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BIBL 102 (Sp '15) T23 - OT Narrative

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Hartmut Scherer

on 7 April 2015

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Transcript of BIBL 102 (Sp '15) T23 - OT Narrative

Cross the principlizing bridge
OT Narrative
(Adapted from Zondervan Academic Resources for "Grasping God's Word)
Narrative is a literary form with
sequential action
Reading narratives
Reading OT narratives is a lot like reading the Gospels
Literary features of narratives
(Who?) Characters carry the action and move the plot forward
Viewpoint of Narrator
(Why?) The narrator is the one responsible for conveying meaning to the readers through the story
Major literary technique used in OT narrative to develop the plot and move the story forward
When the narrator’s intended meaning is quite different from the surface meaning of an episode
Literary context – the big story
Study “your” story in the
of the
surrounding stories
God promises the land to Abraham’s descendents in Genesis 12
(big story)
Israelites refuse to enter the promised land in Numbers 14
(individual story)
Do “Good Guys” always wear white hats?
Many theological
derive from the
main characters
Good guys?

Solomon Samson Gideon
God is a
central character
in OT narrative.
Let God be God!
Make careful observations. Search for connections.
Measure the width of the river
Remember the changes in covenants
(we are no longer under the law of Moses)
Does your theological principle satisfy the following criteria:
- It should be reflected in the biblical text
- It should be timeless and not tied to a
specific situation
- It should not be culturally bound
- It should be relevant to both the biblical
audience and the contemporary audience
Consult the biblical map
Analyze the literary and historical contexts.
Identify the overall story line for the book. Try to fit your narrative into the larger story.
Does the NT modify the theological principle?
The meaning in this step should be applicable to any NT believer.
Grasp the text in our town
Be as specific as possible.
Remember that there can be numerous individual applications of the theological principles.
The interpretive river is often
Nearly half of the OT
Narrative shows us how (not) to live by the
actions of the characters
Look for connections with surrounding stories
Search for the details
Conflict or crisis
(What? How?) The sequence of events that ties together the story
Exposition or setting
(When? Where?)
Backdrop of the story
Keep relating the
(individual stories) to the
big story
of the entire book and the whole OT
Not every character is a hero and most characters exhibit both good and bad trait
Essential that we
be able to discern
good guys from bad guys
Bible deals with real life and real people. People are complex!
How to interpret OT narratives
How does the principle fit with the rest of the Bible?
Grasp the text in their town
Write out a statement of what the text meant to the biblical audience.
Identify similarities between the situation of the biblical audience and us.
Do not ignore the OT meaning and simply zoom off into the NT.
An OT narrative usually doesn't directly teach a doctrine.
An OT narrative usually illustrates a doctrine.
Narratives record what happened.
What people do in narratives is not necessarily a good example for us.
Most of the characters in OT narratives are far from perfect.
Ten principles for interpreting OT narratives
(Taken from Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart,
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth
(Zondervan, 1981), 83.)
We are not always told at the end of a narrative whether what happened was good or bad.
All narratives are selective and incomplete.
Narratives are not written to answer all our theological questions.
Narratives may teach either explicitly or implicitly.
In the final analysis, God is the hero of all biblical narratives.
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