One of my favorite ways to read the Bible is to listen to it being read aloud. By listening, instead of reading, I can more easily focus on the story the words are intended to convey. If that seems child-like it’s because it is. It’s also the most demanding and thrilling “reading” I’ve ever done. And, if sophisticated describes “the degree of complexity or that which appeals to those with worldy knowledge or experience” then, yeah, it’s that too.
I would argue that books are the “new kid on the block” for human communication. People have been telling each other stories since there was a second pair of ears to hear them. And the first person to exist probably told stories to themself! How long after storytelling did books come about? Nobody knows. But there’s is no doubt about which came first.
Wired for Story
People are wired for story; we think in pictures and learn from narrative. Want to explain something beyond words? Show a picture or paint one with the words you thought the idea was beyond. Want to impart lasting knowledge? Tell stories about those pictures.
It should come as no surprise, then, that God’s word came to us first by voice, and then in story. For all its many uses in describing the relationships between abstract entities, math is most certainly not the first language of God.
Introducing Basic Story Layout
This is more than enough to introduce a favorite morning ritual: listening to the Bible while focusing on the story. It’s the first part of my morning routine and great for writers or anyone looking to reach a deeper understanding of the narrative structures of the Bible. I use it to keep story, characters, and plot elements (and their relationships to other stories) at the forefront of my reading/listening.
Wisdom, prayer, songs, and stories within stories telling the Big Story. That’s what the Bible is. And yet, there’s more to the Big Story than what’s on the page.
Once absorbed, story becomes the raw material from which we build and live our own. And our story becomes part of HIStory, not in canon, but as Paul filled up what was lacking in Christ’s afflictions.
Like it or Not: Narrative is Your Premise
The most important decisions I’ve ever made were deciding what stories were true enough to build my life on. Disagree? Yeah, sure, tell me a story about it. Wherever you may be on that journey, perhaps this morning ritual and layout may be of assistance.