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How To Read The Bible – Part 6 – Character in Biblical Narrative

In this reflection, we’ll be looking at Character, the second component of Narrative and how it’s used in the Bible. Character in narrative writing is used by authors to connect the reader to the story by giving us portrayals of humanity that we can connect too and relate with.

How do Biblical authors use Character and what does it teach us about ourselves?

Watch Episode 6 by clicking HERE. Come back after the video to continue reading.

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In the video, the presenters state that authors use characters to show us their view of what it means to be human. Biblical authors are no different in this respect but some aspects of how the Biblical authors write differ from the kinds of characters we encounter in modern stories.

Remember, the Bible tends to communicate through densely packed writing with layered meanings. As a result, the Bible often doesn’t give us a lot of details about its characters but what it does provide communicates on multiple levels. The examples given are biblical names which often come with meanings attached and physical descriptions which can also act as clues to a character’s personality, morality, and behaviour.

The details it doesn’t give us directly, such as motivations and feelings, are still accessible to us when we understand these layers of meaning and when we read stories in context as we looked at last time.

The important take away here, however, is that biblical characters help to show us how God works with compromised and flawed people to accomplish His goals. The great heroes of the faith are not usually real heroes. Instead, they are broken, and sinful people just like us.

We’re meant to see ourselves in them, not so we can be like them, but so we can be encouraged that just as God gave them His grace and used them to do extraordinary things, we can expect His grace also as He uses us.

While you will never have to face Goliath, you will face versions of him in your daily life today. What can David, as small and flawed as he was, teach you about standing tall in faith? Read Philippians 4:11-13 as you contemplate.

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