The Beautiful Simplicity of Biblical Narrative

An excerpt from Jonathan Edwards' Miscellanies #6 (paragraphing added):

There is a strange and unaccountable kind of enchantment, if I may so speak, in Scripture history; which, notwithstanding it is destitute of all rhetorical ornaments, makes it vastly more pleasant, agreeable, easy and natural, than any other history whatever. It shines brighter with the amiable simplicity of truth. There is something in the relation that at the same time very much pleases and engages the reader, and evidences the truth of the fact.

[...]

Notwithstanding the minute circumstances that are mentioned, which other historians leave over, it leads along one's ideas so naturally and easily, they don't seem to go too fast nor too slow. One seems to know exactly how it is from the relation, as if they saw it.

The mind is so led that sometimes we seem to have a full, large, and particular history of a long time; so that if one should shut the book immediately, without taking particular notice, one would not suppose the story had been told in half so little room, but two or three negligent words and yet a long train of ideas.

The story is so told that one's mind, although the things are not mentioned, yet naturally traces the whole transaction. And although it be thus cunningly contrived, yet things are told in such a simple, plain manner that the least child can understand it.

Tyler Kenney (@tylerkenney) is a former content strategist at Desiring God. He and his wife, Kristen, live in the Twin Cities.