Today I am leading a seminar: Preaching Biblical Narrative. I have really enjoyed preparing for this event. Hence I am writing about Bible stories on the site at the moment. Here’s four good reasons to preach Bible stories, and there are more too!
1. Stories are plenteous. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Ray Lubeck states that 44% of the Bible’s chapters are predominantly narrative. There’s lots of stories in the Bible!
2. Stories are pervasive. They stretch throughout the canon. We read stories throughout the Pentateuch, the history books of the Old Testament, in the wisdom books and the prophets. We read stories about Jesus and from Jesus in the Gospels and throughout Acts. We read glimpses of stories, or implied stories in the Psalms, in the Epistles, in Revelation. They are everywhere, because life is lived story.
3. Stories are powerful. Unlike bare proposition, stories lodge in the memory. They reach down deep to the emotions of the listeners as they identify with characters and get absorbed into real life action and tension. They have a powerful ability to slip past defenses and reach the heart.
4. Stories are preferred. Historically humans have been primarily story—tellers. Life legacies have been passed from one generation to the next by means of story. Globally, most cultures are story cultures. In fact, if we live in a time when story has taken a back seat, we are living in a blip in time and space. But that is an if. Even in the “enlightened” west we still are shaped and gripped by story. Just look at Hollywood, or what predominates on TV schedules, or how advertisers shape many ads, or even how sports journalists frame big games – stories continue to abound! And now as culture is shifting from modernism to postmodernism, story is increasingly preferred – authentic personal story is perceived to be of greater value than abstract truth statements. People are, and always have been, everywhere, primarily creatures of story.