We talk all the time about the importance of practical application as part of reading the Bible. That's because learning what the says doesn't grow us. Applying what we learn, within the context of our daily lives, is what causes us to grow.
But what do you do with the parts of the Bible that don't offer much in the way of practical application? There's a lot of stuff in the Old Testament, for instance, that seems more focused on recording specific people's interactions with God than presenting a universal principle that is applicable in any person's life at any point in history.
Besides the broad ideas of trust and perseverance, what should we make of the conquest of Jericho or the story of Joseph's captivity in Egypt?
To make the most of those stories, we may need to broaden our definition of "personal application" a bit.
Even the narrative parts of the Bible that don't seem grounded in principles can show us what it means to grow in our trust of God in the circumstances of our real lives. They give us a model for working through the complexity of living in relationship with our Creator.
Check out this video interview with New Testament scholar and retired Anglican bishop N.T. Wright. In it, he talks about reading the Bible as a story that we have the opportunity to participate in. He describes the Bible as "a story in search of ending," and says our job is to learn how the story works and improvise our role in it.
This is how we grow in our relationship with our heavenly Father.
How does Wright's perspective challenge your assumptions about the Bible?
What are you doing to discover your role in the story God is writing?