Encounter God’s Word in a fresh, interactive way: oral Bible storytelling. This captivating method helps you connect with and internalize God’s Word in a unique, powerful way. In just three steps—Listen, Learn, Reflect—you can engage your heart and mind with Scripture as an oral learner. And, as a bonus, you can learn to tell oral Bible stories to others.
Step One: Listen to the story
Visit The Promise and decide which story you want to experience. Each story is about 2-3 minutes long. If it’s your first time experiencing oral Bible storytelling, we recommend beginning with a story from the life of Jesus, like Authority or Astonishment.
After you have selected your story, listen to it once. Visualize the story, like it’s a movie playing out in your mind. Then, listen to the same story a second time. During the second listen, notice the different scenes in the story. Make a mental picture for each scene of the story.
Important: Do not write any notes or read the original passage when you listen to the story. This will help you engage as an oral learner!
Step Two: Learn the story
Now that you’ve listened to your story twice, it’s time to start learning! This may be challenging, and that’s OK! You’re trying something new! Your goal isn’t to memorize the story, but simply to be able to retell the story, with the necessary details, in a natural and theologically accurate way.
Important: Just like when you listened to the story, it’s important not to write down notes or read the passage when you’re learning the story.
- Try to retell the story aloud, sentence by sentence, checking yourself every couple of sentences with the original recording. Replay the mental picture scenes you came up with earlier.
- Next, listen to the story using a learning technique. Pick one of the following:
- Storyboard: Divide a piece of paper into a grid. As you listen, pause after the first scene. Draw the first scene in the first grid. Listen to the second scene, pause and draw that scene in the second grid. Continue drawing the story until you have each scene on your storyboard. Tell your story out loud with the storyboard a few times.
- Props: Listen to the story, pausing in between scenes, and use ordinary objects (paperclips, sticky notes, cups) in the room to reenact the story. Tell your story out loud with the props a few times.
- Hand motions: Listen to the story, pausing after every sentence or two. For each sentence, create a hand motion to represent the main thought of that sentence. Listen to the story a few more times with your hand motions, then tell the story out loud a few times with the hand motions.
- Tell your story without the learning method. Listen back to the original recording to check yourself. Were there any scenes or details you forgot? Focus on those and practice them.
- Tell the story in front of a mirror to help cement the story in your brain.
- Tell the story to a person, whether in person or digitally.
- Keep practicing your story, repeating any helpful steps, until you feel confident!
Step three: Reflect on the story
Now that you’ve learned the story, it’s time to engage with it at a heart-level. We use the same basic questions to help you reflect for every oral Bible story. Take enough time to thoughtfully answer each question before moving on to the next question. You will likely have several answers for each question as you reflect.
Important: As you reflect on the story, stay in the story itself. The story may have reminded you of another passage of Scripture or a book, but staying in the story will help you better internalize and know the story itself.
- What did you like in the story?
- What didn’t you like in the story or what in the story was confusing?
- What did you notice about God in the story?
- What did you notice about people in the story?
- Ask yourself an application question. Some favorites are “What do you learn about yourself/your heart in this story?” “What can you apply from this story to your life?” “Who do you most identify with in the story and why?”
- Who will you share this story with?
Congratulations! You’ve just completed an oral Bible storytelling experience! You can use the same steps for each of our 40 stories in The Promise, a panorama series of Bible stories from Creation to the Return of Christ.
Bonus: Tell the story
God’s Word isn’t just meant to shape only our personal lives—He can use our experiences with His Word in the lives of others! You can easily tell the story you learned to an individual or in a group context, like a small group Bible study.