Biblical Story versus Biblical Stories
I recently assigned a short assignment to my Bible students. They were to write out a brief summary of the story of Scripture. I intentionally gave them very little help, only telling them that they had 2-3 paragraphs to write out the summary, and they needed to include the important details, features, and events of the story.
The results are intriguing. On the one hand, they clearly knew a lot of the stories of Scripture. And my guess is that their familiarity with Scripture is quite similar to that of the American church in general. We who have grown up in church know a lot of the stories. We can talk about Abraham, about Adam and Eve, about David, about Ruth and Esther, and so on. And that’s certainly commendable.
But one of interesting facets of American evangelicalism is that while there is a significant knowledge of individual stories in Scripture, oftentimes, we in the American church fail to see the overarching storyline, as well as the theological categories into which those stories fit. Our knowledge of Scripture seems to be quite fragmented at times.
Now certainly not everyone at every age will have the same level of understanding. That is only natural. I am quite happy that students in churches are getting to know the wonderful stories of Scripture. But ideally, the unfolding story of Scripture leading to Christ is manifest from the very beginning. Hopefully the more that we study Scripture, the more we will see that the stories of Scripture are not fragments, but rather part of the tapestry that makes the wonderful story of creation and redemption.