Rightly Dividing the Old Testament
by Don Treadway, February 2000
1. What are they? Stories.
2. There are three levels.
A. the top level. - redemption story
1) Universal plan- creation, fall,
sin, redemption, incarnation
B. The middle level. - Israel
1) call of Abraham, Egypt, Canaan,
Sin, Judges, captivities, restoration
C. The lower level. - individual narratives that make up the
A. John 5:27-29 not every short narrative
B. Gen. 37-50 many short narratives
C. We must see each narrative within the larger picture
4. What narratives are not.
A. they are not just stories about people, they about what
God did to and through these
people. God is always the hero.
B. They are not allegories filled with mysteries. We are not
always told how or why.
C. They do not always teach directly. They give us a hands on
look at God work in the
world. They are our spiritual history. II Sam 11 Bathsheba -
D. Each lower level narrative does not always have a moral
all it's own.
PRINCIPLES FOR INTERPRETING NARRATIVES
1. An Old Testament narrative usually does not directly teach a doctrine.
2. An Old Testament narrative usually illustrates a doctrine.
3. Narratives record what happen not necessarily what should happened or what
ought not have
4. What people did or did not do is not always a good example for us.
5. Most characters in the narratives are far from perfect.
6. We are not always told whether what we read is good or bad
7. All narratives are selective and incomplete.
8. Narratives may teach implicitly or explicitly.
Genesis chapter 37,
1. Who is the main character? God Gen.
2. Why does he succeed? 50:19-20
3. What did he do that we should do to receive a blessing? What moral is there
for us to get
from this narrative? Nothing God can accomplishes what He wills even with a
character like Joseph
1. Ruth converted to Judaism 1:16-17
2. Boaz righteous man 2:3-13,
3. David 4:17-21
4. Bethlehem 2:4,
5. Lord 1:6;
3. False combinations - Psa 23
4. Redefinition - Luke
5. Moralizing what can we learn about handling adversity.