HeirBorn Heritage


At the bottom of this page is the link for the HeirBorn Heritage curriculum.  HeirBorn Heritage is the study of the overarching storyline of the Bible–what Willem VanGemeren called The Progress of Redemption. This idea has been described well in a piece that came out of Willow Creek Church some time ago.  A few paragraphs are worth quoting:

“The Bible contains an Upper Story and a Lower Story. The Upper Story tells the big picture, the grand narrative of God unfolding throughout history. The Lower Story contains the sometimes delightful, other times appalling particulars of human experience. Without the lens of the Upper Story, the Lower Story seems out of focus and perplexing. As we make our way through the Bible—The Story—we will be mindful of both the temporal, easily seen events, and the not so obvious yet truly eternal realities. In the opening chapters of Genesis, the two stories are virtually one. God, who is love, creates the universe, and places humanity at the crown of all he brings into existence. Man and woman, as individuals and also in their collective, reflect God’s image. People are both the objects of God’s love and lovers in return.

But when the first man and woman choose to reject rather than respond, the Upper Story transitions to God’s relentless pursuit and restoration of what was lost. That Upper Story never changes even to the last chapter of the Bible. The details in the Lower Story describe the many ways people mostly—with a few notable exceptions—resist God, and wreak havoc with themselves and each other. In trying to be God, people ruin what God has made, and pass that curse to their offspring. In one dramatic episode, God decides to “start over” by destroying all life through a flood except for eight people: Noah and his family. In the Lower Story, those few given that second chance fail miserable to build the new world God envisioned, and evil continues to hold sway. But in the Upper Story, God makes the promise that he won’t ever flood the earth, thus teaching every generation that he is intent redeeming what’s broken, not destroying it.

One feature of biblically literate people is they tend to focus more and more on the Upper Story and live in that realm; that knowledge rightly colors how we approach and apply any part of the Bible. In a discussion we had recently, Randy and I came to the joint conclusion that in our own spiritual journey, it is knowledge of that Upper Story that gets us through the hard times in life more so than through the Lower Story information. Immature believers tend to focus more on the particulars of a story and its immediate application, while more mature believers are able to put all they read into the larger picture of the Bible’s overall story, and make application from that level of reading. One of the side benefits of this series for our church—why I believe it is timely for us as a whole congregation—is that we can instruct our congregation to have this more full- orbed approach so we get away from the habit of isolated-verse-only application. This also will protect our folks from the common misapplications that can be made with some texts, including the “what it says to me” error that rips a verse out of its historical context. Hopefully we will guide people into seeing every text as fitting into a bigger whole. If we got significant numbers of our people to become not only more familiar with the Upper Story of the Bible but also to be wisely handling the various particulars of Scripture within that larger context, it would be an enormous gain for us, in my opinion.”

My concern with writing HeirBorn Heritage was that our kids see the “Upper Story” rather than to simply be familiar with a random list of disconnected Bible stories.  I fear that too often, the moralizing we do from these stories is something of our own import rather than the intent of God and the original author.

Just inside the cover of the ebook is an overview of all of the lessons.  Hope you enjoy them!


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