So far, we’ve looked at Plot, Character, and Setting in relation to Biblical Narrative. There is another component which needs attention though and it’s called Design Pattern. Design Patterns are made up of repeated themes that help create intentional patterns which also communicate meaning to us as readers.
What can we learn about how to read the Bible by looking at some of the Design Patterns that tie Biblical Narratives together?
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One of the most valuable things about discovering design patterns in Biblical narrative is the way that they help us weave together the big story of the Bible and help us unpack what it means for our lives.
As you begin to recognize individual design patterns and the way that they get repeated in Scripture, you can start to see how they contribute to the grand narrative design within Scripture.
Like a quilt, each individual square is beautiful in its design and can be appreciated on its own merits. Often, there are squares that look the same or only slightly different from each other.
When the squares are woven together into a quilt, we gain the perspective to see how each of the squares adds to the beauty and complexity of the overall design. This broader perspective allows us to appreciate the skill with which the quilter has drawn the pieces into a cohesive whole.
It’s our ability to appreciate the individual threads and patterns within the tapestry of God’s Word that helps us to see the big picture of God’s plan and his participation in the grand story.
I think it's also important to highlight how Jesus sometimes completes and sometimes breaks or transforms the patterns of the Old Testament in order to weave something even more beautiful from them.
Tim gives us a great example of this when he explores the pattern related to passing through water. Jesus participates in this pattern at his baptism and later, baptism becomes an important pattern for the church as well.
Passing through the waters of baptism remains a symbol of entering into participation in the Christian story for new believers even today.
Certainly, design patterns help to emphasize important themes in Biblical narrative. When you read the Bible, watch for the familiar patterns that are present and use them to help you see the bigger picture of what God has done, is doing and will yet do which his Word bears witness too.