We can fail to notice what is gloriously beautiful, even when it’s right in front of our eyes. On January 12, 2007, a man emerged from the Washington, DC Metro station at L’Enfant Plaza and positioned himself next to a trash can. The young man wore a T-shirt, jeans, and a baseball cap. He removed a violin from a small case, and then placed the open case in front of him, facing the pedestrian traffic. Then, he began to play.
It was 7:51 a.m. on a Friday, the middle of the morning rush hour. For the next 43 minutes, the man performed six classical pieces, as nearly 1,100 people passed by. Would any of these people stop to enjoy the music?
The fiddler standing against the bare wall outside the Metro wasn’t your normal street performer. His name was Joshua Bell, one of the best classical musicians in the world. He was a musical prodigy at age four, and is now an acclaimed virtuoso. He packs out concert halls around the world, and the music Bell played that morning was far from ordinary.
Over those 43 minutes, Bell played masterpieces that have endured for centuries, some of the most elegant music ever written. And he played this beautiful music on one of the most valuable violins ever made: a Stradivarius, which was handcrafted in 1713, and is worth $3.5 million.
On that Friday back in 2007, over a thousand people had a free, front-row ticket to a beautiful concert by one of the world’s most famous musicians—but only if they had the eyes to see and the ears to hear. And yet, only a handful of people in the Metro that morning stopped to listen and enjoy Bell’s glorious music.
Our Gloriously Beautiful Bible
We all can relate to this. The busyness of life, hurrying along to the next thing, and living nonstop until you drop can have the unintended effect of blinding us to what’s really important, what’s really beautiful, and what’s really precious, even if it happens to be right in front of us. Life in this fallen world can easily inoculate our hearts from feeling wonder and awe, even when we have the privilege of beholding something truly amazing and astounding and beautiful.
I experience this sometimes when I read the Bible. Perhaps you do, too. Even though I know God’s Word is more pleasant than honey and more precious than gold (Ps. 19:10), so often in practice, I struggle to believe this to be the case. I miss the glory that’s right in front of me. I fail to stop and patiently, prayerfully listen to the symphony of the Scriptures.
We Need Biblical Theology
Yet it remains our humble hope and prayer to God that, while reading this book on biblical theology, you will taste and see something of the wonder and awe and profound privilege of being able to know and love Jesus Christ as he has been revealed in all the Holy Scriptures.
We hope and pray that you will understand more fully why biblical theology is so wonderful. Jesus Christ is the fountain from whom all blessings flow, and biblical theology is the scriptural map that helps guide us to this ever-flowing fountain. Little by little, the Holy Spirit helps us to see how the glorious map of Scripture guides us toward our risen and reigning King and his plan to redeem a blood-bought people for his own glory and praise.
Just like those disciples on the Emmaus road, we hope and pray that our eyes and our minds may be fully opened (Luke 24:31, 45) to recognize Jesus in all the Scriptures, in order that we all might fully love him with all of our hearts from all the Scriptures (Luke 24:32). Our King deserves nothing less.
The apostle Peter wrote in his first letter:
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. (1 Pet. 1:10–12)
The glorious salvation we have in Christ was prophesied and predicted by the Old Testament prophets of God and is presently the intense preoccupation of the angels of God. Ponder the privileged position we have in Christ! And then, by God’s Spirit, continue to humbly and prayerfully search his beautiful Word to discover even more of the riches of his glorious grace in Jesus.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared at 9Marks and is used with permission. It is an adapted excerpt from our new book Biblical Theology: How the Church Faithfully Teaches the Gospel.