The Most Beautiful Story Ever Told
The arc of Scripture is masterful, and the Christian story is the best story
You’ve probably thought of God as perfect, or holy, or majestic. But have you ever thought of Him as beautiful?
The Old Testament speaks of God in this way.
1 Chronicles 16:29 tells us to worship the Lord “in the beauty of holiness.”
Job 40:10 says He is arrayed with splendor, glory and beauty.
Psalm 90:17 says the beauty of the Lord is upon us, His creation.
Psalm 96:9 says beauty is in His sanctuary.
Not only is God beautiful, but the Bible is also beautiful. Have you ever thought about it in those terms? The more I read God’s Word over the years, the more I can see just what an incredible masterpiece God has given to us in Scripture.
Yes, I believe the Bible is pure truth and contains no errors, but its beauty goes beyond mere perfection. It is like a priceless tapestry, woven together by an unimaginably creative artist who is also a master craftsman.
The Bible has captured my love and imagination. That’s why I have dedicated my life to filling my heart and mind with its truth.
That’s also why I have dedicated my career to teaching about it.
A couple of years ago, a friend told me about hearing a professor at The King’s University talking about the “aesthetics” of the biblical story—in other words, the beauty of the larger arc of Scripture. This teacher was making a practical application about the attractiveness of the Christian story as an alternative to other stories the world might tell.
To get an idea of why this story is so beautiful, let’s compare it to two other stories.
The Story of Meaninglessness
Here’s one story. This might be the story of the world or the story of life as perceived by an atheist:
We live in a world with many beautiful things, yet much of it is desperately broken, including people. Nothing can be done about it, except to survive it and make it marginally better until we die. After that, there is nothing.
Well, that’s bleak. That’s not a beautiful story. Living in a world without purpose but trying to make it slightly better before death is not particularly attractive to me. It’s certainly not hopeful.
The Story of Karma
Here’s another story. This might be the kind of story told by a practitioner of another ancient religion—especially one of those systems, like Hinduism or Buddhism, that believes in things like karma and reincarnation:
We live in a world with many beautiful things, yet much of it is desperately broken. People are suffering. Each person has an immortal soul, but we live in broken, physical bodies. Selfless actions uplift our souls. Selfish actions degrade our souls. Throughout each lifetime, our souls will accumulate karma as we face the consequences of our actions. When the physical body dies, our souls will continue to exist, stuck in a cycle of reincarnation, living one lifetime after another, until enough good, selfless deeds free us from karma. Only then will we achieve liberation.
That seems exhausting. The endless repetition of reincarnation and karma—in other words, getting what you deserve—makes me appreciate the New Testament concept of grace as Jesus taught.
The Story of Salvation
Here’s one more story. This is the story of grace and salvation God tells in the Bible:
We live in a beautiful world with many beautiful things, yet much of it is desperately broken, including people. However, we believe Someone created that beauty, and the brokenness is not His doing nor His intent. He intends good for both the world and the people in it. In fact, this Creator cared so much for His creation that He became one of us and took all the pain and brokenness on Himself, even to the point of dying for it.
Even so, that did not end His story. He rose from the dead and is re-creating the world, beginning with those people who will love and follow Him. One day He will fix absolutely everything and restore the beauty with which the world began, and we will live and reign with Him for all eternity.
Of these three examples, which is the better story?
Yes, it’s the last one. It’s not just a more beautiful story. It’s a truer story. The fact that it is more truthful makes it all the more beautiful.
Separate from God, the human story is ugly and disappointing. But God’s story, from beginning to end, is the most beautiful thing you will ever hear, see or read. Because God chooses to enter the human story, out of His great love, our story reflects the beauty of our Creator.
Keep in mind, when I say the Bible is a “story,” I don’t mean to say it is made-up. It is not fiction or a fairy tale. It is absolutely true.
It is a story, however, in the way that it explains everything: who we are, why we are here, and what will happen to us.
Like any great tale, the way it does this is encouraging and pleasing from an aesthetic perspective. It makes us feel good. It makes sense. It encourages everyone who encounters it. From beginning to end, the story of the Bible is beautiful—and that story includes Bible prophecy.
A Story with a Happy Ending
Prophecy shows us God’s continuing story and the way His love and salvation play out in future events. Ultimately, it reveals to us the happy ending God has wanted and planned for us all along. That’s why I have dedicated so much of my time and energy to telling this story, by pointing to Bible prophecy and passages about our future.
I want everyone I know to understand the beauty of prophecy in the Bible. I want everyone to know that the story these prophetic passages describe are not stories of meaningless destruction or judgment, but of hope. The message of Scripture is good news.
It is the story of life out of death, beauty from ashes, and restoration of what was broken. It is a story of hope and salvation. It is a story of peace and safety.
It is the story of how God controls all things, and that story gives me hope.
Jesus is coming soon. The best stories have the most satisfying endings, and we are just a few sentences away from the end of the book. Are you ready?