Christian Living

The Bible Presents Us with a Narrative to Inform Our Lives

Reading the Bible as Narrative Frees Us to Experience God in a Fuller, Deeper Way

Continuing in our series of why I love the Bible, we’re on reason number twelve. I often say that I read the Bible as a narrative. Simply stated, it’s a story, a grand, epic tale. It’s a story about God’s relationship to us.

Reading the Bible as narrative means we don’t primarily view it as a rulebook, legalistic account, or instruction manual. Reducing the Bible to these things serves to remove its power and lessen its impact.

When I read the Bible as narrative, I can enjoy the story. But it’s much more than a story. Here are some of the things I can glean from the stories in the Bible.

The Bible Provides Examples to Follow

As we look at the lives of the characters in the Bible, we can learn from them, from the things they do, the things they don’t do, and the outcomes they realize as a result. In simple terms many of the people in the Bible provide us with an example to follow.

Consider how Daniel conducted himself in Babylon.

The Bible Gives Situations to Avoid

Just as we see many admirable traits to emulate, the lives of these biblical people also warn us of situations we should avoid. Cain is the first character that comes to mind.

Often, the same person provides both an example to follow and a situation to avoid. After all, no one except Jesus is perfect. That means everyone else in the Bible is flawed, with worthy and unworthy traits to consider. We must learn from both. My namesake, Peter, is one such example.

The Bible Offers Wisdom for Living

In addition to examples we can follow, we also see situations of awe-inspiring wisdom. King Solomon comes to mind, regarding his judgment for the two women who both claim a child as their own.

The Bible Reminds Us of Sin and its Consequences

Since the Bible’s filled with people, it’s also filled with sin as it documents their lives. Repeatedly, we see people who do the wrong thing and suffer as a result. This reminds us that we can’t live as we please and not feel the consequences. Consider evil Queen Jezebel.

The Bible Records Prayers to Emulate

A key part of the biblical narrative is its many prayers. Though the Bible records most prayers without commentary, some prayers receive affirmation as God honoring or validation through God’s answers. Again, let’s look at Daniel as he prays to understand a vision.

The Bible Shows Us How to Praise God

The Bible narrative also contains many worthy examples of people offering praise to God. Recall when Solomon dedicates the temple.

Of course, the narrative of the Bible also provides us with much more. Many of its stories are classic literature that have worked their way into our culture.

When we read the Bible as narrative, we are both educated and entertained. If you’re not already doing so, start reading the Bible today as narrative.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Bogged Down Reading the Bible?

10 Essential Bible Reading Tips, from Peter DeHaan

Get the Bible Reading Tip Sheet: “10 Tips to Turn Bible Reading from Drudgery to Delight.”

​Enter your info and receive the free Bible Reading Tip Sheet and be added to Peter’s email list.