Bible Essay: The Biblical Narrative

A narrative is a historical story that provides an account of events that took place in the past so that the reader may gain knowledge and direction in the present. Much of the Bible is composed of narratives accurately depicting events in the history of God’s chosen people. Narratives serve a very distinct purpose in Christianity. “If you are a Christian, the Old Testament is your spiritual history. The promises and calling of God to Israel are your historical promises and calling (Fee, 89).”

The narratives contained in the Bible were written to teach the readers about events in the past, and it is important to realize we should never allegorize the OT narratives looking for hidden meanings. These events took place in history just as they are recorded. The OT narratives are not stories to better illustrate something about Jesus (Fee, 92), and neither should they be viewed as fables that teach moral lessons. The characters are real historical figures with many flaws and they sometimes make poor decisions. The description of their life events are what actually happened and not necessarily what should have happened (Fee, 92). The narratives purpose is to inform the reader of how God has orchestrated events throughout history to achieve his desired outcome. Sometimes the OT narratives illustrate what is taught clearly and firmly elsewhere in scripture. A truth is not taught in the narrative, but the narrative may be used to further support or illustrate a truth from another section of scripture (Fee, 106).

The OT narratives are a vital resource for Christians. We may easily read how God, the biblical hero, has orchestrated events through history, independent of those who follow him, to guide history to where we are today. “Narratives are precious to us because they so vividly demonstrate God’s involvement in the world and illustrate his principles and calling (Fee, 105).” The narratives offer great insight into the past, but we should never abuse them to try and teach directives they do not contain.


About Mitchell Norton
My life was changed when God saw fit to forgive me of my rebellion against him. I am not worthy of a righteous God, and I am thankful that he reached out to me. My walk with the Lord has lead me to understand that loving others is just as important as loving God. I am a husband to a beautiful wife, father to an adorable daughter (and one on the way!), and servent of the Gospel. I am not perfect, but one day I will be. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence." - Jeremiah 17:7

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