The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How it Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between
Zondervan, 2017. 198pp.
There was a time when resources aimed at helping Christians connect the dots of the biblical story as it relates to Jesus and the gospel were hard to come by. This is not the case now. Over the past two decades a revival of interest and competence in biblical theology has blossomed in the evangelical community.
Adding to this continuing development is Gregory Koukl’s recent The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How it Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between. Despite the host of recent publications aimed at conveying the biblical storyline through the lens of the gospel, Koukl’s work is unique.
It is Tim Keller’s The Reason for God meets Vaughn Roberts God’s Big Picture. Koukl does a masterful job of conveying the storyline of the Bible as the story of the world, all while maintaining a careful and gracious apologetic eye toward the non-Christian reader.
Using the framework of worldview, Koukl makes the argument that the biblical story provides the best and most compelling answer to our deepest “why” questions related to origin, evil, and redemption. He uses the five words of “God, Man, Jesus, Cross, Resurrection” to frame his book and how the story of the world should be understood.
A strength of the book is its accessibility. Koukl’s writing is simple, yet not simplistic. He is clear and concise, while also sufficiently comprehensive. One of the most helpful things that Koukl accomplishes is his avoidance of Christian jargon. Someone who has no previous exposure to Christianity could easily understand the arguments and themes Koukl makes throughout the work.
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
The Story of Reality is a useful resource in multiple ways for pastoral ministry. First, it is an excellent resource to give to a non-Christian who is seeking to understand more about the gospel and the claims of Christianity. As previously mentioned, Koukl excels at making his writing accessible to someone with no previous exposure to Christianity.
Additionally, throughout the book he anticipates the questions and potential objections that someone seeking to learn more about Christianity would ask. In clarity and grace, he addresses these potential objections. Furthermore, the author is making an argument throughout the book, not just providing information. It is for this reason, Koukl concludes the work with an invitation for the reader to “turn and follow Jesus” (p. 177).
Second, the book is an excellent resource for the Christian who needs help connecting the dots in the biblical story and the story of the world. As Koukl notes, often times Christians have puzzle pieces from puzzles that do not fit into the Christian puzzle. In this work, he seeks to help Christians correctly put together the puzzle pieces of the Christian worldview (pp. 25-28).
A final group Koukl’s work serves are Christians who may be competent in their understanding of the biblical story and its role in providing a framework for the story of the world, but struggle in articulating it in a clear and gracious, yet confident, way to non-Christians. Reading The Story of Reality helps equip the reader to more effectively talk about the beauty of the gospel to non-Christians.
There are few books that I would recommend to non-Christians, new and young Christians, and mature Christians with equal enthusiasm. The Story of Reality is one.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By