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20 Quotes from Glen Scrivener on the Whole Bible Story

João Silas on Unsplash

The following quotes caught my attention as I read Glen Scrivener’s outstanding new book, Long Story Short: The Bible in 12 Phrases (Christian Focus, 2018). Don’t miss this one.


The Bible tells us that we’re not a mistake or even just a pleasant surprise. We are wanted. We are the planned offspring of the God of love and he longs to share his life with us. (26)

If Adam was head over creation, Eve was the crown. (32)

The next time you say something deceitful, hurtful or proud, you cannot say “I don’t know what came over me.” Nothing came over you. Such sins come out of you. They come from a wellspring that is very dark, very deep and very old. You know it. We all feel it. Adam explains it. (32)

The hope is held out [in Genesis] that one day the Son would be a second Adam, born to answer the first. . . . And this second Adam would give us a second family to belong to—God’s. (39)

God’s first promise was for the man of heaven to descend and save us. Humanity’s plan is to ascend to heaven and “make a name for ourselves.” (44)

This is what we see in the burning bush: not a flame-proof tree but a flame-bound God—one who joins us in the furnace. What arrests Moses’s attention is not a heavenly spectacle but unfathomable love. He’s not the God that we expected. But he’s exactly the God we need. (60)

Nothing shows up my badness like a concerted effort at goodness. (71)

This is serious. We were created to share in the family life of God! Yet none of us live the life of God’s child. This means we don’t belong in the one household we were made for. It’s not so much that my law-breaking doesn’t belong to the life of God. I don’t belong. It’s not simply about broken rules, it’s about our broken humanity. The law shows up my disordered and dark heart. It reveals that I have no right to belong to God’s family. (72)

Just as the “Thou shalts” described the life of God’s Son, so the tabernacle described the death of God’s Son. And just as the commandments show us our sin, so the sacrifices show us our salvation. (79)

This is why the Bible’s teaching about the scapegoat is the reverse of our modern notions of scapegoating. When the Lord takes on the role of Scapegoat it’s not the oppression of the weak. It’s the willing sacrifice of the strong. (81)

As the Israelites came through the Red Sea, delivered from their slave-masters once and for all, they did not instantly enter the “good and spacious land.” In fact they walked out of slavery and into a desert. Here is the way to God’s promised future: God’s people are not teleported into ease and comfort; they are led through trial and testing. In fact the great majority of the books of Moses—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy—are set in the desert. (86)

Today, if a dictator is found to be killing off innocent members of his own country, the international community may give him four days, four weeks or even four months to stop. The Lord gave the Canaanites four centuries to repent of their evil—considerably longer than any other ‘just war’ ever launched. When God’s 400 years of patience run out he judges that culture through Israel. It’s nothing to do with nationality and everything to do with sin (Israel is judged similarly when it falls into the same evils). (90)

Everything about the Old Testament points beyond itself . . . to a future fulfillment:

Christ is the true fulfillment of the law—the Son of God who perfectly lives the Good Life.

Christ is the true tabernacle—the meeting place of God and man.

Christ is the true sacrifice—the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Christ is the true priest—the Go-Between who carries us to God.

Christ is the true Joshua—bringing us into God’s promised rest.

Christ is the true king—the righteous Ruler who fights for our freedom.

And Christ is the true land—the dwelling place of God who invites us home. (122)

What we see in Jesus is what we get with God. (130)

Jesus’s cross and resurrection fulfills everything the Bible proclaims. There Jesus showed himself to be:

The true Offspring (or “Seed”), going down into the ground and springing up to new life.

The true Isaac, the beloved Son offered on the mountain but received back alive.

The true burning bush, the great I AM who enters our furnace to secure our redemption.

The true Passover Lamb, slain in our place to deliver us from judgment.

The true Joshua, fighting through the wilderness of death to bring us to his promised hope.

The true David, taking on our Enemy and gaining the victory.

The true Israel, cursed and alienated then raised to a glorious homecoming. (136)

The piling on of grace upon grace is incredible. God had given us his Son. We killed him. In response God says, “I want to forgive you and offer another ‘family member,’ so to speak.” It was a case of: You’ve killed my Son; here have my Spirit! It would be like a Judge telling a condemned criminal that not only was he forgiven for killing his boy, the murderer could have his daughter’s hand in marriage too. Astonishing! (142)

Paul’s labors were aimed, almost exclusively, at establishing churches and his writings were intended, almost exclusively, to encourage churches. . . . Solo-Christianity cannot exist. A member of Christ needs to be a member of the church. (148)

Of all the world’s religious texts, the Bible is the only one that offers hope for these bodies and this world. Other religions may speak of an otherworldly paradise, but they don’t speak of the renewal of this creation. Only the Bible speaks of such an earthed and earthy future. And no wonder. Only the Bible speaks of the world loved into existence. Therefore it’s no surprise that the story which begins with family love, ends in feasting joy. (154)

Many people today fear “fire and brimstone” preaching. It seems that fewer people fear the ‘fire and brimstone’ itself. (158)


Previously in the “20 Quotes” series:

Editors’ note: 

Glen Scrivener will be leading a workshop titled “How to Captivate the Imagination in Evangelism” at our 2019 National Conference, April 1 to 3 in Indianapolis. You can browse the complete list of 74 speakers and 58 talks. Register soon!

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