The Stories We Tell
2 Timothy 3:10
You must remain faithful to the things you have been taught (v.14).
I’m often disappointed with kids’ Bible story books.
They usually paint a sugary picture that presents the
Bible as a very safe and manageable book. Often,
you get a collection of pithy moralisms that you could get
just as well (better, perhaps) from Aesop’s Fables. With
this posture, the Bible’s truths have lost their scandal; they
don’t require a cross or resurrection or God’s kingdom.
In fact, they don’t require God at all. God is on the
periphery. The feeding of the 5,000 is about a boy who
shares. Israel crossing over the Red Sea is about a neat
leader (Moses) with a cool stick that parts water. The
great parable offering God as the good Father flooding
the world with generosity becomes a tale about how
we’re supposed to obey our parents.
Our problem is that we’ve learned to read the Bible
as a story where we’re the central characters, and so
we teach our kids to read the Bible as though they’re the
central characters. But this is all wrong: God is in the
In Paul’s letter to young Timothy, he reminded his
protégé to remain true to the spiritual training he had
received “from the holy Scriptures [since] childhood”
(2 Timothy 2:15). This teaching was centered on
“salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus” and truths
that are not human but are “inspired by God” (vv.15-16).
In other words, Timothy’s mother and grandmother told him what was most
essential: They told him about God. It’s easy to forget that Scripture is about
Him. The Bible tells us God’s story first—and we find our truest meaning only
when we find our story in God’s story.
The stories we tell our children and ourselves really do matter. Let’s tell God’s
Read 2 Timothy 2:1.
What are the competing story lines that Timothy encounters? Who are the
Where are you most tempted to make yourself the central character in
God’s story? Why is it vital for us to recognize that God’s Word is all
about Him—not us?