I’ve been a Christian for over twenty years now.

I’ve had seasons of growth, seasons of dryness, seasons of ‘active ministry’, seasons of ‘rebellion’…

Heck, I’ve been a ‘professional christian’ in various capacities.

But right now, at 27 1/2 years old, with no important-sounding titles like ‘pastor of _______‘ or ‘_________ leader‘, I can honestly say this:

I love the Bible more than I ever have.

I LOVE, the scripture: It is such a masterpiece of a book.

It is one BIG Story composed of lots of smaller stories that even gives shape and context to my story.

And it communicates the same Truth — and sub-truths — in dozens of various ways.

You can read the 4,000-year-old story of Joshua and learn about the courage that comes from trusting in God. Or you can read the 2,000-year-0ld story of Stephen and learn the same lesson.

You can see our need for a Savior in the ancient stories in Genesis, or in Paul’s detailed argument in his letter to the Romans, penned thousands of years later.

Written by so many different people over so many centuries… and still faithful and consistent in the Story of God

The Bible is a miracle.

As I’ve been reading in the Bible this year, I’ve had a question develop in my head:

Only a very small percentage of the Bible actually tells the literal story of Jesus (Matthew 1 – Acts 1). From the middle of Acts 2 through the end of the Bible, all we get are various commentaries and explanations about Who Jesus is and what He accomplished.  So I’ve been wondering how my perception of God and my understanding of the Gospel would be different if all I had of the new testament were the stories of Jesus: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts)

(2 Clarifications: I’m including Acts because it tells us a lot about the immediate aftermath of Jesus’ life, so we’ll just go ahead and say that it makes more sense to group it with the Gospels than with the Epistles. Secondly, the light that the old testament shines on our understanding of the Gospel is profound, and how much of the Gospel we could understand without it would make a fun discussion, but I’ll save it for a later post. So for now, we’ll leave the O.T. alone. We’re just talking about losing most of the new testament.)

I believe that there is more than enough in these five writings to come to a sufficient understanding of the Gospel and it’s place in our lives, but many of the passages that give me the greatest clarity and encouragement would be gone.

So, I want to ask you:

Just for kicks, pretend that Matthew-Acts was the entire New Testament. What book/chapter/passage/teaching would you miss the most? Why?