KB Categories Archives: Story

Intro to Biblical Storytelling (Part 2)

Martha Garmon:

BiblicalStorytellingIn our last installment, we learned:

Biblical storytelling is a spiritual discipline that entails first committing to the deep memory a narrative text of the Old or New Testament and then engaging with it in a lively telling as a sacred event that binds teller and listeners in community (Definition by Network of Biblical Storytellers International).

We talked about reasons for biblical storytelling today:

  1. Storytelling is how the Israelites transmitted their history
  2. Only kings or priests would have had access to the written word
  3. Even the scrolls would have been difficult to read
  4. Paul’s letters were transcribed and then “performed” orally
  5. God commands us to learn the Scriptures and share with our children

Did you read your story every day? Three times? Great, you’ve already begun to learn your story.

Did you print out your story without verse numbers and double-spaced? Great!

Now, in Part 2, let’s talk about the next step in learning your story. When you look at your story printed on the page, are you confident you can learn it? Why not? It still looks like a big chunk of text, right? Let me show you some easy and creative ways to tackle the problem and tell a great story!


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Intro to Biblical Storytelling (Part 1)

Martha Garmon:

What is a story?

According to the Network of Biblical Storytellers International, “A story is an oral event that is created or re-created through the voice and body of the teller in such a way that the audience experiences the event.”

Have you ever heard someone tell a story? Have you ever told a story? Of course you have! We tell stories every day. Especially in our digital culture, our lives revolve around stories.

Gods-Story4-copy (2)When you take all of our stories and put them together, they all become an infinitesimal part of one larger story– God’s story. The Bible tells God’s story starting with Creation and giving us a glimpse of the story as it continues to be written. So if the Bible is a story, isn’t it appropriate to tell it as we would any other story?

What is biblical storytelling?

Biblical storytelling is a spiritual discipline that entails first committing to the deep memory a narrative text of the Old or New Testament and then engaging with it in a lively telling as a sacred event that binds teller and listeners in community. (Definition by Network of Biblical Storytellers International)

When we tell the Bible as a story we strive to make it more personal, to make it our story and to share that story with others. We should be striving to tell scripture as if it was our own story, because it is our story.

Spiritual discipline…deep memory…narrative text…engaging with it…sacred event….

Which one scares you the most? In my experience, for most people the scariest part is the committing to deep memory. First, let’s make one thing clear, this is not about memorization. This is about telling the story by heart. Most of us remember memorizing things as child. If you were in a parochial school or even at Sunday School each week, you were probably asked to memorize scripture pass
ages. How did we do that? Usually, we tried to learn it word by word, by rote. In most cases, if we missed one word, we were told that we didn’t get it right and to try again. If our parents were helping they would stop and correct any words we got wrong. When a passage is learned in this way, we learn it in our head and as soon as we no longer “need” it, it slips away.


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Worship as Story

Mark Jonah:

This short article appeared in the “Longview (Texas) News Journal” in their Religious Section, May, 2015:

moviesAs I write this it is the “unofficial” beginning of summer with Memorial Day just passing.  With the start of summer comes the beginning of the hopeful summer movie blockbusters.  And where we live we’ve had lots of rain.  With all the rain we’ve been having, going to a movie may seem like a good option.  And even if the temperature seeks to make it to three digits (which I’m sure it will), an air conditioned reprise at a movie will be a good option when the sun comes out.

I really enjoy going to movies.  I even like watching the previews.  I’ve had the experience that once I’ve seen a movie for which I saw the preview, I realize that all the best parts of the movie were in the preview!  Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. As far as watching a movie, I love a good story. And I like the stunts and action (which I know cannot be replicated in real life, thankfully. Suspension of disbelief is generally a good option at a movie). So whether it’s a mystery, a heroic battle, or “based on a true story,” I enjoy movies!

In my more thoughtful moments, when I think about the process of watching a movie, I know that once a movie begins and I am given a “window” into the lives of the people. I am entering a story already in motion.  The people in the movie have lives, have families, have jobs, and depending on the movie, already have something that has happened in their lives they need to respond to.  When a movie begins, there is already stuff going on.  The people in the movie have a past.  The story has a past.

And when I think about the ending of movie, other than wanting a solid, good, and concise ending, I realize that here too the story has motion.  After my movie “window” closes, the people in the movie have lives that keep going.  They still have lives, they still have families, and they still have jobs.  When a movie ends, stuff continues happening.  The people in the movie have a future.  The story has a future.

I’d like to apply this past story and future story idea to going to a church worship service.  When someone attends a worship service, she is entering into a story that has a past.  The story of what God has done in the world predates our experience of the biblical narrative.  God has been actively involved in our world since time began.  His purposes for redeeming, reconciling, and restoring all of creation through Jesus Christ have been and are being realized.  When we attend a worship service, we are coming at the invitation of the One who created and redeems.  At the beginning of the worship service, we should focus on the reality that the activity of God has been going on before we even arrived.  We are coming to a story that has a past.

And when someone leaves a worship service, he is leaving only in the physical sense.  The story of God does not cease at the end of a worship service.  God continues to work his will in the world.  God desires to walk with us as we leave the gathered congregation, to walk in the story of God in our lives; where we live, where we work, where we go to school, and where we play. The story has a future.

The story of God is a big story.  My life?  Not as big a story.  But when I enter into God’s narrative, I find myself in a story that reaches into my life and changes me.  God’s story gives direction and purpose to my story.  Whenever you go to a church worship service, remember that you are entering into a grand story of redemption.  This story has a past and this story has a future.  Coming and going, enjoy being in God’s story!


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