Webster’s New World Dictionary and Thesaurus defines a ‘story’ as the telling of a happening or connected series of happenings, whether true or fictitious; account; narration. I have noticed that when people are referring to an account in the Bible they normally use the word ‘story‘ … “the Creation story“, “the story of Adam and Eve”, “the story of Noah’s ark”, “the story of Jesus”, etc. If used in the context of these stories being true historical accounts, then the word is being used properly.
However, how is the word ‘story‘ perceived by the listener, especially children? Children spend hours watching fictional stories on television or movies, they are immersed with fantasy stories and games on their computers or game boxes, and are read fairy tales from storybooks. Our children are living in a world of fables, tales, myths, fairy tales, fiction, allegories, and fantasy … fictional stories. They are living in a world that promotes the evolutionary viewpoint of the Bible being a myth.
The Bible is the Word of God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (II Timothy 3:16). When speaking of anything from the Bible, I have begun to try to use the words ‘true story’, ‘account’ or ‘historical event’. With children, I try to explain that these are things that actually happened, not made up, not fictional fairy tales. Shouldn’t we be aware of how children hear and believe words? Do we want to misuse a word and make them stumble? Hmmm … I know what I need to do … try to build up the Word of God, not minimize its truth.
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)