What Is Sound Doctrine concerning the Doctrinal Importance of Narratives in Scripture?

In a recent thread, the following comments were made:  

Yes, it's God doing this, but we need to keep in mind that Deuteronomy 34:6 is not law, but rather narrative, and trying to derive doctrine from narrative is extremely dangerous business. 

Again, narrative passages tell us what happened, but not always the why.  That's why it's extremely dangerous to try to derive doctrine from narrative passages. 

The passages used by Rajesh to justify his position are narrative, description and not prescription, and hence it's (again) extremely dangerous business to try and draw doctrine from these narratives.

This is one view concerning what is sound doctrine concerning the doctrinal importance of narratives in Scripture. When someone makes an assertion that something is so, they are responsible for proving that what they assert is so.

The maker of these comments, however, has provided no support for his position beyond mere assertion. Mere assertion is not proof.

What is sound doctrine concerning the doctrinal importance of narratives in Scripture? Who decides what is the correct view and what is not?

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RajeshG's picture

Numbers 12:9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed. 10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. 11 And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. 12 Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb. 13 And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. 14 And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again. 15 And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.

This historical narrative passage written by Moses under divine inspiration records God's fierce judgment against Miriam. Strikingly, several decades later, the Spirit directed Moses to issue a prescriptive statement based on this narrative account:

Deuteronomy 24:8 Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do. 9 Remember what the LORD thy God did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt.

This instance of issuing a prescriptive statement from a narrative account of divine judgment is significant in several ways:

1. All the previous examples that I have provided were from the NT. This example is from the OT; it was not just the NT authors who issued prescriptive statements of this kind.

2. It shows the doctrinal and prescriptive importance of instances of divine judgment in narrative passages.

3. It shows that what Jesus did when He issued His prescriptive statement about remembering Lot's wife (treated earlier in this thread) was not something unprecedented in that God had previously directed another prophet to do something similar with a previous narrative account of divine judgment of another person.

The examples of Moses and Jesus teach us that we must profit fully from the doctrinal and prescriptive importance of narrative accounts of divine actions, especially divine judgment!

RajeshG's picture

Romans 3:8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

Through this statement, we get an apostolic perspective about slander--when person A affirms that person B says something, believes something, holds to a particular position, etc. when that affirmation is not true and person B has not said any such thing, does not believe it, and does not hold that position.

When such misrepresentation is intentional and especially when it is repeated after person B has made it clear that he does not hold to that position, it is biblical to hold that such statements are highly unethical and corrupt communication.

Such statements should not be tolerated at all on SI or in any Christian setting.

RajeshG's picture

No one can correctly say that the "main point" or "big idea" of Stephen's sermon in defense of himself as it is recorded in Acts 7 is to teach us doctrinally about the Golden Calf Incident. Nonetheless, Acts 7:39-41 provides divine revelation that decisively interprets for us the nature of what took place in the Golden Calf Incident.

Paying very close attention to how the historical narrative passage in Acts 7 uses information from the historical narrative passage in Exodus 32 provides us thus with vital doctrinal information!