The Narrative

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2nd Timothy 3:16.

For years, I have noticed a relationship between the interest level in a bible book and how much of that book is narrative. In other words, it is a lot more interesting to read the story of Joseph and his brethren in Genesis 39-45 than it is to read Numbers 15 wherein the law of offerings is clarified as to how drink offerings are to be given and clarifications are given about the heave offering.

What I have noticed is that the more boring a passage is to read, the more fascinating it is to study. The more fascinating a passage is to read, the less fascinating it is to study. I have spent time trying to study the tale of Joseph and his brethren, but I don't find a lot of doctrine in there. I find history and I find a lot of good typology. Yet, when I study the sacrifices in Leviticus, Exodus or Numbers, I am caught up in the wonder of God.

To this day, I have never laid on my floor worshipping God in the beauty of holiness because of a particularly interesting portion of narrative scripture. I have however laid speechless on my kitchen floor as I unwrapped the hidden things of God in the sacrifices, and as God revealed himself to me therein. There is much doctrine to be garnered from the boring dictations of law and chronology.

Too often though the importance of the narrative is overlooked. A typical example of this is the narrative in Luke 2:33 where in recounting the narrative of Joseph and Mary in the temple, the word of God says; And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him, Luke 2:33. The NIV says, The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.

We are not having doctrine dictated to us here as in the case of the Sermon on the Mount, or the giving of the law. Nevertheless, a gaffe has been made. If a statement like that in the NIV was used in a court trying to resolve the paternity of a child, an opposing attorney would jump all over that. "Sir, you just called yourself the child's father". We would get angry at such an attorney, because we would understand the human element in a man who has cared for a child and calling himself the father. The man who made the gaffe would chafe a bit, but he would then be far more careful in how he spoke.

Is God that careless? No, he is not. Regardless of who held the pen on the day that a narrative passage of scripture was written, a narrative in scripture is a finely crafted piece authored by the Holy Ghost and it can be turned inside out in a court of law, or minutely dissected by a reader of the bible and found to be in perfect harmony with all of scripture. There is simply no power in heaven, hell, or on earth by which the Holy Ghost could be compelled to call Joseph the father of Jesus Christ.

The narrative of scripture can record a lie or a misunderstanding of men. In 2nd Samuel 1:10, the Amalekite tells a lie, So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen. The Amalekite had done no such thing. We are told in the previous chapter; Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it, 1st Samuel 31:4.

It seems hard to believe but I have heard a preacher stumble at the discrepancy between the two versions of events. When he read the Holy Ghost's version of events, and when he read the Amalekite's version, he wasn't sure which one was right. In that the man in question had no qualms about correcting a King James Bible, it is not overly surprising that he would not recognize the voice of God as compared to a man's voice.

In my early naive days when I was first coming to grips with the reality of the King James Bible's perfection, I would show Luke 2:33 to my friends still using the other scriptures. They quickly learned to point to John 1:45 wherein Philip called Jesus the son of Joseph. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Are any of my readers so foolish? Can they not see the difference in the narrative quoting a man who is mistaken as to the parentage of Jesus Christ, and the narrative of the Holy Ghost who cannot err and who cannot lie?. If I quote a liar in court while under oath, and I make it clear that this is what I heard the man say, I have told the truth even though I have repeated a lie. The court can now judge the man who lied based upon my testimony. Philip doesn't look real good in John 1:45. In the NIV's version of Luke 2:33, the Holy Ghost doesn't look real good.

Part of the skill in understanding the bible is to understand that every word in a King James Bible is exactly what God wants man to know. As long as a passage is read in context, and every word is read as written, and care is taken to understand to whom a passage is directed, it is impossible for any passage to misdirect its reader in a King James Bible. No other English Bible can say that.

86 views2 comments

© 2017 by Pure Cambridge Text was Proudly created with Wix.com