Bible-storying can sometimes be difficult. I mean, have you ever asked someone if you could tell them a Bible story? “Hey buddy, I went to Sunday school as a kid. Thank you very much.” Although this may sound a little dramatic, I think most of us might respond in a similar way. Stories are for kids. But are they? Studies show 80 percent of the world are oral learners. This means they learn better through stories, songs, proverbs and drama. It is more effective in 80 percent of the world to tell someone a Bible story than to simply give them a Bible. Now I do not mean stop giving out Bibles. I do mean get comfortable with revisiting your Sunday school days. This is called storying the Bible
Bible-storying, oral cultures, and oral learners
Storying the Bible is a concept of sharing what is in the Bible in story form. Telling stories allows some people to understand what is being taught. This allows others to hear and then retell the same story to someone else. The method of storying does not require literacy or even an education. As said earlier, 80 percent of the world learns through the oral method. This includes both people from oral cultures and oral preferred learners. Oral cultures learn exclusively through stories. Their culture, their history, their important information are all conveyed through stories. Oral preferred learners are those in western culture who simply prefer learning through stories. Because of media and other forms of entertainment, many people can follow a story better than reading.
Why is storying the Bible important?
The importance of this is paramount. In order to teach someone truth, you must give it to them in a way they can understand. A deaf person and a blind person will have to learn in two different ways. I can not expect sign language to work for the blind person. An example in my own life. My family has been learning the art of storying the Bible. Previously we have read sections of the Bible and asked my children to tell us what we read. My oldest, a bookworm, would always be able to recite it in detail. My second son, less of a reader, could only pick out small details. We tried storying. My second son recounted the entire story without difficulty. We were astonished. It worked amazingly well.
How I use Bible-storying
“Wow, this weather is awful,” says a man standing next to you at the bus stop.
“You know, that reminds me of a story in the Bible. Jesus was taking his friends over to the other side of the sea. He fell asleep in the middle of a huge storm. His friends were really freaking out. They woke him and asked, ‘Jesus do you not care that we are all going to die?’ Jesus woke up and said ‘Hush be still.’ and the wind and waves instantly stopped.”
The point is, it is not hard to bring a Bible story into the conversation. I will admit standing in the subway in New York City, I am hard-pressed to find someone without headphones in their ears. On the other hand, I have told stories in Nepal where whole households stopped their work to listen.
Bible-storying is a way to share Jesus with people and cultures who learn differently. It is a way to bring the Bible into focus. It is sharing the gospel in a way they can understand.