Sue Sweeney - July 26, 2020

How to Read History

How the Bible Works

Biblical history doesn't hold up to our modern standards for history. So how can we trust history in the Bible? And more importantly, how can these stories of ancient peoples and events help us know God better today?

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This sermon written and delivered by Sue Sweeney

I’m a former high school social studies teacher. I recently accepted a new position as a social studies curriculum specialist for junior highs and high schools in the school district where I work. I love studying history.

So, let me start with this. If I were to ask you what the goal of studying history, what would you say?

I think my fascination for studying history started when I was in high school, one of my history teachers gave us an assignment. We had to choose and interview three people about an event in history that they witnessed first-hand. 

One of the people I interviewed was my Grandpa Earl and we talked about his experience in WWII in the Army. Here is a picture of him when he was stationed in France in 1945.

 He helped drive refrigerated trucks to deliver supplies to soldiers. He told me about how tough it was trying to drive these big, giant trucks through the very narrow streets of these towns in France that were probably a thousand years old, at least- streets that were built for foot traffic and horses, not giant transport vehicles. One time, they took a corner too tightly in one of the refrigerated trucks and knocked a balcony right off of the building. 

I love this story because it helps me see WWII from my grandpa’s point of view. I was able to really see what it might have been like. It helped me see things from his perspective. 

This morning, we’re going to talk about history and perspective as it relates to the history books of the Bible. There are several books in the Old Testament known as the “historical books” because they cover approximately 1,000 years in the history of the nation of Israel and their experience with God. Although, it’s not a history in the sense that these books are a comprehensive document of all the notable people, places, and events that occurred during this time period. In fact, it’s not even what one might consider the “highlights.”

But they reveal to us God’s love and infinite patience for God’s people and the rest of the world. They’re history books because they tell the story of the past- but it’s the story of the past filtered through the present time of the writers. 

A historical approach to the study of ancient Israel can actually be a personal, transformative spiritual experience. 

Join us Sunday as we learn how the Bible’s histories help us to know the God who is active in our present!

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