Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Links throughout Scripture

The Links Title Page

Big Idea: Follow words and key ideas that become links throughout the Bible to track Biblical themes.

Links throughout Scripture

A popular Study Bible called the Thompson Chain Reference Bible has been around for over 100 years. It is a heavy Bible! Dr. Frank Charles Thompson, a pastor, wanted to make a tool for both pastors and ordinary Christians to help them trace key words that permeate the Bible. He said they were like chain links. It is still a sought out Bible for serious study.

Thompson Chain page from a Bible

BibleProject Videos on Themes

More recently, an organization called the BibleProject began developing informative videos to help people understand the Bible from its original writings to help our lives today. These free tools use multiple electronic formats such as videos, podcasts and online classes. They focus each year on an aspect that helps Bible understanding. They recently put it all together in an app. All the videos, podcasts, blogs and classes remain online. The app organizes them and takes it to a whole new level! (Download at Google Play and the App Store). They organize their tools to correspond together to help you study the Bible better. Their Bible reading program includes information you can click on and apply as you read.

Using the Helpful Skills Page in the BibleProject App

It is helpful to go to bottom of the opening page by opening the heading “Skills.”

The skills section has three headings: Pattern, Style and Structure

: Lists themes in the Bible with videos and podcasts that correspond

Style: Lists literary styles the BibleProject covers, with videos and podcasts listed

Structure: The section guides you through practice in a couple specific chapters of the Bible to look at the patterns and links.

What Thompson Chain Reference Bible calls “chains” is similar to what is called "links" by the BibleProject. The Bible has a lot of specific words and ideas that can be traced, which are key themes throughout the Bible. Most of these start in Genesis from the very beginning and go all the way to Revelation.


One word example is “Blessing.” This word is often connected with other words, such as abundant, fruitful, life, and rest. The way BibleProject puts it, when you see this word later in Scripture, it activates the theme. Look for how it links to what you have already learned about it.

Check out this BibleProject video on Links for more insight.


This is fourth  and last in a series, The Bible in Sync - September 2022

Next Post: The Holy Spirit Starting in Genesis
Previous post: Like a Mosaic


Name a theme you are familiar with in the Bible. How do you see it play out in other parts of the Bible?

Here is an example for you to try

For an all powerful God, He is gentle with us, and we should reflect His gentleness.  


Place the word Gentle in the search. What do you learn throughout the Bible looking at the gentleness of God? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Movements in Scripture

Big Idea: Biblical scrolls are made up of several distinct movements that make patterns that come together like a beautiful mosaic.

Movements in Scripture

Synagogues revere a handwritten Torah scroll carefully kept for special events. The Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy) is the first section of the Bible recounting God creating man and laying out what a good relationship with Him looks like.

Handwritten Bible Scrolls Meant to be Remembered

earliest sections of the Bible were made up of handwritten scrolls intended to be read to a community on a regular basis, with memorization encouraged. Word patterns and a flow of ideas had a cadence to it. A scroll contained collections of writings, each with their own distinct message and theme. This was in ancient times before chapters and verses were added to it that we are now so accustomed to.

Example of a Pattern

If you examine Genesis chapter one you see a certain rhythm.

Then God said let there be…

God saw that it was good…

And the evening and the morning was the ___ day.

This is one example of a pattern of words.

The Bigger Picture

When looking at a mosaic you may not notice it becomes a much larger picture till you step back. Patterns might be intricate and small, joining other patterns to make up a larger picture. Check out this mosaic from a collection of pictures in the Canadian town of Amherstburg! Many pieces of artwork are pieced together from the community to form a larger mosaic. An image emerges with a message of community unity. 

The Word of God is like that! It is profound at the deepest, intimate level, and it comes together on a larger scale with a message for the world for all time. In last week’s blog we noted movements of a symphony each with a different style or tone. Some are brisk and breezy and others are slow and reflective, each sharing a common melody. When discerning a movement in a Bible section, look for a common primary theme, a repetition of words, the introduction of a significant word, patterns of words and so forth.

Ideas Throughout Form a Meaningful Whole

The ideas come together in to a meaningful whole. As we study the Bible we want to study the intricacies and the meaning of words. Do not miss the big picture! Ask how one part fits in with the whole message of the Bible. It all points to Jesus!

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.  Hebrews 1:1-3 NLT

For more information on the power of movements in scripture, check out this video from BibleProject.


This is third in a series, The Bible in Sync for the month of September 2022

Up next : Links
Previous post: Like a Symphony


1.Take a look at the mosaic picture again. What are some of the smaller pictures you can make out? Why might it fit in with the whole? Could you tell the bigger picture at first glance? Why or why not? Do you think the Bible is a bit like this picture? Why or why not?

2. Can you think of a theme in the Bible? What is it? How does your theme fit in with God’s message of love and rescue of His creation?

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Like a Symphony


Big Idea: The Bible’s many stories weave common patterns together similar to a grand symphony with different sections but the same repeted melodies.

Like a Symphony

Symphonies, though they can refer to an orchestra, can represent a single body of work, such Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Most symphonies have four movements each with a distinct style (lively, slow, robust etc). Usually there are melodious patterns that emerge that show, in spite of variations, that they all belong together.

Movements in a Biblical Scroll Useful

The BibleProject likens the Bible to the movements and patterns of a symphony and that resonates with me. The book of Genesis heard in the original Hebrew has four distinct movements. The Bible as ancient literature in a non-literate society was intended to be listened to in community. Memorization was encouraged so it was written with recognizable word patterns to aid memory. There were no chapter and verse markings at that time. Those were inserted later to help those of us reading it to find our way back to a section.

Beautifully Crafted Patterns and Links

I can’t read the original Hebrew but I have learned a lot about God from reading my Bible in English. However it is intriguing to learn about the original intent of the Biblical authors. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance, it has been beautifully crafted with movements and patterns. That is true for the individual books, but it is also true when you examine all 66 books of the Bible. The patterns emerge and are unified, culminating in the Life of Jesus Christ. These patterns then continue in the New Testament church. 

Patterns are also called Themes

Another word describing patterns is themes. Examples are, blessing, eternal life, Sabbath, etc. When we learn how to trace key words throughout a book of the Bible, and even the entire Bible, we discover key themes God wants us to know. Like putting together a puzzle, it is amazing to tie several sections of the Bible together and see a unified theme.

Sample of Bible Project Themes
I am excited to explore this concept of movements and patterns further with you in the next couple of weeks. As always, if you go to you will find a lot of excellent information.

You might find this video from BibleProject on Design Patterns in Biblical Narrative to be useful.

This is second in a series, The Bible in Sync for the month of September 2022

Up next : Like a Mosaic - Movements
Previous post: One Story, One Spirit


1.Have you ever played an instrument in a group playing a piece with multiple movements? What do you recall about the continuity of the piece? Perhaps you have been to a classical concert with that sort of structure. Did you notice any similarities between the various parts of one piece?

2. Have you ever noticed or had a pastor or Bible study leader tie together various parts of the Bible? How did that impact you?

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

One Story, One Spirit

Big Idea: Through the Holy Spirit, the Bible always ties in to one main story that ultimately points to Jesus.

Syncing Your Bible

In our technological world to “sync our devices” means our phones, computers and tablets can link bookmarks, apps, emails and other documents. Similarly the 66 books that make up the Bible are “synced” by the Holy Spirit to present the same message. They all point to God, specifically Jesus the Son.

Written over 1000 year Timespan

The Bible was written over a period of more than 1000 years by many contributing authors who came from diverse backgrounds. They included shepherds, kings, prophets, a doctor, a tax collector and others. Numerous writing styles and literary genres are used such as storytelling, poetry, prophecy, apocalyptic writings, and so on. How is it that all 66 books are telling the same central message? God the Holy Spirit orchestrates this, and the message points us towards God the Son, Jesus Christ.

All the Stories Ultimately Lead to Jesus  

The BibleProject, an organization using animation with simple Biblically sound explanations states it like this: “The Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus.” Even when Jesus is not mentioned directly, the stories tie in to Him. They give us background information on God’s plan through His Son Jesus to rescue us from our sinfulness.

This month’s series, The Bible in Sync, is based on how the Bible Project explains the connection of stories using patterns and themes throughout the whole Bible.

Many Styles With One Common Denominator

Though there are many styles of writing, this community of authors had one critical thing in common. They were all influenced (“carried along” I Peter 1:21) by God’s divine guidance in the form of the Holy Spirit. It was God’s divine word through ordinary human beings. This is how these diverse styles and stories became in sync. (See chart below on God’s goodness).

For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 1:21 NIV

The BibleProject explains this synchronization of Scriptures in this introductory video.

This is the first in a series, The Bible in Sync for the month of September 2022

Up next (New Series): Like a Symphony
Previous post: How to make a Bible Passage worksheet


1.Do you believe the Bible is one unified story? Why or why not? Have you researched the subject yourself? How would you go about that?

2. What would it mean to you that the Bible has one main purpose and story, being about Jesus?