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The Drama of Scripture, 3rd Edition

Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story

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The story of the Bible and its account of God's action in the world give meaning to our lives and provide us with the foundation for our actions.

In this bestselling textbook, Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen survey the grand narrative of the Bible, demonstrating how the biblical story forms the foundation of a Christian worldview. In considering the biblical story, the authors emphasize the unity of the whole, viewing the Bible as a drama in six acts: creation, sin, Israel, Christ, church, and new creation. Two overarching themes--covenant in the Old Testament and kingdom in the New Testament--tie the biblical story together. Throughout, the authors suggest, God is revealed through the story and calls us to participate in his drama.

The third edition has been updated and revised throughout. Additional resources for students and professors are available through Textbook eSources.

Prologue: The Bible as a Grand Story
Act 1: God Establishes His Kingdom: Creation
Act 2: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall
Act 3: The King Chooses Israel: Redemption Initiated
Interlude: A Kingdom Story Waiting for an Ending: The Intertestamental Period
Act 4: The Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished
Act 5: Spreading the News of the King: The Mission of the Church
Act 6: The Return of the King: Redemption Completed


"Bartholomew and Goheen's Drama of Scripture brought the full story of God into view in new and fresh ways for me as a student. Now as both a professor and pastor I recommend and reference it weekly. It is my honor to commend the third edition of this great work to any who seek to better understand the overarching story of God and our place in it. Especially for teachers and preachers of Scripture, this volume is required reading and will yield immediate fruit in your life and ministry."

Benjamin T. Quinn, associate professor of theology and history of ideas, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the College at Southeastern

"Christians believe the Bible is God's Word, but we often struggle to make sense of what God is saying to us in the sprawling, diverse collection of texts we find there. The Drama of Scripture opens our eyes to the grand story that weaves through each and every biblical book. This grand narrative announces the good news that our God is rescuing and renewing the cosmos, and it invites us to give our lives to the task of living faithfully within that story. Bartholomew and Goheen have somehow managed to make rigorous scholarship deeply engaging, incredibly accessible, and imminently practical. Churches, pastors, Sunday schools, college classrooms, home groups, and more will all find in these pages the kind of guidance they need to hear Scripture's invitation to take our place within God's cosmic rescue plan."

Michael Rhodes, lecturer in Old Testament, Carey Baptist College

Praise for Previous Editions

"Much recent scholarship has emphasized the narrative quality of Scripture. This book takes that insight and brings it to life, enabling even the beginner to grasp the sense of Scripture as a single great story--a drama in which we are all invited to play a part. I am delighted to see solid scholarship made easily accessible in this splendid fashion."

N. T. Wright, University of St. Andrews; former bishop of Durham

"This book is an intelligent, engaging overview of the narrative of Scripture in six acts. Bartholomew and Goheen have produced a clear and theologically sensitive account of the Bible that is perfect for college students or adult Bible study groups."

Christopher Seitz, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

"This is a vivid introduction to reading the Bible as a coherent story of God's purposes for the world. It will not only help the new reader but also enable the experienced reader to distinguish the central themes of Scripture from mere sidelights."

Gordon J. Wenham, author of Story as Torah and Psalms as Torah

"Bartholomew and Goheen do a masterful job of presenting the Bible as an organic whole. They powerfully demonstrate how the themes of covenant and the kingdom of God provide a coherence for Scripture that helps the reader make sense of its varied parts. I enthusiastically recommend this book as a university-level textbook, but all who want to enrich their understanding of the account of God's redemptive plan will benefit from reading it."

Tremper Longman III, Westmont College (emeritus)

"A model of biblical scholarship, integrating sound critical methods with a disposition of faith that is open to the revelation of the living God through his Word. This engaging book opens up for students the panoramic vision of the Bible that has been obscured by centuries of confessional battles and has been fragmented by Enlightenment rationalism. It succeeds in rendering the biblical world truly habitable, thus bridging the gap between the Bible and Christian experience."

Mary E. Healy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary

"The Drama of Scripture is just what we would expect, and need, from the partnership of an accomplished biblical scholar and a noted missiologist. This is an entrée into the grand sweep of God's story told with a keen eye for Christian formation and the mission of God's people. Though Bartholomew and Goheen are obviously in conversation with relevant scholarship, their narrative is uncluttered and disarmingly transparent in its invitation for us not only to grasp but also to be grasped by the big story of God's project."

Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary

The Authors

  1. Craig G. Bartholomew

    Craig G. Bartholomew

    Craig G. Bartholomew (PhD, University of Bristol) is director of the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology in Cambridge, England. He was formerly senior research fellow at the University of Gloucestershire and the H. Evan Runner Professor of...

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  2. Michael W. Goheen

    Michael W. Goheen

    Michael W. Goheen (PhD, University of Utrecht) is professor of missional theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is also professor of missional theology and director of theological education at the Missional Training Center, Phoenix. Goheen is...

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