Story In Israel Is The Bottom Line

➡ Average Reading Time: 2 minutes

God's <abbr>EPIC</abbr> AdventureIsrael had confidence in its stories, in and of themselves. Israel understood them not as instruments of something else, but as castings of reality. Israel’s epistemological message was that they trusted the stories.

Here stories were posited “to build a counter community, one that was counter to the oppression of Egypt, counter to the seduction of Canaan, counter to every cultural alternative and ever-imperial pretense.” Brueggemann asks: “Can we risk these stories?” His answer: “The answer is known only when we decide if we want to subvert the imperial consciousness and offer a genuine alternative to the dominant forms of power, value, and knowledge.”[ref]Walter Brueggemann. The Creative Word. 26-27.[/ref]

It is difficult to get a handle on Brueggemann’s belief about the historical background from the above references about story. However, in a more recent book, A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, written with three others, the quartet is frank about their belief about a historical backdrop in reading the text, in their case, the Old Testament. They state:

There is increasing recognition that interpretation now takes place in a postmodern context, one in which the previously settled assumptions of the modern world have become unsettled and must, therefore, be reassessed. One of those assumptions, closely allied with the claims of historical criticism, was that history was the primary category for assessing the truth claims of the biblical text and the reality assumed to “stand behind” the text. In our view the search for a historical reality behind the text sometimes did violence to the imaginative and rhetorical integrity of the text itself.[ref]Bruce C. Birch, et. al, A Theological Introduction To The Old Testament, 21-22.[/ref]

Brueggemann points out in his book, The Bible Makes Sense, that the historical emphasis has waned.[ref]Walter Brueggemann. The Bible Makes Sense (vii-viii).[/ref]

Story. Fee and Stuart’s Perspective [Scripture’s Narrative]

The genre of literature that dominates the landscape of Scripture is narrative. There is some captivating as well as some shocking narratives. In many cases, we have been taught about the human characters within these narratives and how to discover ourselves in those characters. Who hasn’t tried, like Abraham, to help God bring a promise to its conclusion well before its time and in another way than it would naturally occur?

These stories, whose plots and characters are so intriguing, allow us in a powerful way to see God at work with his people. The Old Testament makes up seventy-five percent of Scripture and forty percent of its material is narrative.[ref]Fee and Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. 89.[/ref]

There are many kinds of narratives in the Old Testament. As readers, we must understand the characteristic of Old and New Testament narratives as a first step toward becoming a competent reader of the Story which Scripture presents.

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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)