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Human beings have always been trying to cognize the Universe and determine their roles in it. This desire could be considered one of the main distinctive features of our race. Since the first stages of evolution, we had been creating different tools to broaden knowledge by investigating the world and finding logical answers to numerous questions. However, along with the desire to understand the way mechanisms of the Universe work, people also possess the quenchless belief in the reality of miracles.
It could be explained by the fact that despite all efforts, there are still many mysteries that could not be explained by science or other approaches. In such a case people create a myth or miracle story which describes a unique phenomenon that has an overwhelming impact on individuals mentality. The great importance of these stories could b evidenced by the fact that the Bible, one of the most ancient and influential books that try to describe our origin, also includes several tales belonging to this very genre.
The influence of the Bible on people
Besides, when speaking about the Bible, its great role in the formation of people’s mentality should be mentioned. It is considered one of the most influential books in the history of humanity. Besides, its origins and purpose are unique. It was created as peoples attempt to cognize the dark, unfriendly, mysterious, and complex world that surrounded them1. Being not able to determine the purpose of their lives, the nature of death and existence, individuals created their religion which served as a landmark for those who wanted to obtain a certain aim and feel himself/herself a part of something greater2. In this regard, the majority of biblical texts are devoted to the description of this world through the prism of religion3.
It presents a unique perspective on creation and the origin of things which could be used by people to understand the world. Besides, the majority of genres that could be found in the book are introduced with the purpose to explain the divine origin of miracles and other unique phenomena as well as to assure people that faith is a great miracle itself.
For this reason, the Bible became the unique collection of ancient texts that contributed to the appearance of a certain mentality peculiar to Christians. One should assume the fact that the book formed the modern world as it shaped peoples mentalities and introduced certain behavioral patterns. Besides, this impact was exercised through stories and narrations that belonged to different genres.
The diversity of genres included in the Bible contributes to its better understanding and acceptance. The given approach results in the fact that the Bible and biblical plots could be found in any aspect of modern society. In this regard, we could say that the literature of the Bible plays a unique role in the formation of Christianitys appearance and its evolution. The understanding of its impact becomes very important in terms of modern society.
Traditionally, theologians distinguish a variety of genres that could be found in the Bible These are psalms, letters, poetry, parables, miracle stories, etc. The kinds of literature are included because of their unique power and their ability to impact readers. If to analyze the choice of the form of narration, we could see that only those which could meet certain requirements are chosen. For instance, the Bible consists of numerous stories that aim at teaching a person and showing him/her the right way to act in different situations. For this reason, the genre that is the most appropriate one is chosen. Furthermore, it has already been stated that the Bible also rests on the fact that miracles could happen in case people believe in God.
In this regard, miracle stories could be defined as another unique genre that is included in biblical texts. In general, these stories describe an event that contradicts the existing laws of nature and could not be explained by logic, science, or some other approach.
The most important thing in these stories is faith. Only in case, a persons faith is strong, he/she will be able to face this experience. Moreover, the Bible contains numerous stories of this sort that are devoted to God, his actions, and other unique phenomena that come from faith. The importance of these miracle stories could hardly be overestimated. Describing an unusual event, they might inspire people, strengthen his/her belief, and help in difficult situations. For this reason, miracle stories are one of the most popular and beloved among other ones.
From the historical perspective, the popularity of this very genre can be explained by the fact that Christianity as a religion arose in dark times when life was extremely dangerous, complicated, and depressing. People needed some landmarks which could show them that miracles were possible and they all could experience them. Moreover, living in extreme poverty and hardships, individuals wanted to know that a better life would wait for them.
The only thing they had to do was to believe and hope. For this reason, miracle stories, as the symbol of peoples hope and faith appeared4. The majority of these stories revolve around a simple plot or issue. However, they describe mysterious events that altered peoples lives and helped them to cope with difficult situations. That is why they became so important.
For instance, feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish is a perfect example of a miracle story. Having arrived at a town where people suffered from hunger, Jesus was able to feed them with these products. He looked up to heaven, gave thanks, and broke these loaves, giving pieces to his disciples that were waiting for it5. One perfectly realizes the fact that it contradicted the laws of nature; however, it was a miracle performed by Jesus because of his divine nature. Moreover, it was possible because people believed in his ability to feed them and accepted Jesus gift. The given motif could be considered archetypical for the majority of miracle stories included in the Bible as they revolve around things or events that could not be explained from the traditional perspective6.
Jesus walking on water is another miracle story that could be found in the Bible. It could be considered one of the most well-known ones as it presents the unique power of faith. Jesus was walking on the lake, and people were scared by it Trying to calm them down he asked Peter to come to him. Peter was also able to walk on water but shortly he started to sink because of his lack of faith7. The given story shows people the unique power of their beliefs and religion. It makes individuals think that if they believe, their power is stronger and they can perform miracles by themselves. The miracle story could be considered one of the most powerful ones as it affects people who suffer from the same problem Peter faced.
Nevertheless, these two miracle stories are not the only representatives of the given genre that could be found in the Bible. Many other ones describe unique events and actions and inspire people. Analyzing these two different plots, we could state that they have some common similarities. First of all, miracles happened to those who believed. Moreover, they were performed by Jesus whose faith was doubtless8. For this very reason, they could be taken as the most important impact tools that make people read the Bible and follow the main patterns outlined and appreciated there as only in this way they could evidence a real miracle.
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Altogether, we could state that being one of the most influential books, the Bible contains numerous literary genres and miracle stories are one of them. These describe unusual and mysterious events and actions that happen to someone whose faith is strong. For this reason, this genre is very popular with people as it helps them to face hardships and difficulties and look forward, hoping for a better future. The overwhelming impact of these stories is obvious. They are clear to everyone who starts to read the Bible and wants to acquire a certain landmark and behavioral pattern that should be followed to become better.
DePaola, Tomie. The Miracles of Jesus. London: Puffin Books, 2008.
Elwell, Walter. Topical Analysis of the Bible: A Survey of Essential Christian Doctrines: Keyed to the New International Version. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Pub, 2012.
Frye, Northrop. The Great Code: The Bible and Literature. Boston, MA: Mariner Books, 2002.
Gabel, John, Wheeler, Charles, York, Anthony, Citino, David, and Nicola Denzey. The Bible As Literature: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.
Twelftree, Graham. “The Miraculous in the New Testament: Current Research and Issues.” Currents in Biblical Research 12, no. 3 (2014): 321-352. Web.
- Frye, Northrop. The Great Code: The Bible and Literature (Boston, MA: Mariner Books, 2002) 77.
- Graham Twelftree, “The Miraculous in the New Testament: Current Research and Issues,” Currents in Biblical Research 12, no. 3 (2014): 321-352. Web.
- Ibid., 345.
- John Gabel et al., The Bible As Literature: An Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005) 78.
- The Holy Bible, New International Version (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 136.
- Walter Elwell, Topical Analysis of the Bible: A Survey of Essential Christian Doctrines: Keyed to the New International Version. Peabody (MA: Hendrickson Pub, 2012), 101.
- The Holy Bible, New International Version (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 254.
- Tomie DePaola, The Miracles of Jesus (London: Puffin Books, 2008), 54.