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Dr Toyin Ogundipe.



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     "Every Scripture is inspired by GOD and useful for teaching,for reproof,for correction and for training in righteousness,that the person dedicated to GOD may be capable and equipped for every good work"(2 Timothy 3:16,17).

     Though most folk harbour no great love for the study of history itself,most people do love a good story. Every civilization has a rich repertoire of stories that explain(or claim to explain) the origins,values,relationships and structures of its culture.These stories,told over generations,are often teaching tools.

     History,secular or sacred,is not told in terms of statistics,programmatic statements,tables or figures. It often is told through stories.JESUS Himself was a storyteller, and HE told them with great power too (Matthew 7:28;13: 3).

     PART 1 : This lesson is all about stories but not always the common and well known ones with the " stars", such as Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah, Daniel in the lion's den, or David and Goliath. We will look,instead, at characters who did not make the headlines but who existed in the background,the ones easily overlooked and forgotten.

     Our focus this quarter will be on background characters in the Old Testament. Some are the good guys of the story,some are not. Though not much is written about them, enough is written that the careful reader can learn from thjese characters- which include women,power brokers,servants and royalty.

     In their stories, the challenges that confront these characters are not very different,in principle, from the challenges that we face today. However different their culture and background from ours,they,too,felt the pain of living in a sin-stained world, a world struggling amid the great controversy between good and evil. What makes this battle even more difficult is that it's not always  easy to discern just what is the good and what is the evil,for sometimes the line between them can appear blurry.

     Unfortunately,in our contemporary world,we are beginning to listen carefully: too much action on the screen, too many quick cuts in the video clip,too much noise from the radio. We miss so much. Through focusing on the shadow characters of the Old Testament, we will read Scripture afresh,looking beyond the obvious to discover the joy of learning new truths from GOD's word. 

     Finally, as we look over the shoulders of the biblical authors and at the supporting cast,it is good to remember the power of our own lives and examples. More than anything else,people in the twenty-first century want to see something work before they consider all the intricate ins and out of a particular cause. Our  neighbours,our friends and our family first want to see our personal story before they are ready to listen to our testimony and to biblical doctrines and beliefs.

     In this sense,our stories can become powerful tools in our witness to others about what GOD has done for us. As with these background figures, we can become part of the great story of salvation,even if we  might not be the main characters in the grander scheme ofb the cosmic drama that unfolds around us................(continued)


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Comment by Meenakshi Singh on February 12, 2012 at 7:53am


Comment by gary anderson on January 4, 2012 at 8:22am

     Characters are closely connected to the plot of the story.How we understand the character(s) depends to a large degree on the information given by the narrator,who may even be one of the characters. Let's take Huldah as an example;is she one of the main characters in the story? No,this story actually is about the discovery of the book of the Law during the reign of King Josiah.Though Huldah may not be a main character,every character in a story is vital to the development of the story.Does Huldah have children? How old is she? We don't know the answers to these questions.Biblical narrative tends to be very concise and often abbreviated.This means that we need to pay close attention to every piece of information we are given.Huldah was regarded as a reliable prophetess of the LORD.The biblical author gives us information about her husband's family,because women during Old Testament times were identified with their husband's families.Her address is also given.As in modern times,official documents always require  a name and an address to prove that a person is who he or she claims to be.

     What is your plot? What kind of character are you? If your story was written as a Bible narrative,how might it read in contrast to how it ought to read?.....................

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