Did you know that the Bible is a bunch of smaller stories that point to one, big, true story? It is the story of God and His rescue plan through Jesus.
Starting in Genesis, and all throughout the Old Testament, God points to a Messiah who would come to rescue His people. At the beginning of the New Testament this Messiah, Jesus, finally arrives. Through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, God makes a way for His people to be with Him again. We can see the effect this good news has on the world throughout the rest of Scripture.
This Bible Timeline shows how all of the stories in God's Word fit together. Each of the 13 eras reveal God's amazing character and how He invites all of us to be a part of His rescue plan.
Our perfect and holy God created the world and everything in it, including mankind, and it was very good. However, Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, chose to sin so their relationship with God was broken which brought death into the world. This did not surprise God, and He began His plan to rescue the world from sin.
God chose a man named Abraham to start a very special family that He would use in His great rescue plan. God made a covenant, or promise, to Abraham that his family would bless the whole world. Abraham had Isaac, and Isaac had Jacob. Jacob had 12 sons who did not always get along. Eventually, Jacob’s whole family moved to a country called Egypt.
While in Egypt, Abraham’s growing family, now known as Israel, became slaves. God used Moses to rescue His people from slavery and lead them out of Egypt to a land God promised them. Because God loved Israel, He gave them the Law, which showed them how to live in a way that honored Him and each other. Sadly, they did not always trust God, so they had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.
God kept His promise to Abraham and gave his family the land of Canaan to be their home. There were people already living in the land, so the Israelites had to fight for it. Obedience to God led to victory while disobedience brought defeat. God commanded Israel to remove all the wicked Canaanites, but they did not. This would eventually lead to trouble for the Israelites.
The Israelites forgot God and what He had done for them. Instead of following God, they worshiped the fake gods of the Canaanites. Because of their sin, God allowed them to be defeated by other nations. God still loved them. When they called out to Him, He was faithful and sent judges to rescue them. Israel failed, but God was still at work. There was still hope.
Israel was tired of judges and told God they wanted a human king. A few of their kings were good and followed God but most failed. The kingdom divided and fought against itself. God sent messages to His people through prophets to remind them of His love. He wanted them to trust and obey Him and warned them of what would happen if they did not.
God loved the people of Israel and wanted them to turn from their sin and back to Him, but they refused. Because the Israelites worshiped other gods and sinned against the Lord, God allowed their enemies to conquer them. They were taken into exile by Assyria and Babylon. God was still at work and used prophets to send messages of hope to His people.
God kept His promise to let the Israelites return to their homes after living in exile. The people returned to Jerusalem in three waves and began to rebuild their lives. God used men to lead the people in rebuilding the Temple and the wall. What God wanted even more than buildings and actions was for their hearts to trust that He loved them and had a good plan for them.
In the time between the Old and New Testaments, multiple empires were defeated as others rose to power. Famous battles were fought, epic stories were written, and huge building projects arose. God did not speak to His people for 400 years. However, He was still working to complete the rescue plan He had promised from the beginning of the Old Testament.
God’s promised Rescuer finally came. Jesus, fully God and fully man, endured hardship, spoke the truth in love, and showed compassion to the people. He lived a perfect life so that He could be the perfect sacrifice, paying the ultimate price for sin once and for all. After He rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples and promised them that He would come back again.
Before Jesus returned to heaven, He promised to send His followers a gift: the Holy Spirit. The Spirit came as promised and gave Jesus’ followers, also known as the church, what they needed to do the work God had for them. Not everyone liked the church and their message. Persecution drove many of Jesus’ followers out of Jerusalem and into Judea and Samaria.
Jesus’ followers traveled around the Roman empire. Wherever they went, they told people about Jesus. New local churches with people from diverse backgrounds were formed and began to grow. Christians were thrown in prison, beaten, and even killed because of their faith. Despite increased persecution, the gospel continued to spread to the whole world.
This is the only era that has not happened yet. We do not know much about the Future, but we can trust that God knows and is in control of everything that will happen. God gives us clues about what will happen all throughout the Bible, starting in Genesis. What we do know for sure is that Jesus is coming back to fulfill prophecy, defeat His enemies, and rule forever.