Why We Should Relish, Reread, Review, Retell and Relive Biblical Stories


The Bible is an awesome adventure, introducing precious eternal teachings within specific historical contexts. Through its pages readers find universal principles dramatically revealed in extraordinary human persons. God’s eternal principles always matter, and so do specific timely moments of Divine action within people’s lives.

Probably 75% of the Bible is narrative. Jesus taught using dozens of stories, and those splendid stories are also part of the Gospel Story of his life, ministry, death, resurrection, additional teaching, and ascension. In fact, the Bible includes scores of multi-storied stories —layered and internally supported like multi-storied buildings. For example, there is the story in Luke 24 in which (1) two disciples telling the “stranger” Jesus about recent events, when (2) Jesus interprets those events in terms of the Old Testament stories, and when the two disciples figure out what happened, they run back to Jerusalem to (3) tell their story of how they walked and talked with the resurrected Jesus and what he said, all part of the (4) resurrection narrative, in the (5) Gospel According to Luke, part of the (6) Greatest Story ever told, integral to the Lord’s own (7) sovereign unfolding of history, “His-Story.” That would be a seven-story story!

Well-told stories are much more powerful than we usually recognize — especially the hundreds of great Biblical stories. Because they are set within time and space, the great Biblical stories incarnate eternal truth for time and space. This is why we never tire of hearing these special stories well told, or of seeing them dramatically well produced, as in the “A.D. The Bible Continues” epic series.

The Apostles’ Creed reads like a story, too, and billions of people are uplifted frequently by reciting it and affirming its story of God’s amazing grace.

Hundreds of Biblical stories are exemplars, powerful narratives that (a) help us reflect more clearly on our own experiences and decisions, and (b) transform our consciousness, conduct, and character. The people in these stories may exemplify good or bad decisions, but all of the Bible stories can help us to approach our lives and situations afresh. As such, Biblical exemplars are powerful tools of the important higher order thinking skills (H.O.T.S.) we described recently.

Comprehension of written material is wonderful. As a late reader, beginning at age eleven, I remember well the great joy of first comprehending what I read.

Nevertheless, reading is so much more than comprehension. Biblical exemplars are much more than stories that we remember and retell often. The very development within a text, for example, one of the 7 WordWonders, can move us personally as we go beyond reading comprehension to engage the text for all it is worth.

While teaching Biblical principles for life is of top importance, so is the teaching of Biblical stories. Generally when people are teaching Biblical stories they look for a core principle to teach, too. This is good. However, too often the presumption is that there is only one core principle when there may be several core principles that are incorporated into the one story.

One of the main strengths of Biblical stories is their integration of diverse Godly values into one narrative. Since our lives are all quite complicated, that integration of Godly values into the fabric of one story may provide far more redemptive help that a single principle isolated as “the moral of the story.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: The Christian Post
Paul de Vries

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