We’ve all heard this story: the hero fights a dragon in an epic battle, and just as it appears the dragon is going to prevail, the hero saves the day. Best-selling novels and blockbuster movies are filled with this type of story, but did you know that this is the main theme of the Bible too?
Tracing the theme of serpents and dragons through both Testaments, trusted scholar Andrew David Naselli demonstrates that these stories reflect our desire to know the ultimate story—the struggle between God’s offspring and the offspring of the serpent. As we come to experience this captivating, unifying narrative, we will rejoice in the ultimate victory of Jesus—the serpent slayer—over the devouring dragon in Revelation.
Introduction: Why Do We Love Dragon-Slaying Stories?
Chapter 1: The Deceitful Snake in Genesis 3
Chapter 2: Snakes and Dragons between the Bible’s Bookends: Part 1: The Good, the Bad, and the Ultimate Serpent
Chapter 3: Snakes and Dragons between the Bible’s Bookends: Part 2: Six Offspring of the Serpent
Chapter 4: The Devouring Dragon in Revelation 12 and 20
Conclusion: How Should We Live in Light of the Story of the Serpent and the Serpent Slayer?
Appendix: How Often Does the Bible Explicitly Mention Serpents?
Andrew David Naselli (PhD, Bob Jones University; PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of systematic theology and New Testament at Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis and one of the pastors of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
“The Bible’s narrative is essentially an unfolding of the conflict promise embedded in Genesis 3:15. Everything between the covers of Scripture is contextualized by the ways the serpent seeks to destroy the seed of the woman. But the end of the story is promised from the beginning: although the serpent grows large into a fierce dragon, its head is finally crushed by a Lion who, even before creation, was destined to become a slain Lamb. This conflict is not Scripture’s only unifying theme, but it is a fundamental one, and Andy Naselli highlights it wonderfully. He provides us with a key that will open the door to a new appreciation of the sheer thrilling nature of what God has done for us in Christ. Prepare, then, to be thrilled by The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer!” - Sinclair B. Ferguson, Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary; Teaching Fellow, Ligonier Ministries
“Noted biblical scholar Andy Naselli draws readers into the biblical story through a fresh vantage point—snakes! In this enjoyable book there is considerable insight into Satan, the fall, Christ’s victory, and our future.” - Christopher W. Morgan, Dean, School of Christian Ministries and Professor of Theology, California Baptist University
“Knowing our enemy is important. Read this if you want to understand the schemes of the serpent seen throughout Scripture. But even more importantly, we must know the serpent slayer. Read this if you want to see how Jesus defeats the dragon and rescues his bride. What a Savior!” - Abigail Dodds, author, (A)Typical Woman: Free, Whole, and Called in Christ
“Snakes deceive; dragons devour! But the serpent slayer is greater still! This book traces the hope of the gospel from the garden in Genesis to the new Jerusalem in Revelation. It identifies the deceptive and devouring purposes of the serpent in Scripture’s storyline, but it magnifies how the Old Testament anticipates and the New Testament realizes the victory of Christ for and through his church. This book models well how to trace a biblical-theological theme through the whole of Scripture, and it is infused with hope in the one who triumphs through great tribulation.” - Jason S. DeRouchie, Research Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
“In this slim book, Andy Naselli does what he does best: he gathers, organizes, and presents Scripture so that you can see for yourself what the Bible says about serpents and the serpent slayer. The Bible’s understanding of snakes and dragons is ‘thick’—it is woven into the fabric of redemptive history from Genesis to Revelation. If you love stories where the hero kills the dragon to get the girl, then this book is for you.”
Joe Rigney, Assistant Professor of Theology and Literature, Bethlehem College & Seminary; author, The Things of Earth and Strangely Bright
“Dragons and serpents have fascinated the human race from time immemorial, whether in secular or sacred literature. In The Serpent and the Serpent Slayer, Andy Naselli fascinates us again with intriguing observations and exegetical insights. Every reader will benefit from this concise biblical theology, understanding afresh that while the Bible is a simple story—as simple as ‘Kill the dragon, get the girl!’—it is also of dramatic interest from start to finish. Naselli also provides us with a timely reminder that the devil is real and active today, deceiving and devouring people; yet the church is not without hope: Christ has crushed the serpent, and one day so too will his church.” - Jonathan Gibson, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary