I do not know about you, but one of the scariest things for me is to sit through a Sunday school class where an Old Testament narrative is being studied. It is not because I do not esteem biblical narrative as I do the rest of the Scriptures or that I do not believe that its lessons are any less applicable to Christians today, but it is because there seem to be few teachers who understand how to read and how to teach biblical narrative. For instead of reading the text and searching for the intent of a particular author, many who teach biblical narrative treat them as nice little stories about a particular aspect of morality and apply Western moral concepts to its application.
For this reason, we have erected unbiblical conclusions and teachings about biblical stories and characters. Thus we teach that Abraham wavered in faith when he took Hagar as his wife and through her bore a son, though Moses does not make that judgment of him, and though Paul writes later of Abraham, “No distrust made him waver concerning the Promise of God, but he grew strong in faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised” (Rm. 4:20,21), and though Paul teaches that the birth of Ishmael happened to demonstrate God’s sovereign choice in election (cf. Rm. 9:7-13). From the misinterpretation of biblical narrative we also have created other false teachings as “listening to small, still voice of God” from the narrative of Elijah in the storm (cf. 1Kngs. 19:12), and have falsely judged other characters such as Rahab and the Hebrew midwives who, out of fear of God, told untruths to save the lives of God’s people, who were then not condemned but commended by God for their actions (cf. Josh. 2; Ex. 1:15-22).