Studying the Bible can be a daunting task.  The sheer size and amount of content can appear overwhelming to students who desire to know more.  While gleaning insights from individual passages is important, it is also important to understand the biblical patterns and how all of the content fits together.

Download Handout – Biblical Patterns

Stats on the Bible

  • The Bible is 1 narrative composed of 2 testaments made up of 66 books.
  • The Old Testament has 39 books and the New Testament has 27 books.
  • The Bible has 1,189 chapters, 31,173 verses, and 773,692 words.
  • The Bible was written by 40 different authors whose occupations ranged from kings to shepherds, scholars to fishermen, prophets to generals, tax collectors to doctors, and cupbearers to priests.
  • The Bible was written over a period of approximately 2,000 years on 3 different continents in 3 different languages.
  • The Bible tells 1 consistently glorious truth: Jesus saves.

Biblical Patterns in Narrative

An important element in understanding the Bible as a whole is by learning how to discover design patterns in the way the authors presented the biblical narrative.

  1. While much of the biblical content is simple and straightforward, some of the biblical narrative was composed to provide greater insight the more that it is studied.
  2. Authors leave clues along the way to show how individual narratives relate to the one big narrative of Scripture.
  3. As you study, look for repeated words, phrases, and settings to connect the dots.
  4. Meditating on Scripture (Josh. 1:8) provides the reader with a lifelong journey of understanding the biblical text to a greater degree with every reading.
  5. The more we understand the message of the Bible, the more we love the Author of the Bible.

Putting It Into Practice

  1. The Baptismal Dove – Read Mark 1:9-11.  What story does a dove remind you of?  How would that relate to baptism?
  2. Tempted in the Wilderness – Read Mark 1:12-13.  What story does Jesus’ temptation remind you of?  How does that relate to what comes before it and after it?
  3. The 2 Angels in the Empty Tomb – Read John 20:11-15.  Draw on a piece of paper what Mary would have seen in that moment.  Does that look similar to anything in the Old Testament?
  4. Following the Father Up the Mountain – Read Gen. 22:1-14.  What elements of the story of Abraham and Isaac remind you of another key story in the Bible?
  5. Which Way? – There is a common thread regarding direction through key passages in the Bible.  See if you notice them (Gen. 3:24; Gen. 4:16; Gen. 11:2; Gen. 13:11; Gen. 29:1; Gen. 32:22; Num. 3:38; Ezek. 43:4; Ezek. 47:1; Ezek. 44:2; Acts 3:2;).
  6. Original Sin – The first sin was an isolated incident but does it also contain a pattern that we see more often?  Read the original sin passage (Gen. 1:31; 3:1-13) and see if you see how additional passages connect (Gen. 16:1-13; Ex. 32:1-10; Josh. 7:1, 20-21; 1 Sam. 10:20-27; 2 Sam. 11:2-4; Luke 22:3; Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:32-42).

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.