The Role of Reported Speech in Enriching the Narrative in the Book of Ruth: "He Said, She Said," and "She Said, He Said"
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In the last 30 years or so, more and more scholars are taking a literary approach to Scripture. This has yielded fascinating discoveries with regard to the artistic quality of biblical narrative. Sadly, a disregard for the doctrine of verbal inspiration continues to taint the results of this scholarship. The purpose of this thesis is to address questions concerning the role of verbal inspiration in the interpretation of biblical narrative, and then to examine how a particular literary feature, referred to here as reported speech, is used by the inspired author of the book of Ruth in the development of the plot and characters in this beautiful example of biblical narrative. After surveying the views and findings of prominent authors in the area of biblical narrative, and reviewing the importance of the biblical doctrine of verbal inspiration, especially in relation to reported speech, six instances (Ruth 1:6; 2:7,11,13,21; 3:17) of this literary feature are identified. By looking closely at the grammar, content, characters, and plot considerations involved in these six instances, it is concluded that reported speech is a tool that the Holy Spirit uses in Ruth to keep readers engaged, deepen understanding of characters, and move the story forward efficiently.