One thing we have seen over the course of our series entitled “Jesus’ Stories” is that the parables or stories that Jesus’ uses are powerful. In recent weeks we have posted some incredibly helpful information that explains why stories are an effective tool for communicating truth and why Jesus was strategic in using stories. Here are some helpful resources that will further explain this topic from Mercy Hill member Carter Mundy.
Top Five Resources for Story in the Bible
Here are just a few of the resources I have used to grasp the significance of “story” and its relationship with Christian Scripture. There are many more that are relevant and helpful, but these are my top five picks (if I’m forced to choose).
The True Story of the Whole World: Finding Your Place in the Biblical Drama (Grand Rapids: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2009) by Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael Goheen –
This is my go-to book for understanding the Bible as a grand story. It’s actually a short, easy-to-read version of The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), which is a scholarly work. Both books categorize Scripture in six acts, which explain the Grand Narrative as an ongoing drama: 1) God established his kingdom through creation; 2) rebellion occurred within the kingdom, and God’s creation fell into chaos; 3) redemption was initiated when God called a people to himself, and gave them a land of promise; there was an interlude during which God’s people waited for the coming King; 4) the King came and redemption was accomplished; 5) news of the King spread, and is spreading, which defines the mission of the church; and finally, 6) the King returns to complete his redemption of Creation. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more about the Great Drama of Scripture.
Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000) by Graeme Goldsworthy –
A must read for anyone who wants to grasp Biblical Theology. It might first look like a book for preachers; but, it’s written for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of the continuity between the Old and New Testaments. This is unashamedly a Reformed view of Scripture, but it’s a necessary starting point to catch the entire vision of the Grand Narrative.
The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline Theology (Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1991) by N. T. Wright –
Wright’s work deals with how Paul understood and taught the OT law to Christians through the lens of Christ. It helpfully dissects the apostle’s understanding of God’s comprehensive story, revealed in the Messiah (the person and work of Jesus). This is definitely an academic book, but useful in gaining a better understanding of Jesus through Paul’s interpretation of the OT.
Old Testament Story and Christian Ethics: The Rape of Dinah as a Case Study (Waynesboro: Paternoster, 2004) by Robin Parry.
I found most of my philosophical reasoning for using “story” as a teaching method—especially as it relates to the Bible—in this book. Parry argues that stories are the most effective way to learn and understand anything, especially morals. Stories not only communicate morality, but also actively transform the heart of an audience. The Bible is the perfect example, and Parry delves into the OT to gain a deeper understanding of God’s transformative Word to his people.
Windows to the World: Literature in Christian Perspective (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2000) by Leland Ryken –
This little book is a great resource for understanding the language of story. Ryken gives theoretical and practical information, and helps the reader see why literature is such an important tool; it is inherently moral, and communicates moral information and truth. The book’s a little academic, but worth the read if you want to grasp the power of literature from a Christian perspective.