Rescue story or owner’s manual

By Dave Henning / March 31, 2024

“To read the Bible as an owner’s manual is as silly and uneventful as reading Cinderella as a formula for handling tough times. . . .  Begin to envision the Bible from Jesus’ eyes — a mystical, high drama, romantic rescue story where readers are shocked by grace and weep at the fulfillment of humanity’s deepest longing for perfect love.”- Alan Wright

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame, and is seated at the right hand of God.”- Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

Alan Wright continues Chapter 12 of Seeing as Jesus Sees as he asserts that we don’t just love stories.  In addition, we learn from stories.

As Frederick Buechner once observed, Jesus never sounded like Thomas Aquinas or John Calvin.  Instead, we hear Jesus teaching in the Gospels that once upon a time, somebody:

  • went out to plant some seeds.
  • stubbed a toe on a great treasure.
  • lost a precious coin.

Most significantly, in his gospel Matthew adds that Jesus said nothing to His disciples without a parable.  Without a story.  Consequently, Pastor Wright stresses, one cheapens and vandalizes a story’s beauty when one turns that lovely story into a moral lesson.

And the same thing happens if we treat the Bible as an instruction book or a set of principles.  Because in the process we rob the Word of God of its enamoring, transformational goodness.

In conclusion, as Jesus explained the real meaning of the Bible, the Emmaus disciples’ hearts burned with joy, faith, and hope.  They saw the Scriptures as about Jesus, not themselves.

Hence, as Eugene Peterson wrote in Eat This Book:

“Sometimes we are told that the Bible is a library, made up of many books of writing, poems and hymns, sermons and letters, visions and dreams, genealogical lists and historical chronicles, moral teaching and admonition and proverbs.  And, of course, story.  But that is not so.  It is all story.”

Today’s question: Do you see the Bible as a rescue story or owner’s manual?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Facing your giants – Goliath”

About the author

Dave Henning

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