Why Tell the Story of the Bible?
The story of the Bible runs cross current to these ideas so culturally appealing today. This story reveals that true relationship with God is only possible by hearing the story of Jesus Christ and entrusting our lives into his hands.
For this reason the Apostle Paul said of those who wanted to hinder the telling of this story that they not only displease God but are hostile to the whole human race (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16). In other words, it is totally unloving to stand against the One Story that has the power to bring us to God’s Salvation. Conversely, from Paul’s perspective, the most loving thing a person can do for all mankind is to tell the story of God’s Great Salvation Through Christ to everyone who will listen (Romans 10:14-15).
Why Christians Should Be Storytellers
The art of storytelling is rapidly gaining popularity in the entertainment scene in world-class cities. An intriguing article titled “Testify!” in the January 2011 issue of Christianity Today tells of a storytelling event called “The Moth”, based in New York City that drew 21,750 people to its shows last year. In these events ordinary people tell real stories to a live audience. People are standing in long lines to buy tickets for these events. Such shows are rivaling the stand-up comedy scene in popularity.
I am convinced that one of the reasons storytelling is gaining in popularity in today’s world is a hunger for true and meaningful relationships in the hearts of many people. Shared stories of our history, failures and joys are the fabric that knit us together in community. In a world where many feel isolated from real community there are many ready to pay money to buy a ticket so they can listen to another person make himself vulnerable before an audience as he tells a true story from life. Great storytelling will always involve the struggles and defeats we face, as well as our triumphs.
As followers of Jesus we have stories to tell, stories of our own sin and redemption. We have the stories of the family history of the people who knew the true God of Israel in the Bible. And most wonderful of all, we can share the Good News that anyone who puts their trust in Jesus is made a part of that amazing and eternal story of God’s great salvation. What better story is there to tell?
The Bible IS a story!
Many would say that there are stories in the Bible. But in reality The Bible is The Story of how God has acted in history to bring glory to his Name by reconciling us and the world we live in back to himself in the face of the tragic consequences of sin and death.
God is not only the author of this story; he is also the primary character in the story being told.
Some may argue that the Bible is made up of narrative sections along with many other types of writing, including poetry and wisdom literature, prophetic writings and the didactic teaching sections found especially in the Epistles. This is all true but each and every part of Scripture is a part of the big story being told and it is ultimately not possible to understand clearly these various parts without seeing how each part fits into that story.
God’s Big Story, the Bible, is made up of many individual stories. The great universal story of God’s working out his eternal plan is told through his workings in specific times and places and with specific individuals or groups of people in this present world. Without the knowledge of these individual stories it is not possible to see the panoramic picture of God’s Great Salvation Plan.
We must not assume that people generally know the big story of the Bible. There are many people even in nations where Christianity has had a presence for many years, who really have no basic understanding of the Biblical story.
Many of us, especially those who live in the west, live in cultures that are post-Christian. There is a generation of people now on the scene who know little or nothing of the story the Bible has to tell. Therefore, as followers of Jesus, we must give attention to creatively telling God’s big story if we want those to whom we are bringing the good news to be able to clearly capture the significance of individual Biblical truths. Tom Steffen made this comment in his book, “The Bible is not just a collection of isolated stories; it is God’s unified storybook. While each of the 66 documents that comprise the sacred Storybook has its own beauty and value, the eloquence of each is maximized when taken as a collective whole.” [Reconnecting God’s Story to Ministry: Cross-cultural Storytelling at Home and Abroad by Tom A. Steffen p.55]