Monday, 27 October 2008

OT narrative

Glen really loves teaching at Talua. He loves teaching students the Bible. At the moment he is teaching Joshua to Kings and Luke and Acts.

The students belong to a culture of oral traditions. They love hearing and telling stories. But, when it comes to new stories (and most of the Old Testament is new to them) and reading, they really struggle, especially when it comes to reading in English. As a result, Glen has been trying to think of tools to give his students so they can work out the main point of a passage of OT narrative when they can't work it out intuitively. When he shared with me what he had been working on, I thought they would be extremely helpful for me as I read OT narrative and wanted to share them with you, too.

This is what he encourages them to look for:

1. Comment or summary statements from the narrator. For example,
'All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them. So on that day all the people and all Israel knew that the king had no part in the murder of Abner.  (2 Samuel 3:36-37)
And he became more and more powerful, because the LORD God Almighty was with him... And David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. (2 Samuel 5:10, 12)

2. Speech from a trusted character. For example,
But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he spoke kindly to them and he reassured them.  (Genesis 50:19-21)

3. Speech from God, an angel or a prophet.
For example,
And the LORD told him, "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.  As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.  Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."  (1 Samuel 8:7-9)
Samuel said, "Why do you consult me, now that the LORD has turned away from you and become your enemy? The LORD has done what he predicted through me. The LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbours- to David, Because you did not obey the LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this yo you today. The LORD will hand over both Israel and you yo the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines." (1 Sam 28:16-19)

4. What God is doing or has done (often in the form of a narrator's comment). For example,
So the LORD rescued Israel that day, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven. (1 Samuel 14:23)

5. Repitition.  For example, 
'the ark' throughout 1 Samuel 4-6

Sometimes these overlap. For example, the following quote is a comment from the narrator emphasizing something that God said,
Now the day before Saul came, the LORD had revealed this to Samuel: "About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him leader over my people Israel; he will deliver my people from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked upon my people, for their cry has reached me. (1 Samuel 9:15-16)

These other points need to be borne in mind;
  • not all of these indicators will appear in every chapter;
  • somtimes, there will not be any of these sort of indicators in a given chapter, 
  • one summary statement may cover quite a lot of narrative.  For example, 2 Samuel 5:10-12 is key to understanding the preceeding five chapters.
I hope they are as helpful for you as I expect they will be for me!

3 comments:

Raeline said...

Thanks Glen and Rachael.
"When I get new black ink" I will print this out and
keep it in my bible to help with understanding the
passages. It seems to make sense.
Love Mum Raeline

Hannah Blake said...

Hi Rachael,

This looks great. Perfect timing too- We're starting Jonah in youth group Bible studies in a few weeks and this will be great for my prep!!

Would it be ok with you and Glen if I shared this with the girls and maybe used it in the studies? I'd really like to show them how to read OT stories, not just have them answer questions.

Also, I will send you some 21st photos soon, it's been quite a saga trying to upload them!

Han xx

Rachael said...

Sure, Hannah, it's fine to print and use them.
Good to have you back!