Television series are the best example of arcs in the current culture, as serial novels aren't as big a thing as they used to be (except online where they're the norm). Long running shows often have an ongoing mega-arc, seasonal arcs, and sometimes mini-arcs within the season to build towards the big payoff of the season finale. Nobody here likely has the same favourite tv shows so it's hard to come up with one as a great example, so I'm going to use movies instead because everyone has heard of the Marvel Universe by now.
The overall arc of all of the Marvel Universe movies is to deal with the alien villain Thanos, who has plans for universe conquering. The build-up to why he's a threat, the goons and henchmen he's sent ahead of himself, are the threads through the rest of the Marvel movies. Loki in the Avengers, Gamorra, Nebula and the Cree in Guardians of the Galaxy, are just some examples of how he sent people ahead of himself. Iron Man's three films show the arc of Tony Stark accepting himself and being a hero. Captain America's films introduce characters like the Black Panther, Winter Soldier and Spiderman who are going to be important in Infinity War. Thor gains new skills and powers over his three movies that will likely help him fight Thanos. Each movie has its own plot and antagonist, while laying threads and seeds for later stories building towards the big confrontation.
So each chapter of a book leads to the climax, and each book leads towards a bigger arc climax, chapters are microcosms of the greater story universe's macrocosm. Each serial chapter should introduce a problem, show some kind of resolution or progress towards it, and then lay hooks that get people to come to the next chapter. Those small chapters hint at a bigger conflict/problem or antagonist, and then build towards that resolution. It's like little waves leading to big waves leading to a tsunami.