacrifices were made on the altar in the temple to atone for the sins of the people. They couldn’t actually take away sin. Heb. 10:4

3. God spoke through prophets to the nation. They added nothing to the Law, but called for obedience to it.

4. The last of these prophets was John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the coming of Jesus.

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