Last time I wrote about biblical girders, the superstructure of the Bible that folks in churches tend to hear very little about. While not seeking to diminish the well-known passages, let’s consider whether we can help people know their Bibles better by bringing to their attention the existence and importance of some of the biblical girder passages.
Biblical Covenant Passages – A strong case can be made for seeing the biblical covenants as a skeleton on which the Bible is built. God’s promise and subsequent covenant with Abram/Abraham in Genesis 12, then 13, 15, 17 is critical. Then there’s the Mosaic content in Deuteronomy 27-30 (how often do we stumble across “who will ascend?” or “who has descended?” allusions in the New Testament?) Then God’s covenant with David in 2Samuel 7 and 1Chronicles 17. And, of course, the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36 and the latter part of Isaiah. Being unaware of these covenants is crippling if someone is wanting to grasp the Old Testament, or the development in the New Testament.
Biblically Quoted Passages – Some passages are quoted with a significant frequency. Sometimes the quote is actually just an allusion, but that doesn’t diminish its significance. Sometimes it proves the writer assumed hearers would spot it more easily. God’s spoken self-revelation in Exodus 34 runs like a refrain through the Old Testament. Psalms 2, 69 and 110 get their fair share of airtime once you get to the New Testament, as does Psalm 118 in reference to Jesus and Psalm 8 plays a key role in Hebrews. Genesis 15:6 comes out three significant times, as does Habakkuk 2:4. The lesser known part of Isaiah 6 does some heavy lifting, as does the allusion to Daniel 7. And in the passion of Christ, where you might expect lots of references to Genesis 22 (Abraham & Isaac), instead you find lots of Davidic Psalms and Zechariah quotes.
Structurally Significant Passages – Some passages seem to serve a key purpose in the structure of a book or a section. Joshua 1 serves a key transitional function between the Torah and the Kethubim. Psalm 73 seems to provide the hinge for the turn in the flow of the whole collection. John 11-12 offer a significant transition in John’s Gospel.
There are many more that could be listed. The point is that many of these are less familiar to most people in the church than David’s slaying Goliath, or Naaman dipping in the Jordan, or Daniel in the den of lions, or Jesus calming the storm, or Paul in prison in Philippi. All important, but in terms of grasping the flow and message of the whole Bible, perhaps there are too many gaps at critical points.