The Beauty of the Big Picture

One of the things that has always impressed me about the Bible is how it all fits together to form one big picture. Because of printing presses, book binding, and study habits, it’s easy to forget this. The Bible is 66 books written by 40 authors over 2,000 years on 3 continents in 3 languages. Yet, it forms one, glorious unfolding story.

That’s part of the beauty of the Scriptures. It’s not just that each book (chapter, paragraph, verse, word) is important, they also all work together to form the most beautiful and striking metanarrative ever.

One of the pillars of sound biblical interpretation is that whatever principle derived from the Scriptures must be compared to the whole of the Scriptures. You have to let Scripture interpret Scripture and strive to view how the sum of God’s word fits together. Anybody can strip a verse of the Bible from its context and derive some outlandish application without examining the whole of God’s revelation on the topic.

Life is similar in many ways. Details are important, but humans have the unfortunate tendency to get lost in them. Trust me, I’m an expert. I will get so consumed and in over my head with details that I completely lose the original thing I was working on. I’ve done it with websites, papers, speeches, and just life in general. Again, details are often necessary, but they become burdensome when they outweigh bigger, more important things. It’s easy to “get lost in the weeds” and lose track of what matters.

Like the Pharisees who were accused of “straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel” (Mt. 23:24), we can (and often do) fret over the smallest details to the neglect of the more important big picture. Being gnat-strainers in life can create a lot of negativity. Instead of allowing one negative experience or day define our life, we need to look at the big picture and realize that those negative details don’t define us or our future.

There’s beauty in the big picture. We can focus on a single pixel on a TV or one square of a mosaic or look too close at a pointillist piece, but we’re missing the beauty. The challenge for us is to not do this with life (or the Bible, for that matter). It’s easy to get lost in the weeds and forget all of the things we have to be thankful for. I’m trying to be more mindful of the big picture. When I am, a lot of worry melts away.

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