Storytelling in Scripture
by Lois Tverberg & Bruce Okkema

And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying, "Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear." Matthew 13:1-9

The next theme that we would like to move into in our “Water From the Rock” series is that of storytelling in the Bible. You are probably all aware that storytelling is a highly effective teaching method, well beyond its entertaining nature. The storyteller can draw the listener into the story to prepare him for the intended lesson without the listener being on guard or defensive. Often the conclusion cannot be argued as it was delivered as a narrative rather than an exposition or argument.

Jesus was a master storyteller as we will see. We will be looking at many of His parables from the perspective of His culture and you might be surprised that sometimes what we have assumed to be good things or bad things are actually the opposite when understood within their cultural setting. It is also surprising to learn that Jesus used similar themes and stories as others of his day, and we can learn about Jesus' teaching by comparing it to others. Parables had certain stock characters, like a king or a landowner, a wise person or a foolish person. We will get a better grasp of Jesus' teaching by understanding the way parables were taught in His day.

We will also be pointing out word plays and idioms from the Hebrew that we miss if we only look at the English. These too, often greatly enhance the impact and meaning of Jesus teaching. There is so much wonderful truth throughout scripture that has been delivered in the form of a story, and we will be calling much of it to your attention in this series, so please stay tuned!


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