Over 40% of the OT is in the form of narrative. In common with all narratives, OT narrative has characters and plots. The most important character is God himself. The plot may be read at three different levels.
1. The Top Level. This is the whole universal plan of God for his creation. Key aspects of this are the creation itself, the fall, the issue of sin, the need for redemption, and the work of Christ.
2. The Middle Level. This focuses on Israel: the call of Abraham, the repeated covenant promises to the patriarchs, the enslavement in Egypt, the Exodus, the conquest of the promised land, the relationship between Israel and Jehovah, the division and exile, and the restoration.
3. The Bottom Level. Here are the individual narratives involving Joseph, Gideon, David, and all the others.
It is essential to remember that each individual narrative forms a part of the story of Israel, and that the story of Israel forms a part of God’s universal plan for humankind. It is also to be kept in mind that the OT narratives generally feed into and are taken up by the NT.
OT narratives are not just stories about people who lived in OT times: they are predominantly stories about God; God is the hero. Neither are they allegories, or stories filled with hidden meanings. Nor does each story stand on its own as a complete account of God’s message to us (any more than a parable does so); they are therefore to be interpreted by the more didactic parts of Scripture.