Knowing the Bible for Yourself (Pt. 8)
It seems an absurd question to ask, how one should read historical narrative since we do it intuitively all the time. In picking up a biography to read or a story in the newspaper, we are naturally handling material that would rightly be defined as historical narrative and yet we do it effortlessly without thinking. We pay close attention to the facts and the details - the dates and names, the places and characters. We all know the difference between facts and fiction and handle both accordingly. No one for a minute would take a novel like Alice and Wonderland and read it as they would a WW2 journal. One is fact and one is fiction. Whilst we can be inspired and entertained by fiction - learning very many valuable lessons - it is still at the end of the day fiction – it’s made-up, it’s not a faithful representation of historical fact but instead concerns itself with imaginary people and imaginary events. I’m sad to say, there are some, most notably those in liberal circles, who approach the Bible in this way. God creating the earth in six days! A global flood! Noah and the Ark! Jonah and a great fish! Virgin birth! Resurrection from the dead! Miracles and healings! Far from being taken as fact, at best these are embellishments to enhance the narrative and at worst fanciful stories (myths and legends) made up by the imaginations of men.
In this teaching, we look at the historicity of the Bible. Rather than giving a definitive how-to, we seek to give some cautionary pointers in approaching the historical narratives contained in the Bible and to clearly set out what these narratives are and are not. It is my hope that in doing this, it will help guard against the misuse of these passages and set a firm foundation upon which we may learn from the history recorded in the Bible so as to serve the Lord better in our day.
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