I’ve been thinking a lot about how we read the Bible. One aspect that I need to learn more about is how to read the Bible as narrative. Interestingly enough, several people have been looking at the same question lately. Among others, Sean Palmer and Patrick Mead have recently written about this. Sean approaches the subject from the point of view of preaching. I haven’t had a chance to read Patrick’s yet, but knowing the kind of research and study Patrick does, I have confident his thoughts are worth reading.
I was also directed to an article called Why “The Bible is our Instruction Manual” is the Worst Metaphor in the History of the World over at a site called The Ruthless Monk. While there, I explored the site and read a bit about reading the Bible as narrative.
I see at least two related trains of thought on this subject:
- We need to learn to read the narrative parts of the Bible for what they are. We don’t handle narrative that well. Maybe that’s one reason why the writings of Paul are so popular in our brotherhood. Narrative doesn’t always seem as “practical” as we might like.
- We need to learn to read the Bible as a continuing narrative. Each part of the Bible contributes to the overarching story. Too often we isolate verses, chapters or even books, without trying to place them within the whole narrative of the Bible.
I want to spend some time exploring these related ideas. I’m very open to insights, suggested resources, related questions, et. What do you think?