So, if we want to know whether we should read the Bible through the lens of law or promise, demand or provision, burden or gift, command or grace, we can just start reading on page one and see which comes first. And in fact, promise comes first, in God’s word to Abram in Genesis 12. Then the law is added later, in Exodus 20. The category “promise” establishes the larger, wraparound framework for everything else added in along the way.
The deepest message of the Bible is the promises of God through grace. The Bible presents itself to us this way. The laws and commands and examples and warnings are all there. We must revere them. But they do not provide the hermeneutic with which we make sense of the whole. We can and should understand them as qualified by God’s gracious promise in Christ.