Ways of Engaging with Scripture

Biblical Storytelling in Oral Cultures
Author: Paul F. Koehler
Published by: William Carey Library (2010)

From the book description on the Publisher's website:

"This is a complete and practical introduction to storying, especially for people who want to learn about using biblical storytelling in cross-cultural contexts and who want to train others to become storytellers. It includes many fascinating accounts of the responses of tribal people to the first proclamation of the gospel through storytelling.

"The result of years of research and field testing, Telling God's Stories with Power is a product of the author's own journey as he confronted the challenges of teaching the Bible in parts of the world where people are unaccustomed to a Western style of learning. Full of innovative and groundbreaking insights, this study is packed with ideas, explanations, and constructive suggestions stated in clear and simple language.

"Throughout the book there are extensive examples from the storytellers' own experiences. Tracing the movement of the biblical stories across multiple generations of tellers and listeners, storytelling is found to be superior for knowledge transfer and for bypassing resistance to the gospel in oral contexts, thus presenting clear evidence of the effectiveness of biblical narrative among oral learners."  [more...]

Published by: Scriptures in Use, 2004

A Scripture-based, narrative approach for grassroots church planters, this DVD provides a brief overview of how members of traditional oral cultures learn and communicate information. This resource introduces strategies that complement traditional communication methods such as storytelling, drama, music, recitation, and oratory. You will observe scripture storytellers and church planting teams in action and walk briefly through 10 bridges of communication to oral cultures that are taught in the BRIDGES training workshops.  [more...]

Reading big chunks of Scripture, out loud, together
Author: Carl Laferton
Published by: The Briefing, 3 November 2011

"What we are trying to do is say we want our people to know the Scripture — and how will they know the Scriptures other than by reading it? And what’s the best way to read it? I’m convinced that it’s designed to be read in big chunks, out loud, with people getting together."

Cornerstone Church in Kingston, UK, have embarked on 'The Big Read'. The idea is to read one book of the Bible each month, together in small groups.

On the first Sunday of the month, the pastor preaches an overview of the book. Then at the midweek prayer meeting, they read the first few chapters together, leaving the rest for the small groups during the other weeks of the month. They've put together a series of 10 questions to help them reflect on what they're reading.

For more details, see the article in The Briefing, which contains some provocative thoughts on Bible reading from Cornerstone's pastor, Pete Woodcock.  [more...]

Finding our place in the biblical story
Authors: Craig Bartholomew, Michael Goheen
Published by: Baker Academic, 2004 and SPCK, 2006

Many of us have read the Bible as if it was merely a mosaic of little bits - theological bits, moral bits, historical-critical bits, sermon bits, devotional bits, narrative bits. But to read the Bible in such a fragmented way is to ignore its divine author's intention to shape our lives through its story.

Published in association with the Bible Society in the UK, this book takes readers through the big story of Scripture in six acts:

  Act 1: God establishes his kingdom - Creation
  Act 2: Rebellion in the kingdom - Fall
  Act 3: The King chooses Israel - Redemption initiated
  Act 4: The Coming of the King - Redemption accomplished
  Act 5: Spreading the news of the King - The mission of the Church
  Act 6: The Return of the King - Redemption completed

Each chapter concludes with 'Questions to help us find our place in the story'. There are addtional discussion questions on the Bible Society website and additional resources on the authors' website.  [more...]

How To Get Your Entire Church Reading and Enjoying God's Word
Author: Whitney T. Kuniholm
Published by: Scripture Union USA (2012)

"So a bigger vision of Bible engagement is not just that more individual Christians will form a Bible reading habit. That’s a critical first step. A bigger vision is that more groups of Christians, of all denominations, will begin reading and living God’s Word together, and as a result, the Church will be renewed and relevant for a new generation."

Reflecting on what he's learned from the E100 programme, SU President Whitney Kuniholm, asks "How can you get 'average Christians' to start and maintain a regular Bible reading habit?"

He suggests seven key elements, 'the essential architecture', to pastors and church leaders:

  1. Take Spiritual Leadership
  2. Make it a community experience
  3. Use habit-formation principles
  4. Affirm a variety of devotional methods
  5. Have a flexible format
  6. Follow a unifying theme
  7. Offer a follow-up plan…from the beginning

In conclusion, the author observes that: "When people begin reading and applying God’s Word together, a spiritual power is unleashed that can dramatically transform individual lives and entire churches."  [more...]