4 Reasons to Preach Bible Stories

Today I am leading a seminar: Preaching Biblical Narrative.  I have really enjoyed preparing for this event.  Hence I am writing about Bible stories on the site at the moment.  Here’s four good reasons to preach Bible stories, and there are more too!

1. Stories are plenteous. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Ray Lubeck states that 44% of the Bible’s chapters are predominantly narrative.  There’s lots of stories in the Bible!

2. Stories are pervasive. They stretch throughout the canon.  We read stories throughout the Pentateuch, the history books of the Old Testament, in the wisdom books and the prophets.  We read stories about Jesus and from Jesus in the Gospels and throughout Acts.  We read glimpses of stories, or implied stories in the Psalms, in the Epistles, in Revelation.  They are everywhere, because life is lived story.

3. Stories are powerful. Unlike bare proposition, stories lodge in the memory.  They reach down deep to the emotions of the listeners as they identify with characters and get absorbed into real life action and tension.  They have a powerful ability to slip past defenses and reach the heart.

4. Stories are preferred. Historically humans have been primarily story—tellers.  Life legacies have been passed from one generation to the next by means of story.  Globally, most cultures are story cultures.  In fact, if we live in a time when story has taken a back seat, we are living in a blip in time and space.  But that is an if.  Even in the “enlightened” west we still are shaped and gripped by story.  Just look at Hollywood, or what predominates on TV schedules, or how advertisers shape many ads, or even how sports journalists frame big games – stories continue to abound!  And now as culture is shifting from modernism to postmodernism, story is increasingly preferred – authentic personal story is perceived to be of greater value than abstract truth statements.  People are, and always have been, everywhere, primarily creatures of story.

One thought on “4 Reasons to Preach Bible Stories

  1. Good reasons to preach Bible stories. As a young person I was fortunate to attend a church where the pastor preached the great Old Testament stories in the morning service and the Gospel and Epistle stories in the evening. Today I realize what a wonderful legacy this has given me. As a retired missionary that worked among mostly nonliterate oral communicators I used Bible stories to teach and equip listeners to tell the stories to others. Now the great need is to continue equipping both literate and nonliterate oral learner pastors to use Bible stories as their sermons among their nonliterate congregations. In India many pastors tell and teach the Bible stories from the pulpit, ask their congregations to repeat the stories, then send them out to tell the Bible stories to their neighbors and communities. The result is a growing number of new house churches and a great need for teaching more pastors. Now many pastors are discovering the power and preference of Bible stories for their literate congregations. An interesting benefit has been the large number of miraculous healings after listeners have heard the stories. Knowledge of the Word must precede study of the Word. Stories are relational, living, and memorable.

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