Who doesn’t love a great story? For this post, I want to explore the power of stories, particularly Bible stories and what they mean to our spiritual growth and our relationship to God.
I love stories and especially the stories found in the Bible. In my opinion, we can go to the extreme sometimes and “over principalize” scripture. Okay, “principalize” is not a real word, but I thought it seemed fitting here. Stories can often engage us so much better—even just reading them at face value. They can inspire us, encourage us, teach us something, or leave us filled with wonder. Maybe even mystery. And that’s okay.
I believe Bible stories do even more. They serve us in at least three ways:
They keep us honest and humbled.
They keep Bible characters human.
They keep our faith real and strong.
Keeping us honest and humbled.
Just when you think you have scripture all figured out, go back and read about the story of David, or Solomon, or Sampson. God did miraculous and extraordinary things through these men. Men who were adulterers, murderers, deceivers. And then we read that David was a man after God’s own heart. What?
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon—go figure.
Sampson, long hair, herculean strength, the jaw-bone of an ass—very bizarre.
To me, it doesn’t all add up. But I don’t think it has too either. God is just being honest. He’s indeed a mystery, and I realize now that I shouldn’t put him in a box or somehow hold him accountable to my feeble attempts in logic. Scripture doesn’t have to be like a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces come perfectly together. Or where the guy always gets the girl, strikes it rich, and then rides off into the sunset to live happily ever after.
Keeping Bible characters human
As I read God’s amazing stories, I’m reminded that God deals with each of us on the same level. We’re all human. Elijah was once a human and he operated with the same struggles, fears, sins, and challenges that I do today. Some of the stories I’ve enjoyed the most involved a protagonist that discovered a flaw or an obstacle to overcome. The Bible is full of these characters, story lines and themes.
An important takeaway: The God who was available to the Bible characters of yesteryear is the God who is available to you and me right now.
What will your story be? What will others say about you after you’ve eaten the dirt sandwich?
Keeping our faith real and strong.
Looking back on people like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Mary, the Apostles, they lived out an intense faith. Reflect on what these men and women endured. The tasks that God asked them to do. The barriers they overcame. And they operated with less revelation than we have. Most of these people had a closeness with God that, I dare say, most of us today don’t have. Think about that for just a minute. Has God somehow stopped looking for that kind of intimacy from us? Have we just become content with reading God’s word like a computer reads code? The Bible is a tool and a means for us to get closer to the Author. If that’s not working for us, then maybe we’re looking at the Good Book all wrong.
The wonderful thing about stories is they are extremely readable and sharable. And usually you don’t need a seminary degree or to consult a commentary to get their meaning. I’m not saying we should focus on Bible stories exclusively, but let’s not underestimate their value either. Obviously, God gave them to us for a reason.
So go grab an ice tea, sit down and have a blast reading a great story from the Bible. Enjoy it and meditate on it. For your convenience, I’m giving you this Bible story link. It will direct you to a list of Bible stories along with scripture references.
Hope you enjoy! And have fun reading God’s word this week!