The Bible uses stories (narrative) to reveal who God is, what God desires, how God acts, and how God wants humans to respond to him. Too often preachers ignore the narrative structure of the Bible. This article wants to encourage preaching that honours the narrative structure, content, and purpose of narrative texts.
This Introduction provides a guide for reading the narrative sections of the Old Testament. It directs readers to the main reasons for telling these stories. Further, it considers the question whether there is a right or wrong way to read and use Bible stories. Finally, it reflects on how to read the narratives within the bigger picture of the Bible.
Unaware of the origins of some of these thoughts, many pastors and church members may find themselves increasingly confronted with ideas like “story preaching” or “reading the Bible as literature.” Even though it may seem harmless at first, these phrases may in fact conceal trends of which the unsuspecting pastor, churchgoer, or Bible student may not be aware. This article will help us understand the unfortunate dichotomy between history and literature modern biblical studies have inherited.