In ACA assemblies and chapels, I have often reminded students that the whole point of the Bible is to "kill the dragon, get the girl." This perspective of the Story of Scripture stems from Christ Church and minister Doug Wilson's teaching of his own family, and while this certainly isn't the only way to state the Bible's purpose, I think it has valuable lessons for us, particularly for our kids. Boiling down the Bible into sound bytes can be problematic (just like mixing metaphors), but this one is a winner. Here's why.
The Bible is a fairy tale. It is the first and greatest of fairy tales, and it's the Story that Grimm, Anderson, Asbjørnsen and Moe, and Perrault were reflecting, whether they knew it or not. If you know anything about a good fairy tale, you know that it almost always needs two essentials: a dragon (that gets killed by a brave knight) and a girl (that gets saved by a brave knight). And that's exactly what the Bible delivers.
This is the Gospel in a nutshell: the Dragon ("that old serpent," Rev. 20:2) is hunted down and killed by Christ (the knight on a white horse, Rev. 19:11), and he saves us from our sins to be his bride (Rev. 19:7). Christ kills the dragon and gets the girl. Christ defeats Satan and saves his people. Christ throws down death, then throws a huge marriage feast.
This is how we must speak of the Bible to our children, as a story, and not as moral platitudes. The great men and women of Scripture understood the Story they were in, and they acted with faith. The Scribes and Pharisees read only the law, and they were condemned (Gal. 3:10). The Scribes and Pharisees went to theology conferences and didn't read fun books with their kids.
So how do we apply this fairy-tale truth with our families? Read the Bible (in big chunks, with all the knobby parts) to your kids. Ask them how it's pointing toward Christ's conquest of sin. Ask them which characters are like Christ. Ask them which characters are like Satan. Dragon-killing and bride-saving themes are all through every chapter of every book, some of them explicit, some implied. To prime the pump with a few of the explicit stories-within-the-Story-of-the-Bible, think about these tales and why they've got a spot in Holy Writ:
- God promises Adam that he will crush the Snake's head (Satan, via second-Adam Christ) (Gen. 3:15).
- Pharaoh tries to "crush" Moses' head (Exod. 1:16), but Moses ends up sending the Red Sea waters over Pharaoh's head (Exod. 14:28).
- Joshua "crushes" the unrighteous heads of the Canaanites, cursed descendants of Noah's son Ham (Gen. 9:25).
- Jael (a woman) hammers a tent peg into the Canaanite Sisera's head (Judges 4:21).
- Abimelech (wicked son of Gideon) is crushed to death when a woman drops a stone on his head from a tower (Judges 9:53).
- Saul defeats Nahash the Ammonite (1 Sam. 11:1, 11), whose name literally means "serpent."
- David crushes Goliath's head with a smooth stone -- Goliath, who wore "an armor of scales" (lit., 1 Sam. 17:5), just like a serpent.
But those are only a few crumbs from the cake. Let's dish up thick slabs for our kids -- that Christ is in the business of saving us from wickedness and sorrow, crushing serpent-heads, and bringing us joy. Christ goes to Hades so that we don't have to. For Christ, the way to life is through death, just like it is for us. The path to glory is through the grave. It wasn't coincidence that Tolkien took Aragorn through the Paths of the Dead on the eve of his final triumph and entry into Gondor as king. Fallen man likes to think that life is followed by death, but it is really life that swallows up death. It's impossible to get away from this truth. First is death, then life. First is sin, then salvation. First is sorrow, then gladness. First is pain, then joy. We can't have the second without the first, because this is God’s way. God loves to redeem us, and he cannot redeem us without us being lost.
Grace and Peace, Nate Ahern