Lesson 2

The topic of this lesson is the dynamics of narrative, or how stories work.  Every story consists of three ingredients—setting, character, and plot.  A good story is a harmonious blend of these, and good reading and analysis of a story takes all three into account.

We should note in passing that the words story and narrative are interchangeable.  Additionally, the qualities of a story are the same regardless of whether the events are historically factual or fictional.  Except for the parables of Jesus and the imaginary events recounted in the visionary literature of the Bible, the stories of the Bible are historically true.  But these stories of actual events are as filled with narrative technique as fictional stories are.

Although the religious and moral vision of the Bible is unique, the techniques used to express that vision are exactly the same ones that we find in stories generally.  It is not the narrative forms of the Bible that set it off from other stories, but the views of God and life that they embody.  Because storytelling is universal, bringing to bear on the stories of the Bible what you know about stories generally will be a great advantage to you.