It is sometimes said that bible is just a collection of novels. So some people don't find any use in such. But of course it is simplistic to say that bible is just a collection of stories. It is an important historical document. We can definitely learn some middle east history by reading the bible. We can learn that there was Assyrian Empire, Pilate, Herod, that Philistines came from caphtor, etc. On the other hand we have no reason to believe that there was once an old man who build an ark for mamoths, dynausers, elephants and the like. So it is good to have some criteria for telling obvious stories from facts, but without a question begging prejudice against possibility of miracles and divine interventions.
In mainstream history, they tend to trust archaeological evidence. So they say that we can tell a truth from a fiction if it is accompanied by archaeological evidence. But this is severely limited. What can rubbles and bones realy tell us that remortly march what texts can do? Archaeology fails to make use of what writing was meant to be used for.
When some people say, about what many people have come to believe, that 'this was not meant to be taken as real history', they insinuate that there is no difference between a story and a narration of an actual event. In reality there is a difference. In stories, the main aim of a story teller is to entertain and not to inform about some past events. But while how entertaining a story is do also depend on individuals, there are naratives that are generally boring to everyone. Nobody can accept that a one hour read of a list of companies in a country can be a 'story' meant to entertain some type of people! Story telling is just like music.While different people do enjoy different music, there is nevertheless a clear difference between music and noise. So there is a basic structure that all music fits into, or otherwise they become noises that cannot entertain anyone.
One characteristic of story is exclusion of details. If a story teller is saying that Paul went from town A to town B, he, of course will not include everything that happened on the way. He will not include boring encounters. So what is a 'boring encounter'? The 'boring one' is the one that does not contribute to the main theme of the story. If the teller says 'Paul saw a dog', there has to be a reason why he saw a dog and not say a cat. The readers will latter learn about it. So such mensions of details are only as good as 'creating suspense'. Otherwise they are 'boring'. So if there are such details that are latter 'explained', the narrative is likely to be a story. But this does not mean that the absence of such details means the the narative was not a story. The narrative is not a story only if 'the reason an event happened' is never explained latter. If we see no reason latter as to why 'he saw a dog' earlier, then perhaps the narrator is simply stating a fact that he himself doesn't know why it happened. The narrator of events that simply happened does not exhibit some 'omniscience'. If the narrator seems 'omniscient', it can only be because the 'history' he is writing about is his own invention and thus 'knows everything about it'.
In the bible there are many narratives that reads like stories, in the sense like I said above. But there are also many narratives that don't read like stories, even in the same book! When the 'judges' narrator says 'Samson killed a lion', then latter he comes and 'find honey on it' and latter he uses the honey to trap Philistines, it reads like a story. Every details mentioned have a more far reaching implications that are explained latter in the naration. Similarly, David is a shepherd, we are told. Latter, he kills Goliath, and we now learn that he got such courage by killing lions while protecting the sheep. Every detail seem to have a role in latter part of the story. When we are told that 'David married Saul's daughter', we latter learn the reason: The wife would report the farther's plans to assassinate him. We see a reason why Jonathan died alongside soul: to ensure that David had no rival in claiming the Kingdom! We see a reason why Joseph was sold by his brothers etc.
But some other parts don't read like stories. We don't see a reason why we are told this was the father of that etc. We don't see a reason why the ark of covenant is coated with gold. We don't see a reason why Baruch was Jeremiah's Secretary. We dont see a reason why Jonathan and David were friends. We don't see a reason (within the story) why King Josiah opted to fight Pharaoh Nico. You can go on to read the bible having this in mind. Find out what reason is there for a mension of some details and then try to see if you will find some answer elsewhere in the story. Also, a narrative meant for propaganda ( some parts of the bible possibly are), there seems to be a 'reason for everything' mentioned in the narrative, either in the story or outside the story.
So in conclusion, we reason that if an author mensions some details with no reason as to why he mentions it, neither in the story nor outside the story, it is likely that the narrator is saying it only because it happened. The narrator doesn't know why it happened. The narrator is not trying to explain anything. The narrator has no other agenda. The narrator is writing about something simply because that is what happened. The bible history is not always narrated this way.