The Story of the Bible, God’s Master Story, consists of many individual stories and some non-narrative material, as well. About 75 percent of the Bible is in story form, with approximately 15 percent poetry, and 10 percent propositional form. The stories in the Bible are stories of life, of families and individuals, spanning centuries and connecting generations. Bible stories can penetrate our imagination, conscience, and emotions, touching us at a deep personal level, particularly because they feature real life situations similar to our own.
Before the great stories of the Bible were ever written down and passed on to us, they were transmitted orally over generations by good storytellers. Jesus was a master storyteller. He used stories and illustrations when speaking to the crowds. In fact, He never spoke to them without figurative language (Matthew 13:34). Rather, he taught the sometimes harsh truth by wrapping it in a story. Jesus knew the power of story to teach, to impact and change lives.
New receptivity to stories has taken place with the advent of the digital age: today, people prefer to learn through spoken and visual means rather than through the printed word. Storying, as the preferred communication style in taking the Gospel to non-literate learners, has been in use for years in the evangelical foreign missions movement. Oralizing the Word and bringing Bible stories to life through communal and interactive Bible study is a method now widely used with the educated and non-literate alike.
There is no need for a lot of commentaries or books when we trace the treasures or spiritual truths hidden in a Bible story in a group setting. Reflecting on a story and keeping people focused on drawing out its treasures through dialogue and questions appeals to the inner child, the heart, rather than the logical and cognitive faculties. Storying invites the whole person to participate. What is more, convincing through apologetics and argumentation is ruled out, because it is the story and not someone’s mental effort that does the work. This is the way Jesus engaged His audience and gained a response.
The storying approach is very personal, as it acknowledges the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit through the power of the Word of God. Theology is embedded in every biblical story, and the Holy Spirit applies the truths most relevant to the life and heart needs of every hearer. People benefit in their everyday life situations when they reflect on what the stories they hear could mean to them at present. Those who had previously been afraid to share the gospel now find it easy and enjoyable; men who shied away from assuming leadership roles are now taking charge; and spouses have been reconciled to one another.
Today, the storying approach is known, taught and applied throughout the world. One of the advocates of the method is Dr. Bill Bjoraker, a pastor, teacher and theologian who has had a calling to the Jewish people since 1981. He lived in Israel with his family for eight years and served as the pastor of Beit Immanuel congregation in Jaffa. Bill has developed a storytelling method which is very effective in Jewish ministry, called Simply the Story.
The Caspari Center will be hosting a Simply the Story seminar in Jerusalem on February 12-16, 2017. Two workshops are being offered: a 3-day Practitioner workshop and a 5-day Practitioner and Trainer workshop. Participants will learn to tell fascinating, accurate stories and to lead interactive discussions on Bible passages. The seminar will equip participants to prepare teams for evangelism and short term mission trips, to share the gospel naturally at work, to maximize congregation planting. The implementation possibilities of this kind of oral style inductive Bible study approach are great and varied.
Registration for the Simply the Story seminar is now open. For more information about the upcoming workshops, please contact Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02-6233926. To register for one of the workshops, click here and fill in the form.
“The purpose of the Book of the LORD is to know the LORD of the Book.”
This article originally appeared on Caspari Center, January 8, 2017, and reposted with permission.