Editor’s note: These are examples of themes in groups of 3 found throughout the Bible. You would look for these types of themes when doing a thematic study.
GOD’S THREEFOLD PURPOSE
The major themes of Chapters 1-11 of Genesis reveals:
1.Spiritual death (separation from God) resulting from Adam & Eve’s sin
2.Man’s failure to reign over God’s kingdom on earth, resulting in its destruction because of the
wickedness of men, and God’s judgment of the flood
3.Man making a name for himself instead of glorifying God’s Name at the tower of Babel resulting
in man being separated from each other
Therefore, God’s threefold purpose is:
1.Restoring unity by means of reconciliation —> God’s plan of salvation
2.Establishing God’s kingdom on the earth
3. Bringing glory to God’s Name
Psalm 96 (1 Chronicles 16:23-33) states God’s same threefold purpose of Israel:
1.To declare Yahweh’s salvation (reconciliation) to all nations, Psalm 96:1-2
2.To ascribe to Yahweh the glory due His Name, 96:3-9
3. To tell the nations that Yahweh the King will establish His kingdom on earth, 96:10-13
The OT prophets used God’s threefold purpose to confront and encourage His people, e.g., Isaiah 62:1-3:
1.God’s salvation displayed, 62:1
2.God’s Name glorified, 62:2
3. God’s kingdom manifested, 62:3
Jesus taught us to begin our prayers with God’s threefold purpose (Matthew 6:9-10):
1.“Our Father” —resulting from union with God (reconciliation/salvation).
2.“Hallowed be Your Name”—bringing glory to God’s Name.
3.“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”— establishing of God’s
Christ’s “High Priestly Prayer” (John 17) focuses on God’s threefold purpose:
1.The Father and Himself be glorified.
2.Believers be reconciled or united to God.
3.Believers to be united with each other in Christ, thereby establishing the Church—the mystery
form of the kingdom on earth.
The shouts of the Palm Sunday crowd unwittingly displays God’s threefold purpose (John 12:13):
1.“Hosanna!” (Save Now!) points to reconciliation/salvation in Christ.
2.“Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord” gives glory to God’s Name in Christ.
3.“Blessed is the King of Israel” recognizes Christ as the One who establishes God’s kingdom.