Friday, September 26, 2008

On Stories & Storying the Bible... to See Jesus

My Middle School Girls Bible Study meets every Wednesday at my house, from 4-5. So far it's been fairly well attended, with girls from the neighborhood and families connected somehow to our church attending. Only one is from a stable, two-parent believing family. Wow! What an opportunity to present the Gospel to unsown young fields! Please pray with me that the harvest will be plentiful!

I had no idea what to teach, but the Lord kept laying this age group on my heart. Several things have led me to an ever-deeper understanding to the story of the Bible; while the Bible contains all genres of writing, the vast majority of it is stories, all of them a part of One Story. In His divine wisdom, God gave us stories, not mere commandments, nor formulaic prayers, nor pithy sayings, nor dry historical records. The Bible contains all those things- Law (Leviticus), instruction (NT Epistles), prayers/songs (Psalms), proverbs (Proverbs), and lists of begats- but all of them are set within contexts of real life situations. As Pastor Ryan here at IBC is so fond of saying, in the Book of John we see Jesus giving a teaching, and BOOM there's a real-life story to illustrate it (ex. I am the Light of the World- Jesus heals a man born blind). Teaching pre-school has really immersed me in the narrative of Scripture. So has studying Biblical Theology, and one of my favorite books, The Horse & His Boy (if you don't know how it ties in, feel free to ask me & I'll GLADLY explain). In a church Muslim Evangelism training session, we were taught about "storying" the Bible, which is a highly effective and attractive teaching method, used especially in pre-literate or Eastern cultures. Basically, you tell various stories of the Bible in a logical order, where they build on each other-- starting in Creation, moving through the Fall, all the way to Christ. I love it because it's so natural. It's how little kids naturally learn stuff; they either live out a story or they hear one. We remember stories. We learn who people are by the stories of their lives.

All that to say that I'm teaching a series of stories about women in the Bible-- we're calling it "Women Known By God," and each week, I tell the story of a different woman (or women) in the Bible. But the Bible is all about Jesus, as He reveals the Triune, All-Glorious, worth-knowing God. "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets (that's all those other stories), but in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power." Heb. 1: 1-3 As we told our Sunday School class a few weeks back, if God looked in the mirror, He'd see Jesus. So as I tell the stories about these very real, very sinful, very ordinary women, the last thing I want to do is focus on the women themselves. The stories are their stories, yes, but the One more visible with each story is God-- is Jesus the Christ. Each week, then, we answer 3 questions after I tell the story: 1. Who is God? 2. What is He like? 3. How does He expect me to act towards Him? Of course our little chart grows with each story, and I pray and hope the girls' visions of God grow too, until He is absolutely irrisistible and wonderful to them.

Pray with me and for me, please! And I challenge you to read the Bible as a story, one in which the main Character is God the One and Only.


p.s. Books like The Jesus Story Book Bible (Sally Lloyd-Jones/Jago), or The Big Picture Story Bible (David Helm/Gail Schoonmaker) have helped me immensly-- I'd highly reccomend adult discipleship programs with them as their basis! A good book like those for adults (minus the awesome pictures...) is God's Big Picture, by Vaughan Roberts.


Jacquita Banana said...

"So as I tell the stories about these very real, very sinful, very ordinary women, the last thing I want to do is focus on the women themselves. The stories are their stories, yes, but the One more visible with each story is God-- is Jesus the Christ." Just like the saints! Beautiful.

Tell me how The Horse and His Boy ties in with theology. I vaguely remember the book but recall really liking it and would love to hear the connection.

Eowyn's Heir said...

heheh... of course it's like the saints-- they WERE saints! Just pre-Messiah. :) As we tell the pre-k kids, "they knew that He would come; they just didn't know His Name. Now, we KNOW His Name, and it's Jesus."

and for THAHB, it's related by way of 1. the stylized story-telling of the Caloremens, contrasted with the pithy dry proverbs of their religion 2. the very Real Aslan who is always telling Shasta and Aravis "their story" 3. the religion of the Narnians which is one of love of a real live Savior, rich in stories, contrasted of course with that of their Caloremen neighbors... I think that's it. :)

Ravonda said...

Christina, you might be interested in this speaker from the Desiring God National Conference this year:

Daniel Taylor - “The Life-Shaping Power of Story: God’s and Ours”

I found it by reading the DG blog - see Sept 28th and video links.

Lots of other good speakers there too, if you can find the time.