More Than a Story

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

“The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him.” Acts 7:9 NASB

Joseph’s life was filled with drama. Loved by his father, he irritated his brothers, who sold him into slavery. After serving his Egyptian master faithfully, he was falsely accused and imprisoned.

While jailed, he became an effective leader, and then rose to prominence in Egypt. As a result of this miraculous promotion, his family escaped drought after moving to this new land.

This story inspired one of the great literary masterpieces of the twentieth century, the four-volume set Joseph and His Brothers, written by Thomas Mann. Born in June 1875 in Lübeck, Germany, Mann gained fame for his novels and short stories, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929. But, because he opposed the Nazis, he was forced to leave his homeland, relocating in the US.
Mann found particular inspiration in Joseph’s story, preoccupying him for the sixteen years it took to write his masterpiece. “Horrified at the briefness” of the Bible’s account, Mann developed an expanded, speculative perspective on Joseph’s life, including an eighty-page version of the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, filled with imagined drama and dialogue.

Those willing to read Mann’s four volumes may find insights and great literature. But the Bible provides much more. Yes, we can read the account of Joseph as a story. A drama. Many, in fact, see this as just a “myth,” filled with emotion, conflict, tragedy, and triumph.

But Believers have the opportunity to go much deeper. To read with spiritual eyes. To know that, more than just a heroic figure, Joseph was an example of faith (Hebrews 11:22). How he was “tested” in Egypt and that his life was part of the unfolding of God’s plan (Psalm 105:17-22).

When you read the Bible, remember to know that it is true! Prayerfully seek God’s wisdom and understanding. Don’t stay on the surface, but dig deep.


Prayer: Father, open my eyes that You might reveal deeper truths about Your Word. Give me understanding and wisdom. Thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.