How To Read The Bible – Part 5 – Plot in Biblical Narrativea
Narrative is the most represented literary style in the Bible so it’s worth taking a closer look at the components of it. In this reflection, we’ll be looking at Plot and asking the question; What happens when we take stories in the Bible “out of context?”
Watch Episode 5 by clicking HERE. Come back after the video to continue reading.
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The story of Gideon is a great example. In the video they talked about how Gideon’s testing of God is sometimes taken ‘out of context’ and may be misunderstood as a result.
In a larger sense, we may also be taking the story of Gideon out of context as well. Often, we focus on the story of Gideon by celebrating his victory over the Midianites. As a result, we may walk away with the sense that Gideon is a great hero of the faith. Certainly, God did use Gideon to accomplish something extraordinary for Israel but was he the hero we sometimes paint him to be?
Read Judges 6-7 slowly and carefully. Read it more than once if you have time. Pay attention to Gideon’s character and ask honest questions about his thoughts, motivations, and actions as you read.
If you’re reading closely, you’ll probably notice that Gideon behaves more like an antihero. Meriam-Webster defines an antihero as “a protagonist or notable figure who is conspicuously lacking in heroic qualities.” Based on your reading of Judges 6-7, could this describe Gideon? Still unsure? Read a little more of Gideon’s story in Judges 8. How about now?
As the video suggests, when we read the whole story of Gideon in the context of the overarching story of the Judges and that of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, we discover that Gideon is not the true hero of his story. If you read closely though, you can probably figure out who is.
As we learned about last time, the Bible is dense, and its stories often have multiple layers of meaning to sift through as we try to fully understand them.
We certainly learn lots of lessons from a story like Gideon’s. For example, we can learn that God is trustworthy. We can learn that God is bigger than our doubts. We can learn that God is greater than our enemies. We can also learn about our own brokenness and our need for God.
When we look at the story of Gideon through the lens of the whole Bible story, I think the lesson that comes into focus is profoundly simple. It’s an invitation which is repeated throughout the Bible. That invitation is simply to Trust God in everything.