The Presence of God: Its Place in the Storyline of Scripture and the Story of Our Lives

By J. Ryan Lister, Foreword by Thomas R. Schreiner

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The Presence of God: Its Place in the Storyline of Scripture and the Story of Our Lives

By J. Ryan Lister, Foreword by Thomas R. Schreiner

... Show All

“God is with us.”

We say this in our sermons, prayers, and songs, but what does it really mean? For many Christians, the whole notion of God’s presence remains vague and hard to define.

Exploring both the Old and New Testaments, Professor J. Ryan Lister seeks to recover the centrality of the presence of God in the whole storyline of Scripture,a theme that is too often neglected and therefore misunderstood. In a world that longs for—yet struggles to find—intimacy with the Almighty, this book will help you discover the truth about God’s presence with his people and what his drawing near means for the Christian life.


J. Ryan Lister

Ryan Lister (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of theology at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of The Presence of God and serves as director of doctrine and discipleship for Humble Beast, where he also helped start the Canvas Conference. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Chase, and their four children.

Product Details

Category: Theology
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 368
Size: 6.0 in x 9.0 in
Weight: 17.5 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-3915-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-3915-2
ISBN-UPC: 9781433539152
Case Quantity: 36
Published: November 30, 2014

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: A Forgotten Storyline
  2. Of Storyboards and Location Scouts: A Biblical and Theological Foundation for the Presence of God

Part 1: Fade to Light: The Presence of God and the Goal of Redemption

  1. Beginning at the End: Creating and Redeeming a People and a Place for God’s Presence
  2. Conflict and Covenant: The Story’s Turn and the Presence of God
  3. The Promise of a Hero: The New Covenant, the New Adam, and the Presence of God

Part 2: Enter Stage Left: The Presence of God and the Means of Redemption in the Old Testament

  1. The Curtain Rises: Paradise to Patriarchs
  2. On Center Stage: Out of Egypt
  3. The Curtain Falls (on Act 1): Back to the Brink

Part 3: Standing in the Spotlight: The Presence of God and the Means of Redemption in the New Testament

  1. A Hero Emerges from the Ruins: God Present to Redeem in the Person of Christ
  2. The Hero Takes His Throne: God Present to Redeem through the Work of Christ

Part 4: Curtain Call

  1. Finding Our Place in the Story: The Presence of God for the Christian Life


“Ryan Lister knows more about the biblical teaching concerning God’s presence in the world than anyone else I know. And there is no theme more important to our relationship with God. Lister’s book is a great antidote to the temptation to see God only as a concept, doctrine, or formula, or to regard him only as a force in the world outside ourselves. The book shows that God is our friend and Father, and that in him we live and move and have our being.”
John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary

“We need more biblical theologies like this one! Ryan Lister has identified a central biblical theme that we easily take for granted. With the unity of Scripture to the fore, he has provided us with a diligently researched study of one of the golden threads that highlight the glories of Christ’s person and work. This is thematic biblical study at its best.”
Graeme Goldsworthy, Former Lecturer in Old Testament, Biblical Theology, and Hermeneutics, Moore Theological College

“Ryan Lister provides a great service to the people of God by tracing the theme of God’s presence from Genesis to Revelation, showing that it is not only central to the Christian eschatological hope, but also the gracious means by which God moves fallen sinners to that glorious beatific vision.”
Steven B. Cowan, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Lincoln Memorial University

“The whole of the Bible, from soon after the entrance of sin in Genesis 3 to Revelation 22, can be read as the story of God coming nearer. The Presence of God is filled with insight that unpacks the fullness of Scripture’s development on this theme, but also shows how precious the concept of God’s presence with his people is for our lives. Lister has been very careful to represent clearly and appropriately the development of this beautiful biblical theme, and he has done this in a way that is highly relevant for Christian identity and Christian living. Do yourself a favor—read this book and rejoice that God has chosen to come near.”
Bruce A. Ware, T. Rupert and Lucille Coleman Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“The much misunderstood notion of the presence of God is central to the Bible’s story from beginning to end. Ryan Lister explains how it is both God’s goal for us and the means by which God accomplishes his redemptive mission. This fresh approach to biblical theology is presented as an unfolding drama, with many practical and pastoral implications. In particular, it shows that a sound and scripturally mature analysis of the presence of God can help answer this world’s deep-seated spiritual desires.”
David Peterson, Emeritus Faculty, Moore Theological College; author, Engaging with God and Encountering God Together

“Ryan Lister provides an exegetically grounded theology of relational divine presence that is traced along the Christ-centered storyline of the Bible. This work is an outstanding model of evangelical scholarship, and Lister’s conclusions invade every square inch of our lives as we seek to fulfill the primary reason for our existence—knowing the holy God who mercifully draws near to his people.”
K. Erik Thoennes, Professor and Chair of Theology, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University; Elder of Congregational Life, Grace Evangelical Free Church, La Mirada, California