Why Bible Stories Aren’t Just for Children

As a child I often spent my summer vacations sprawled out on my bed with my face buried in my most recent discovery from the local library. My parents would regularly complain that I spent all of my time alone in my room cooped up and hidden away from the outside world. But what they didn’t realize is that far from staying in my room all day I was traveling to distant places! From entirely mythical worlds to societies once real and now nearly forgotten, I spent my days taking in the wonders that each new book had to offer me. My favorite books have always been the ones that don’t just tell you a story but take you along with them on the journey. It’s why so many classics still have such a big audience. Stories like Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice, or The Chronicles of Narnia do more than just tell you a story. They take you on an adventure of personal growth as you watch the words on a page become familiar people and places and the lessons taught become lessons learned deep within your own heart and mind.

Exploring a place that reminded me of Middle Earth

Good stories don’t just present us with the facts about what happened. They make us feel with those involved. Lead us to a personal investment in the final outcome. And if it’s really well done, a good story even has the power to bring about personal growth in us as it does the same in our beloved characters. Have you ever read a story that changed you? Has your heart ever been moved as a character in a book or movie finds themselves learning to be something they hadn’t been before?

That my freinds is the power of a story.

Is it any wonder then that God wrote us a story as the primary means for knowing him? We as Christians have at our fingertips the most powerful story of all. And within that great story are many smaller ones; pieces of a whole that together or apart point to the glory of the one true God and his plan for our redemption. Now lest you think it coincidence that God has given us a book, did you know that 75% of the Bible is made up of stories? That’s right! With all the many types of literature included in the Bible, we find that the format God chose to use most was storytelling.

We seem to have some innate understanding of this as witnessed in how we began to teach children about the word of God. While I am sure a great many of you who grew up in church couldn’t recall a single sermon outline or even the title of last week’s sermon, you still remember those stories told to you by a sweet lady in a small classroom every Sunday morning. Maybe you remember the flannelgraph and when the teacher would sometimes let you move the felt pieces. And surely you remember and can tell about Noah’s ark or how Jesus fed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. While we may not remember every lesson taught we never forget those stories. It comes as no surprise then that Jesus himself often used storytelling as his preferred teaching method. How many times did he respond to his disciples questions with ‘There once was…’ as he began the latest in his series of parables. If stories were good enough for Jesus, then why do we so often lose the art of storying when we get past those childhood years? Surely with a book as big as the Bible there are more stories we could learn! And what about those who didn’t grow up in Sunday school? When asked about what you believe or given the opportunity to share, have you ever considered telling them a Bible story?

Oftentimes believers don’t feel ready to share. Maybe they get nervous and forget step three along the Romans road. Or they try to draw that bridge example but art really isn’t there thing and it doesn’t actually look like a bridge at all. But who can’t tell a story? Someone is worried when they have financial need? Jesus Feeds the 5,000!

Struggling to understand why bad things happen in our world? The creation and the fall.

Worried over circumstances far out of their control? Jesus Calms the Storm.

You might not have thought about it this way, but in the Bible there really is a story for everything. Not only is there a story, there’s also a good chance you know it far better than you know an evangelism technique you were taught once upon a time. And let’s face it: people are more likely to say yes to ‘Can I tell you a story?’ then, ‘Hey can I show you a series of Bible verses?’ Now this isn’t to discredit other techniques. There is a time when these other forms of sharing are appropriate and helpful. Especially considering that they include scripture and we know that the word of God never returns void. But the next time it’s your turn to teach about the Bible or share with someone who really doesn’t know what your favorite book says, might I kindly suggest that you start with a story? And when you do get back to me, I’d love to hear how it goes. 🙂

Happy Story Telling!

  1. I love telling stories and listening to stories, and Jesus was the best story teller! Love your style of writing and how you encourage us to use the power of story to reach others with the good news.

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  2. This is such a great blog! I was also a child that went to the library and always had my nose stuck in a book. I still enjoy reading Christian fiction. You are right it is easier telling a story rather than memorize a verse!

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  3. This is so good Ashley! I was like you as a child, curled up with a good book constantly! I remember my hubby telling me how he told the story of David and Goliath to his mom when she was battling cancer. My hubby is very animated and he said she got a smile on her face as she listened. It was such a heartwarming testimony of how he reached his mom with stories from the Bible … ❤

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    1. I love this! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 I think stories are such a special part of our lives and it’s wonderful when we can use them to share truth and encouragement too. What a beautiful testimony! ❤

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  4. I couldn’t help but smile as you described my childhood in Sunday school, always hoping I would have a turn to move picture of Jesus on the felt board! Great post, and SO true!

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  5. Your blog was very timely. God is good. I am in the process of writing a devotional for my 13-year-old daughter who is into science fiction. I have most of it written except for a section that I have titled, “The Greatest Saga.” Your blog has helped me confirm that I am on the right track. Thanks again!

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    1. I love that you are writing out a devotional just for her. I am sure it will mean so much to her in her walk with the Lord. I’m a bit of a sci-fi girl myself, so I can imagine how fun that will be! 🙂

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  6. Getting lost in stories is always a wonderful adventure. I remember growing up and chasing the sunlight. I’d always fall asleep surrounded by books. I have my favorite stories and have read some really good books with strong characters, good plot structure, and am myself a writer.

    The scriptures use stories of people’s lives to share a message of hope, truth and enlighten us on how we are to liken them unto us. Thank you for this post and the reminder of how we are to learn from the scriptures and the stories it shares.

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  7. I love this and as someone who also knew the thrill of traveling to places and having experiences through the pages of a book, I can totally relate.

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  8. You write beautifully! Thank you for sharing these truths with us today. God certainly uses the true Biblical stories to teach us so much about His character. Also, I saw in your photo the book Shadow of the Almighty! That is one of my very favorites! Keep on writing for His glory!

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  9. You’re absolutely right! Stories from the Bible stick in our memory much more than any sermon will. God certainly knew what he was doing. Now, if only we’ll learn the various teachings from each story and put what we’ve learned into practice!

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  10. It’s funny, when I hear Bible stories I always think of parables. I forget how many stories are in the Bible! God chose a way to speak to us that we can understand and cling onto- and remember better! We know that we remember stories better than random facts, how amazing is it that God chose to speak to us this way!

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  11. I love this, and you’re right! I’d much rather hear a story than be given a whole bunch of scriptures. Stories tend to resonate more with people and cause them to remember what was told.

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  12. Love this- thank you! I’m currently doing a Vlog series Called “applying Gods word to everyday” and it is all about how bible stories apply to our world today and what We can learn! Thank you for this xx

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  13. I was a similar child to you – always had my nose in a book, although I was also outside a lot. But nothing compared to the adventures I had through reading!
    My best Bible school teachers were those who could help bring alive the stories in my imagination. Those lessons are the ones that really stuck me still today.

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