One of the major issues we face in this declining society is the narrative-driven media. Instead of simply relaying information, both sides have a narrative they want to tell, and the only information they give out is meant to further that narrative.
These selective narratives are in competition with one another, which ultimately divides and pits people against each other. But not all narrative-driven information is bad. In fact, it may be something the church is greatly lacking.
Just like we see with popular news channels, there are often selective narratives preached by well-intentioned pastors every Sunday. The overarching narrative of the Bible isn’t about your personal success, your health, wealth or even about your finances or marriage. These individual topics appear throughout the Bible, but they are not the main message of the Bible. Our role in scripture is not as the hero. If anything, we are the antagonist.
The full narrative of scripture is too beautiful to be left behind. It gives context to all the smaller stories we read. It protects us from thinking it is all about us and reminds us that it’s all about God.
The Bible starts and ends with God in a garden. This isn’t by mistake. Three things happened at the fall. We broke our relationship with God, with each other and with this planet. The rest of scripture is God slowly showing us how He can restore all three.
I call this narrative “The Great Reversal.” God shows us the way home by reminding us it’s not progressive but regressive steps. He is showing us how to walk the ancient paths spoken of in Jeremiah 6:16, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
I taught on the narrative of scripture at some youth camps over the summer. I was amazed at how many kids had never heard any of it before.
Their eyes lit up as they told me the Bible finally made sense to them. For the first time, they saw how each story was a tapestry that, when placed together, tells an even greater story. It makes reading the Bible so much more alive and impactful.
I pray that we all commit ourselves to loving the whole of God’s narrative and resting in the fact that He is a better storyteller than we will ever be.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Caleb Moore is pastor of First Baptist Church of Catoosa, Okla.)