The Bible... In One Word?

by Jeff Anderson, Christian Examiner Contributor |
Photo: Naveen Jack/Unsplash

I am a writer. Writers play with words. (Yeah, writers are boring).

For excitement, writers aim for ways to say things in fewer words. (Yeah, writers are boring.) If you can tell a message in 500 words, can you do it in 200? Or 100? How about 50? Or 5?

What about the story of the Bible? Is there a way to tell it in 100 words? What about one single word?

You could say the Bible is about "Jesus." That's a correct answer for most questions asked in Bible school, right?

Or you could say "Salvation" or "Redemption." God's story is about how He saved, or redeemed, humanity.

For a single-word summary of the Bible, how about... The Seed? (Okay, that was two words.)

"Seed" is a loaded word that says so much about the Bible. Let's take a look.

The Seed Family

The Seed speaks to a line of humanity that runs for 4,000 years, from Eden to Bethlehem.

Like a seed that grows to become a tree and produces fruit of its kind, from the seed of Adam came another seed... from which came another seed... from which came another seed... and so on.

The Seed speaks to over 60 families—from the 1st Adam in a garden, to the 2nd Adam in a manger.

The Seed speaks to Eve, the mother of the living, the mother of the Seed.

The Seed speaks to a son named Seth, and to faith legends like Enoch and Methuselah, Lamech and Noah.

The Seed speaks to familiar names like Terah and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah.

The Seed speaks to less familiar names like Nahshon, Salmon, Obed, and Jesse.

The Seed speaks to King David and King Solomon, and a host of kings that followed.

The Seed speaks to faithful believers like Zerrubabbel, and Joseph, Mary's husband.

The Seed speaks to a virgin mother, impregnated by a Holy Spirit "Seed."

The Seed Journey

From Eden to Bethlehem, God routed the Seed through and around various trouble spots to keep the Seed alive.

The Seed speaks to:

  • protection from a global flood (Noah),
  • birth of a mighty nation (Abraham),
  • escape from famine (Joseph),
  • deliverance from slavery (Moses),
  • blessing as a thriving kingdom (David),
  • rescue from a nation's exile (Zerrubabbel),
  • detour away from the annihilation of baby boys (Joseph).

The Seed Strategy

The Bible is about God's grand plan, His overall strategy to redeem creation. God used the Seed of the woman to defeat the seed of the serpent (see Genesis 3:15).

So what exactly was this strategy?

After 4,000 years, this Seed would one day appear from heaven as a newborn baby, grow up, and walk the earth as a sinless man, and then die a brutal death on a cross.

It's a wild story, actually.

The Seed speaks to a human sacrifice to God. The Lamb of God. The Passover Lamb. The forever atonement for sin.

The Seed speaks to an amazing resurrection event, when the Seed returns from death to earth... and then to heaven again.

The Seed speaks to a day in the future still, when a mighty battle is fought, the enemy is finally crushed, and death is swallowed forever.

The Seed speaks to a new kingdom, a forever Kingdom, reigning over the new heavens and the new earth.

Connect the Dots

Take a fresh look at all the mysteries of scripture. Instead of a random collection of stories, find the common thread—the bloodline of the Bible that connects Old and New Testament and all its books.

Many believers today can't express the Christian faith. They might be able to recite the sinner's prayer, their date of baptism, and maybe even some landmark Bible stories. But when it comes to grasping the big picture, and relating to the Bible in their own words, they go blank.

Seeing the big storyline of scripture is why I created Power Read the Bible in 60 days. What started out as a personal quest, a family adventure, and a church challenge has grown beyond my expectations. Bible readers all over the world are finding success with this free guide and have found The Seed to be a clarifying focus for understanding the Bible.

As an example, let's look at the "bookends" to the story—the beginning and the end.

Genesis 1-3: God placed man in a garden filled with delicious fruit trees, and gave him a tent (body) that would live forever. Satan came on the scene. And so did sin. An angel showed man the exit sign out of the garden, cutting off access to that special fruit tree (called the Tree of Life). As a result, death followed for everyone.

Revelation 20-22: One day (still ahead of us), after a gruesome battle and a dreary judgment, those life-giving fruit trees will once again appear in a "Garden" called the New Jerusalem—the capital city of Heaven. Finally, man will live forever with God as initially intended. A wild plan that comes full circle.

That's the skinny version, using the first and last three chapters of the Bible. But what about the middle of the story?

The Seed is Announced

A launch pad for the big-picture Bible discussion is Genesis 3:15. The verse tells about the seed of a woman that will one day rock the enemy and save the world.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. (NASB)

For 4,000 years this seed worked its way through humanity. Eventually, a baby Messiah was born (The Seed).

For a while, the enemy (Satan) harassed the Seed—like a mosquito nipping at the heels. This minor distraction seemed monumental—The Seed was arrested, rebuked and died a brutal cross crucifixion, the kind reserved for the worst of criminals. It's a grander story than could be scripted by any Hollywood sci-fi movie.

The Bible is about the Journey of The Seed:

  • that travels through 4,000 years,
  • consisting of roughly 64 generations,
  • organized around key "resets"
  • focused on 2 resurrection events,
  • which set up 1 final climactic, redemptive event: the recreation of the Heavens and the Earth

The biblical accounts are there to link The Seed from Genesis 3:15 to John 3:16. Consider these ways various stories help us understand the role of The Seed.

  • Why did God save one man's family (Noah) from the flood? [Answer: To keep The Seed alive]
  • What's so significant about Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac [Answer: that meant killing the path of The Seed that would lead to Christ]
  • What's so special about the story of Ruth? [Answer: she marries Boaz, the great grandfather to King David—an ancestor to Jesus]
  • What about all the bad—and occasional good—kings in Kings and Chronicles? [Answer: many of the kings are carrying The Seed into the future]

The Bible is the history of all the birth certificates of each generation from Adam to Christ. The Bible is about... The Seed.

– Jeff Anderson speaks and writes about walking with God and leading your family into deeply rooted faith. He's the author of Plastic Donuts, Divine Applause (Multnomah/Random House) and Power Read The Bible (