Mentor Mama: Today we're going to be talking about how the storyline of the Bible can answer the question, what on earth am I here for or what's the purpose of my life? You know, these are big questions that millions of people ponder every day. We can go about figuring these out if we truly understand God's story.
So, if someone asked you to tell them a short version of the story of the Bible, what would you say?
Well, my guests today, Ashley and Taylor from the Coffee and Bible Time YouTube channel are here to help us sort all this out.
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Mentor Mama: Ashley is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute where she studied theology, biblical studies and practical Christian ministry. She has a passion for studying and teaching God's Word. When Ashley was in middle school, she started reading the Bible every morning before class. She was determined to read the Bible cover to cover and accomplish this goal. Well, after six years of faithfully reading every morning, it was during this time that she grew strong in her desire to spend time with Jesus daily and to immerse herself in God's beautiful Word. She is also a talented artist, incorporating her faith journey into her artwork and she is married to her wonderful husband, Johnny.
Taylor is currently a senior at the Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago. She is studying the Bible and counseling in hopes to help young women who are struggling with body image and eating disorders. She desires to show those who are struggling that there is ultimately hope in Christ. Taylor delights in learning about the character of God through His Word. She finds her inspiration in music and her creative outlet is piano, singing, and composing her own music based on what she learns from God's Word.
Please welcome Ashley and Taylor.
Taylor: Hello, it's good to be here.
Ashley: We're so excited to be here with you today.
Mentor Mama: Well, of course, I'm excited to have you both here. You both have attended the Moody Bible Institute, and one thing that I really admire about Moody is that no matter what your major is there, you have to take a significant number of credits in Biblical Studies.
So my question is how does having all of this Biblical studies background, no matter what your major is, give help in answering some of the bigger questions in life such as what on earth am I here for or what's my purpose in life?
Ashley: Well, when you study the Bible in-depth whether you do it at home or whether you go to a school as we did, you learn a lot about these big questions.
So, you learn about, who is God. You learn about in light of who is God, who am I? And studying Scripture answers all those questions of why am I here? What's the purpose of my life? What am I to do with my life? Where am I going to go after I die?
All these big questions that every human being has is answered in Scripture and that's what we studied for four years at the Moody Bible Institute is all about the Bible and who God is and who we are in light of him. So, it was an incredible experience of just learning and growing in our personal relationship with Christ.
Mentor Mama: Well, we are going to unpack those questions a little bit deeper as we get into the storyline of the Bible. So, let's just start out with what is the simple storyline of the Bible and how would you go about sharing this with someone.
Taylor: That is an amazing question, Mentor, Mama. Let me tell you this, last week or two weeks ago when I was in the city with one of my friends named Quinn, we were going out for coffee at a place in old town called Foxtrot, and when we went to sit down a Foxtrot, this older gentleman came and he sat next to us and he was sitting a little too close for comfort if you know what I mean. And so, I'm texting Quinn underneath the table saying, hey, do you want me to tell this guy to scoot over because I will do it. In certain situations, I just kind of get in mama bear mode. And I was like, this guy is sitting close, he's looking at us and it was enough to make us both uncomfortable, but she's a people pleaser, so she was like, no, don't say anything, and eventually he was looking over so much at what, like what we were doing, which was our homework that I kind of looked over and gave him a look like, okay, Bucko, you could be done here.
But he ended up looking down at my Romans book and he was like, oh, you're reading about Rome? And I was like, oh, actually, what I'm doing is I'm reading about the Book of Romans in the Bible. And he's like, oh, okay. And that really started us off on this conversation of him disclosing, more about his life about how he was raised in a Muslim family. He is Iranian and he just went on a lot about telling us about his perspective in life and this gave Quinn and me a really good opportunity to listen to him, to hear him out, to learn about his culture, but also, to share our perspectives, especially on Christianity.
All this to say that knowing the simple storyline of the Bible is essential, I think even in just simply witnessing to somebody because, for somebody that doesn't know the Bible, you really want to be able to give them a really quick, I mean, 15 to 30-second understanding of what the Bible is and simply put, we say this in four simple and easy to remember stages. Number one being, creation. We believe that God created the world. He created human beings in his own image and that we can relate to God and he desires a relationship with us right off the bat. Then we see the second stage being, the fall, and this would be when the first created human beings, Adam and Eve sinned.
In other words, they decided that they wanted to go their own way and they believe that what they want to do is better than God. They doubted God's goodness, and from there we are separated from God and we were no longer in a perfect relationship with him and because he is a Holy and perfect and just God, there needs to be, atonement made for our sins. In other words, because God believes in justice, he's not going to just let us off the hook with whatever sins we're having and it's a good thing that we have a just God because we all want justice, don't we? That's something that we all love. And so, it's great that we have a God who believes in justice, which brings us to the third stage, which is redemption, and God took it upon himself to redeem us.
There's nothing that we have to do in order to be right with God. So, we believe that God is three persons in one God. So, He is God, the Father God, the Son and God, the Holy Spirit. And so, out of his self-lovingingness, he sent his son Jesus to die on our behalf.
And so what he did is He took God's wrath upon himself in the moment that he died on the cross, he rose again and he's seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. And that was really in-depth. When I was talking to this man at Foxtrot, I wasn't going this in-depth, but just for your sake of reading this blog and having time on your hands.
And the last stage we believe as Christians is consummation or new creation. In other words, Christ is going to come back again and we will all be united to him.
For those of us who are Christians, we will all be united to him in the end, he's going to make all things new on earth.
There will be a new heaven and a new earth and there will be final judgment for all of sin. And so those are the four stages really briefly again. Creation, fall, redemption and new creation.
Mentor Mama: Thank you, Taylor.
Well, the storyline of the Bible can also be shared through covenants. So, Ashley, how do these covenants lend additional depth to understanding the storyline of the Bible?
Taylor: I’m sorry, I got to go everybody. I wish I could be here longer, but I do have a counseling appointment in full disclosure. (Taylor leaves the conversation).
Ashley: So, in the Bible, there are five major covenants, there's obviously a ton more, but there are five major ones. And if you know these five major covenants of the Bible, then you pretty much know the storyline of the Bible.
So, we have Noahic Covenant, Mosaic Covenant, Abrahamic Covenant, Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant. And so this is extremely important to know because it's going to affect how you study the Old Testament and the New Testament tremendously because we, right now, are living in the new covenant, we're not living in the old covenant, and it says in Hebrews that the new covenant is better than the old covenant, and it's the covenant we're living in right now and we don't have to put ourselves under the old covenant because Jesus came and made a new way and he created a new covenant in his blood.
Like he says, the night or a few nights before his death or was it the night of his death? I can't remember. But he says to his disciples, he says this is the blood of the new covenant and drink this. And he says, this is the bread, my body that was broken for you. This is the New Covenant. So, that is the covenant we're under now.
But when we read the Old Testament, we're reading about the old covenant, which has a lot to do with works and it has a lot to do with God saying, okay, here's my people, Israel, if you obey me, then I'll give you blessings, and the new covenant isn't like that.
The new covenant is Jesus saying I died for you. I did all the work for you. All you have to do is believe in me.
And of course, once we believe in him, we want to live right for him, we want to produce good works. We want to do everything we can for him. But it's not this blessing and curses. If I don't obey, I'll be cursed. That's the old covenant.
So, it just helps us to study the Bible in light of okay, I live in the new covenant now.
Now, is the Old Testament still relevant? Absolutely.
We should still be reading the Old Testament.
We learn a lot about who God is and our brokenness and how God is here to redeem us.
Mentor Mama: Well, how then knowing the storyline of the Bible and even expanding your knowledge through the covenants, how would you then answer the question, what on earth am I here for or what's my purpose in life?
Ashley: So, once you know the storyline of the Bible, you realize, okay, my life isn't all about me, right?
We think sometimes we're the center of our world, but in reality, God is calling us to be a very small part in his big story. And so, when we read the Bible and we know the storyline of the Bible we know, okay, God came, he wanted a relationship with people, we messed up, we sinned, and God is still here ready to redeem us, ready to make us new and he will come back again one day and make all things new.
So, we're kind of in the point of the storyline of, it's happened, but it's still to come. Christ has come, but we're still waiting for him to return and make all things new.
So, we're kind of living in this tension point of history of waiting and waiting and waiting for Christ to return, but when we know the storyline of the Bible and we know covenants, we're going to be able to kind of take the focus off ourselves and realize, okay, there's a bigger story and I just play a small part in God's bigger story.
Mentor Mama: And so, your purpose in life would be to glorify God.
Ashley: Our purpose in life is to bring him glory, to know him and to make him known.
And when we read about him and his mission and his story about Jesus Christ and what he did, we realize that we're here to be his chosen daughters and sons who are here to be lights to a broken world.
And so that's what you learn when you know the storyline of the Bible.
Mentor Mama: Yeah, that's so important and it undergirds your identity like, you know, this is who I am in Christ, because I believe the Bible to be true. I believe that God is who he says he is.
Well, Ashley, one of the things that people might not even realize is that once you know the storyline of the Bible that actually helps you become a better student of the Bible every day.
So whether you're working on a Bible study or even a simple devotional, how does that help us?
Ashley: It's extremely important because whether you're just studying the Bible at home or you're writing a devotional or you're teaching at your church, it's important to know, okay, what book am I studying and what passage am I studying and where does this fit in the storyline? Because that's going to affect how you interpret the Bible.
So, like I said, let's say I'm reading a passage in the Old Testament that says you are not to eat pork, right? The Jewish people were not allowed to eat pork and I'm reading that and I'm thinking okay, what if I didn't know the storyline of the Bible? I'm going to interpret that and say, okay, God doesn't want me to eat pork. That's wrong. That's a sin.
But remember, we're not living in the old covenant anymore. We're living in the new covenant which Jesus came and made, turned things upside down. And I mean, I remember even reading in Acts when the disciples were so confused, like Peter got a vision from God saying he could eat any of those foods, and he's like, what? I can eat unclean foods? It was just so confusing.
But we live in the new covenant now.
So when we read The Old Testament and I'm reading in Leviticus, all these rules, I can read it in light of the new covenant saying, okay, let me take a step back and ask myself what are these rules about?
Oh, God, gave them these rules because he's holy and he wanted to live among his people. So, he gave them these rules so that he could be their God and live among them.
That's why there was a sacrificial system because they needed to atone for their sins. The wages of sin is death. So there had to be sacrifices.
Now we live in the new covenant where Christ is our ultimate sacrifice. He paid it all. We don't have to do sacrifices anymore.
We don't have to offer a lamb.
When you know the storyline of the Bible, it will all make sense to you. It will not be confusing anymore.
I mean, of course, there will still be things that are confusing but you know, okay, where does this fit in the storyline? And how can I go from there to study this deeper?
Mentor Mama: That is so rich and I hope people who are listening to that find it so exciting.
Like just how it will incredibly enhance all of your Bible study experience.
Well, Ash, you have a video that went viral on the YouTube channel called, How I study my Bible.
Why do you think that particular video speaks to so many people? It's piqued the curiosity in people. Why do you think that's so?
Ashley: I think it's because people are craving to know more about God and to know is this Christianity thing real is the God of the Bible real.
And if so, what is this Bible even about? I’m thinking about an unbeliever who might have clicked on that video thinking, what is this Christianity thing all about? What is this big book all about?
And I'm even thinking about believers who maybe or Christians who call themselves Christians but who have never picked up their Bible thinking, what is it like to actually read the Bible? What does the Bible even say? Like what's so intriguing about this book that's been around for centuries and is the number one sold book in the world and will never die, right? Will never fade away.
I think people are longing to know God. They're longing to have a purpose, they're longing to know, Is there something out there that's bigger than me?
Mentor Mama: Yeah. And it's amazing to just read all of the different comments from people who have, as a result of that video just really now have a thirst to kind of want to know it for themselves.
And speaking of knowing it for themselves, I know in this blog, we have just literally scratched the surface of all of the different materials that could cover this topic.
So why don't you tell us a little bit about the new Academy and what's that all about? And how can people get involved?
Ashley: Yes. So obviously we've only scratched the surface, like you said, we wanted to create a resource that could be an incredible tool for people who are craving to learn how to study their bibles for themselves.
So, as a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, I studied Biblical studies, Taylor, also a “Moodier,” and then my mom who's been doing Bible studies for over 21 years at church, we wanted to create this tool, this academy so that people who are craving to learn how to study their Bible can do so at a very affordable price and maybe they don't have a lot of time on their hands. Maybe they're busy moms or maybe they're actually getting their education in a different degree yet they're still longing to study the Bible academically. This is what it's for.
It's for people who want great biblical study, want it at a good price and want to have fun doing it and learn how to grow closer to God and, and just dive in.
It's for people who are craving to know God and to know His word and so we want to kind of, you know, bring people along with how we study our Bibles, teach them how so that they can do it for themselves.
Mentor Mama: So, there are 12 different courses in this academy. Can you tell us about what those are and when they will be coming out?
Ashley: Yes, so there are 12 courses with the purpose of this is going to be a whole year.
The academy will be a whole year and of course, anyone can get as many courses as they want or let's say they only want a few, they don't have to purchase all of them all.
Each course will come out at the end of every month.
We already came out with our first course called, Foundations, which is just learning the absolute foundation.
So, this is for anyone who's brand new and needs to know what is the Bible. What is my purpose, everything like that.
And then the second course, we came out with is, Storyline of the Bible, what we were talking about today, but we're just going to keep digging deeper and deeper and deeper as we continue on in the academy.
So, the next course is Old Testament overview. The next is New Testament overview. And then some other courses we have are going to be on: What is theology? So, studying about God in the Bible. Another course is on tools, like what are the exact tools we use for in-depth Bible study. Another course is on context. How do you study the context of a verse and rightly interpreted based on the context?
So, just a whole list of different topics we're going to be studying.
If you want to go to our website and see all of those you can at coffeeandbibletime.com.
Mentor Mama: Oh, thank you so much, Ashley.
I know that some of the people who've already taken the first course, we've heard some really wonderful feedback, and people getting excited.
I think they're also excited about the community because once you join the course, you're also part of a community where you can ask people questions. And Ashley and Taylor go in there periodically as well and talk to people in that group.
Ashley: I’m in there all the time, just welcoming people and answering questions and we really just want it to be a place where people can come and ask questions. It’s great.
Mentor Mama: Well, if this sounds like something that you want to do, check it out, we will have the link here.
But before we go, Ashley, I'm sure some people are just wondering what is your go-to Bible and what translation is it.
Ashley: So for me, my go-to Bible is the ESV and the incredible thing about this Bible is that every other page is blank.
So there's Scripture on one side and then there's a blank page and I love it because I use the blank page for so many different things. I use it for church notes. I use it as a space for Bible study notes. I use it as a journal to write my own personal heart things.
I can use it for art if I want to ever create, you know, art journaling in my Bible. So, I mainly love it for studying and keeping my study notes in there.
So, that's my all-time favorite Bible and it's leather. It's incredible. It is expensive. But for me, this is my most treasured possession.
Mentor Mama: Yeah. And you obviously use it all the time every day.
How about, do you have any favorite journaling supplies or anything that you like to use to enhance your Bible study experience?
Ashley: I really love using our highlighters. I love the colors because they're really unique.
So, Coffee and Bible Time came out with highlighters and they've been incredible like they have not burnt out and I just love the colors of them. So, I love using those.
There's a specific pen I like using.
I love using sticky notes. I have sticky notes all over the place.
Mentor Mama: Last question. What is your favorite app or website for Bible Study tools?
Ashley: That's a great question.
Wow. I use a lot of apps. I love studylight.org. That's where I do my word studies.
You can just go on there and put in any verse and you can cross reference. So, I love doing that.
Yeah, I think those are some of my favorite tools right now.
Wow, those are really good ones.
Well, Ashley, thank you so much for joining us here today so that we can talk about the storyline of the Bible because I think we tend to just jump in, you know, we jump into a Bible study and, unless you have this background, let's just say the background incredibly enriches everything.
Ashley: It does, it gives it meaning and, just like it explains those hard questions that we were talking about.
Like, even in the of course, I know you talked about it didn't make sense to you why Jesus had to die on the cross for you. Like, why did you have to die on a cross?
And it's like if we don't know the Old Testament if we don't know the storyline of the Bible, it's going to make no sense why Jesus died on the cross.
Like, what's the point?
I just don't get why he had to die on a cross for me.
It makes a lot more sense when we see in the Old Testament, the sacrificial system and all the times it points to Christ and everything like that.
So, it's incredible. The whole Bible is tied together. It's one big unified story.
Mentor Mama: Thank you. That's so exciting. I hope everyone listening just feels invigorated.
We will have the link here.
Thank you so much for joining us on our blog today. We love you all. Have a blessed day.