I love a good story. Books, movies, and television shows earn my admiration based on plot rather than gimmicks and giggles. My favorites are so because the writer has the gift of story telling.
Although I rarely attended church as a child, I have vivid memories of attending Easter sunrise services with my grandmother. The story of the resurrection captured me, but I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. When I attended Vacation Bible School with my cousins, the teachers made the stories of Jesus, Zacchaeus, and young David come alive. Still, I didn't know how those stories applied to me.
Perhaps that's why when I started going to church as a young adult, I was easily swayed by teaching that put me in the center of God's Word. I was more concerned with what the Bible said about me and my life than what it teaches about God. I looked to the Bible as my ticket to Heaven, not as the revelation of the God of the Universe.
Thankfully, the Lord opened my eyes to see that His Word is not just a compilation of moral stories. It is not a list of do's and don'ts, or a set of promises for a better life. The Bible is the story of how a loving, holy God saves a fallen but chosen people.
I'm blessed with a pastor who knows - and teaches - that Scripture should be read as a whole. If not, we miss important and precious truths. For example, Exodus 9 tells the story of the hailstorm that was the seventh plague to befall Egypt. It's a powerful story and we may be tempted to stop there and be content with what those verses teach about God. But if we did, we'd never realize that Psalm 78 was a song written about Israel's deliverance from Egypt and that verses 47 - 48 are specifically referencing Exodus 9. We wouldn't recognize that when Paul wrote Romans 9:16-18, he was quoting Exodus 9:16. We wouldn't know that the hailstorm all the way back in Exodus was a preview of the hailstorm in Revelation 16:17-21.
The Bible is filled with wonderful stories of God's power and glory. We may read them separately and learn a great deal, but it is when we read them together that we get a full view of the majesty and sovereignty of God. It is then that we have a true appreciation for the greatest story ever told and the Storyteller behind it.
For further reading:
~The Promised One (A 10-week Bible Study): Seeing Jesus in Genesis (Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament) or any of the other studies in this series
~Discovering God in Stories from the Bible