keyboard_arrow_right
storytelling
Bible, Bible stories, Christian, faith, grandchildren, storytelling

6 Ways to learn Bible Stories (and Why!)

You may be an “old Christian.” That is, someone who has an awareness of the Bible, and what Bible stories are in it. Deep in your heart, you have a desire to share the Bible stories. Yet your stomach churns, and you become anxious when you think about telling your children or grandchildren about the beliefs of the Christian faith.

As a “new” Christian, learning the stories of the Bible seems overwhelming. Where do you start?

As a grandparent, you are not sure how to share God’s love with your grandchildren. It is hard to talk about traditions, values, and being a Christian, no matter what your age is. We have an uncanny ability to evade these conversations. Even when the opportunity to share is right in front of us

How can we learn God’s Word, the Bible, so that we can share our Christian faith with our grandchildren? We also don’t want to stumble through them. Uncertainty and apprehension hijack our desires to talk about religion, faith, God, and the traditions of the churches we are a part of. We need to tell Bible stories and stories of faithful Christians confidently. I am flooded by thoughts my listener won’t understand, get frustrated, or walk away.

I often worry that someone will ask me a specific question about the Bible. Will I be able to give an immediate response? I hope that what I say will make sense. I hope I don’t need to explain my answer. Yet I need to be ready.

I have found that a major factor is the comfortability we each have with our Bibles. Perhaps you learned some of the stories in the Bible years ago. Or you were forced to hear the stories, so you weren’t really listening. New believers may be unaware of the many actors and stories in the Bible. You know the Bible has a lot of information in it, but ohmygosh, where do you start?!!

HERE ARE SOME WAYS YOU CAN LEARN THE STORIES IN YOUR BIBLE:

Go to a Bible Study at your local church. This is helpful if you’d like to learn in a group.

Set aside some time each day to read the Bible and pray. It will deepen and strengthen your relationship with God.

Pick any section, or “book” that is in the Bible, and simply read it. I suggest that you start with the Book of Luke. This tells the story of Jesus, from his birth to his death. Then read Matthew, Mark, and John. This will fill in more details about the man Jesus.

Pick a topic to study. Many Bibles have a list of topics in the back. The list will give specific references to Bible verses to study. Another way to study a topic is to visit a Bible bookstore and look for a specific booklet on that topic.

Pick a person to study. Again, some Bibles have lists in the back, this would be a good place to start. You could also check what your local Christian bookstore has on its shelves.

For those of us who like electronic access to the world,
www.biblegateway.com This site provides a search engine that will take you to a specific verse, topic, or person in the Bible. You can adjust the search so that you can find a way to read the verses so you can understand.
www.sermoncentral.com/free-online-bible-scripture-search/ Another search engine that will take you to a verse, topic or person.
http://www.biblestudytools.com/ Another search engine that I like.

There are many types of Bible readings (often called devotionals) available on the Internet. These typically have Bible reading, a short reading about the verses, and a prayer.
Here are some of my favorites:
Our Daily Bread – https://odb.org/ – https://www.josh.org/resources/sign-up-for-daily-devotions/?mot=J79GNF&gclid=COXw8Jbl4tYCFYsdgQodo1QH1A
Josh McDowell ministries – https://www.josh.org/resources/youth-family/daily-devotions/
The Upper Room – http://devotional.upperroom.org/

Because we are all different and because each of us has a unique relationship with God, no one devotional pattern will work for everyone. And one way may not work for anyone all of the time. Experiment until you find the time of day, content, and length of time spent that helps you feel connected with God. By reading and understanding the Bible, you will have resources to draw from as you tell Bible stories to your grandchildren.

The Bible tells us
“He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands –Psalm 58:5-7

We must learn the stories so that we can tell our grandchildren about our faith!

Which type of Bible reading or devotional works best for you?

faith, grandchildren, Grandparents, storytelling

Story-telling: Link Between Past and Future

In my childhood, my own grandparents lived a mile and a half from us. During the summer, my folks would “have coffee” once or twice a week The smell of fresh coffee and cookies reminds me of those days. My grandfather would pour some coffee into his saucer, and swirl it around to cool it. He would slurp it down, while us kids would each help ourselves to a cookie or some other goodie that my Grandma had made. The adults who sat around the table would visit about what was happening with themselves, the crops, things that the neighbors said and/or did. When I wasn’t paying attention, Grandpa would steal my cookie, then laugh at me.

At some point, Grandpa would lean back in his chair and say, “I remember when…” We kids would roll our eyes, and asked to be excused to go play. I am sorry now, that I didn’t listen more closely and carefully to what he had to say.

Grandparents, whether they are creative, humorous –or not– are connectors to the past generations. They each have different styles of teaching and sharing. Grandparents provide connection between at least four generations: My grandparents were the first generation. My parents are the the second, Third; my children,, and my grandchildren are the fourth generation. I am the center link who knows all four generations.

Our world has changed so dramatically in the last 100 years. Our grandchildren will find it hard to understand the world of our parents and grandparents unless we tell stories and provide connections to the past. Our stories give grandchildren a sense of connection to past generations and provide awareness of family roots, which in turn provide security and strength. These family roots help them shape an identity.

Storytelling happens in many situations. You may hear stories at the meal table of what happened in school today or what happened at work. You may overhear a story being told in the line at the grocery store, while you are riding in the car or on the bus, or while you are walking down the sidewalk.

A three-year old may tell you a story that you may not completely understand, but you know it is a story because it has a beginning, and his voice gets excited in the middle, then calms down at the end.

Some storytelling situations demand informality; others are highly formal. The Christmas, Hanukah, Passover, and Easter stories are told at specific times of the year. And we tell stories in religious rituals, such as Baptism or Holy Communion. Some demand certain themes, attitudes, and artistic approaches, and the expectations about listener interaction and the nature of the story itself vary widely.

People around us may speak, at the same time encouraging the listener’s imagination. Storytelling is interactive; if we are listening, we may nod our heads, jump in with comments, and ask questions. These responses influence how the story is told. In fact, storytelling emerges from the interaction and cooperative, coordinated efforts of the speaker and the listener.

Different cultures and situations create different expectations for the exact roles of storyteller and listener—who speaks how often and when, for example—and therefore create different forms of interaction. Storytelling uses words whether they are a spoken language or a manual language such as American Sign Language.

Storytelling uses physical movements and/or gestures. These actions are the parts of spoken or manual language other than words. Their use distinguishes storytelling from writing and text-based computer interactions. Not all story-tellers use hand or body movements. Instead, they rely on their voices.

Storytelling involves the presentation of a story—a narrative. What is recognized as a story in one situation may not be accepted as one in another. Some situations call for spontaneity and playful digression, for example; others call for near-exact repetition of a revered text.

Storytelling encourages the active imagination of the listeners. The storytelling listener’s role is to actively create the vivid, multi-sensory images, actions, characters, and events—the reality—of the story in his or her mind, based on what the teller says and on the listener’s own past experiences, beliefs, and understandings. The completed story happens in the mind of the listener, a unique and personalized individual. The listener becomes, therefore, a co-creator of the story as experienced.

Many times we don’t realize it, but we tell the same story over and over again. Details may change from person to person, as we remember things each time. A few months ago, I was in the check-out line at the grocery store, and saw a crowd at the door. I passed the group on my way out. At the center of the group was a man with a macaw perched on his shoulder. This majestic animal flapped his wings and bobbed his head when I went past. When my grandchildren were visiting the following week, I told them about the macaw. I was pretty sure that they didn’t know what a macaw was, and I was tempted to say “parrot” in the story I was telling. But this unusual animal and its size was a key part of the story.

When my daughter came to pick up the kids, they -told the story to their mother. Naturally, it got changed, into their perspective. The macaw now had a wingspan that was “this big!” – about twelve inches bigger than what I had indicated! I told this same story to my husband, my sister-in-law, my son, and to a checker in the store that I initially saw the bird. Each time I told it, I remembered different details.

The stories of our lives, people we encounter, and things we do are kept alive by being told again and again. The material of any given story naturally undergoes several changes and adaptations during this process. Elements of oral storytelling include visualization (the seeing of images in the mind’s eye), and vocal and bodily gestures. In many ways, storytelling also draws upon acting and changes in the voice.

What are some stories that you tell? And how do your listeners react?