What are narratives? These are stories of past events with a moral told to give some positive direction of the reader. All narratives are made up of three basic components. These three basic parts of a narrative are the characters, the plot, and the plot resolution (Granted that most narratives are addressing a conflict or tension of some sort). In Bible narratives God is always the overall focus and hero of these stories. He is the protagonist, Satin is the antagonist, and God’s people are the agonist.
Over the years it’s been observed that Christians have read and interpreted Old Testament narratives very poorly. This overall abysmal interpretation ...view middle of the document...
” (Fee & Stuart, 2003, page 103). Decontextualizing is ignoring the full historical and literary context, and often the individual narrative, people concentrate on small units only and thus miss interpretational clues. If you take things out of context enough, you can make almost any part of Scripture say anything you want it to. Selectivity is cherry picking your choice of words and phrases while ignoring or overall narrative. Moralizing is simply a person’s assumption that principles can be extracted from every single scripture and passage. A moralizing reader may ask his or her self, “What is the moral of this story?” (Fee & Stuart, 2003, page 103).
Allegorizing, decontextualizing, selectivity, and moralizing are some reasons readers of Old Testament narratives may find it problematic when interpreting. With that being said, with every problem there’s a solution. Exegesis, which is the systematic study of scripture to discover the original intended meaning is a great start to interpreting Old Testament narratives. Along with exegesis if you really would like to get deeper in the comprehension of Old Testament narratives you could study hermeneutics as a whole. Another great tool for comprehension is using a bible commentary. Remember along with every problem there’s a solution. Whenever you come across a problem with understanding Old Testament narratives just remember exegesis, hermeneutics, and bible commentary.
Fee, G. & Stuart, D (2003) How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Library of Congress Cataloging