Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Characteristic of Narratives - Hermeneutics

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Scripture contains different types of writings. For example, some parts of Scripture are poetic (such as in the book of Psalms). Other parts of the Bible are narratives (such as the account of the ten plagues poured out on Egypt). A narrative describes an event (or a series of events), but does not always comment as to whether the event described was moral or immoral. In short, a narrative does not always condemn the sin that it describes.

A good example of this point can be found in 1 Kings:
Now Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; and he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. (1 Kings 10:26) 
To fully grasp this point, it may be helpful to read this verse in its full context. Solomon was growing in power and in wealth, but nowhere in this verse (or in the surrounding passage) does it state that Solomon was in disobedience. Scripture simply states that Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen. It is the reader's responsibility to recognize that Solomon was in disobedience. For concerning kings, Deuteronomy states:

"Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.' "He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. (Deuteronomy 17:16-17)

From this example, the following can be concluded: When a narrative does not specifically condemn an action, this does not prove that the action is morally acceptable to God.

Related Posts:
What Does the Bible Say About Polygamy? (Part 1) - Genesis 4:19
How To Read The Bible
Motivation For Meditation (How To Read The Bible Part 2)
Psalm 1:2 - Delight in the LORD's Instruction

1 comment:

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