“This is The Story” by Christopher J.H. Wright

“When we grasp that the whole Bible constitutes the coherent revelation of the mission of God, when we see this as the key that unlocks the driving purposefulness of the whole grand narrative, then we find our whole world view impacted by this vision. As has been well documented, every human worldview is an outworking of some narrative. We live out of the story or stories we believe to be true, the story of stories that ‘tell it like it is,’ we think.

So what does it mean to live out of this story? Here is The Story, the grand universal narrative that stretches from creation to new creation, and accounts for everything in between. This is The Story that tells us where we have come from, how we got to be here, who we are, why the world is in the mess it is, how it can be (and has been) changed, and where we are ultimately going.

And the whole story is predicated on the reality of this God and the mission of this God. He is the originator of the story, the teller of the story, the prime actor in the story, the planner and guide of the story’s plot, the meaning of the story and its ultimate completion. He is its beginning, end and center. It is the story of the mission of God, of this God and no other.”

–Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 533.

“Tell someone a story” by N.T. Wright

“Tell someone to do something, and you change their life–for a day; tell someone a story and you change their life.”

–N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1992), 40.

“Jesus was the master creator of story” by Klyne Snodgrass

“Jesus’ parables are among the best known and most influential stories in the world. Even if people know nothing of Jesus, they either know about his stories or have encountered their impact in expressions like ‘prodigal’ or ‘good Samaritan.’ The importance of the parables of Jesus can hardly be overestimated. At no point are the vitality, relevance, and usefulness of the teaching of Jesus so clear as in his parables.

Jesus was the master creator of story, and nothing is so attractive or so compelling as a good story. Children (and adults) do not say, ‘Tell me some facts’; they want a story. Stories are inherently interesting. Discourse we tolerate; to story we attend. Story entertains, informs, involves, motivates, authenticates, and mirrors existence. By creating a narrative world, stories establish an unreal, controlled universe. The author abducts us and– almost god-like– tells us what reality exists in this narrative world, what happens, and why.

Stories are one of the few places that allow us to see reality, at least the reality the author creates. There, to a degree we cannot do in real life, we can discern motives, keep score, know who won, and what success and failure look like. Life on the outside virtually stops; we are taken up in the story. The storyteller is in control so that we are forced to see from new angles and so that the message cannot be easily evaded.

Hearers become willing accomplices, even if the message is hostile. From this ‘other world’ we are invited to understand, evaluate, and, hopefully, redirect our lives. We learn most easily in the abstract. In teaching and preaching the shortcut is to repeat the abstract idea we already know, forgetting that others still need to learn in the concrete. We would do better, at least frequently, to clothe the abstract in concrete experience and story, just as Jesus did.”

–Klyne Snodgrass, Stories With Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 1-2.