Text: II Peter 1:16-21
I. “Grandpa, read me a story.”
A. Children love hearing a story and so stories are selected to teach the children some lessons
B. Most of us don’t grow out of the desire to hear a story. Whether from reading a book or hearing a podcast or watching a movie, stories have a powerful attraction to people.
1. Though it seems that as adults, we care less about the purpose behind the stories.
2. We want to be entertained and don’t think about what the stories are teaching us
3. I Corinthians 15:33 - What we associate with will influence us
II. But too often I see adults treating the Bible as just a collection of stories, disconnected from real-life
A. They look for morals to be drawn from a story without understanding why the events occurred
1. The story of David and Goliath becomes the backdrop for how to deal with bullies
B. The application a person desires becomes more important than understanding the event
1. We lose focus regarding why God told this event.
2. For example, the story of Naaman is often cited to illustrate the importance of baptism.
a. After all both stories involve immersion in water
b. But the story of Naaman is about humility and submission
c. This can help explain why we need to submit to the commands of God, but it is not limited to this one illustration
d. By keeping it in context, we find that Elisha’s servant becomes a counter example.
(1) He heard Elisha refuse payment from Naaman - II Kings 5:15-16
(2) But Gehazi decided that Naaman should have paid - II Kings 5:20
(3) He covered up his disobedience with a lie - II Kings 5:24-25
(4) By his disobedience, he received Naaman’s leprosy - II Kings 5:26-27
C. There are so many stories, like Homer’s Iliad, that might be loosely based on history but are fanciful accounts with events that are clearly not true.
1. Some assume the Bible is the same. Thus, the miracles are dismissed.
2. One author cited what she thought is a historical error in Luke’s dating of Jesus’ birth.
a. She never stopped to think whether she was reading Luke’s details accurately.
b. From that stance, she concluded that she didn’t have to accept everything stated in the Bible.
c. But she becomes her own editor of God’s word - James 2:10-12
D. But the stories of the Bible are historical accounts. They are things that really happened to people who really existed.
1. The Bible doesn’t warp history in order to tell God’s story.
2. Rather, events were selected from the billions that occurred to build up the message God wanted told.
a. Judges 3:31 - A single verse about Shamgar
(1) Why did God include this brief event?
(2) Well, for one thing, it shows that God can deliver His people in unexpected ways. He didn’t use an army but one man with a pointy stick.
III. A lack of historical context causes people to treat each story in isolation
A. Consider the placement of the stories. Why is one event told after another?
1. There were countless things that happened to Jesus - John 21:25
2. Yet, look at Mark 2:1-3:6
a. The story of the Paralytic being healed - Mark 2:1-12
b. Jesus’ popularity - Mark 2:13
c. The conflict of associating with tax collectors - Mark 2:14-17
d. A discussion on fasting that leads to telling why the Old Law has to be replaced- Mark 2:18-22
e. The plucking of grain on the Sabbath - Mark 2:23-28
f. The healing of a man on the Sabbath - Mark 3:1-5
3. Why was this series of events selected? In this case we are told indirectly - Mark 3:6
a. These events explain why the Pharisees and Jewish leaders hated Jesus so much
B. The stories in Judges form a chain that explain how people progressively become morally corrupt without accepting guidance - Judges 21:25
1. Each event recorded shows a greater degree of depravation
C. Paul draws on events from Israel’s wondering in the wilderness to prove that being God’s chosen people does not guarantee an entrance into heaven - I Corinthians 10:6, 10-11
IV. The stories in the Bible ultimately tell us about how God guided mankind on a trajectory that culminates in the coming Savior and his death
A. So many of the recorded events explain why we need a Savior
1. The world before the Flood shows how bad people become without law
2. Without a king, we too go from bad to worse. Not an earthly king, but the Lord himself.
B. The events hint at the Savior’s coming and foreshadow his life and death, such as the time Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son - Genesis 22
C. People are drawn when Christ is lifted up - John 12:31-32
V. The stories in the Bible are meant to change how we see the world and our own lives - Romans 15:4
A. From the seeds planted, new Christians sprout - I Peter 1:23-25
B. Bible stories are not just for the young