What are the issues, challenges and opportunities for engaging oral learners with the Bible? One way in to the discussion is to check out the Orality category of the Lausanne global conversation. Beyond that, here is a list of other resources:

1. Websites

Bible Society
Bible Storying
Chronological Bible Storying
Communication Across Barriers
Faith Comes By Hearing
Global Recordings Network
International Orality Network
The Java Club
OneStory Partnership
Orality Strategies
Scripture Engagement
Scriptures in Use
Simply The Story
Story4All
ST4T
T4 Global Blog
Wycliffe Bible Translators (UK) 

2. Journals

2.1 Journals specific to orality

Orality Journal (International Orality Network)
Oral Tradition Journal

2.3 Journal issues focused on the theme of orality

Issue 12:2 (April-June 1995) of International Journal of Frontier Missiology on Reaching Non-Literate Peoples. Individual articles:

Editorial, Hans M. Weerstra
Dependence on Literacy Strategy, Herb V. Klem
The Crucial Role of Oral-Scripture, Gilbert Ansre
The Emergence of Audio-Scripture in Church and Mission, Viggo Sogaard
Audio-Communications and the Progress of the Gospel, Allan Starling
Was Jesus a Zairian?, Paul D. Dyer
The Role of the O.T. In Evangelism, Don Pederson
Storying the Storybook to Tribals, Tom A. Steffen

Issue XXXVIII:2 (April 2010) of Missiology: An International Review on is ‘Orality’. Here’s the contents (though an ATLA login is needed to go to the articles):

Translation and the Visual Predicament of the “JESUS” Film in West Africa – Johannes Merz
Discipling through the Eyes of Oral Learners – W. Jay Moon
Pedagogical Conversions: From Propositions to Story and Symbol – Tom Steffen
Telling Our Stories Well: Creating Memorable Images and Shaping Our Identity – Janet Stahl
Bible Translation as Contextualization: The Role of Orality – James Maxey
Matters of the Heart: Orality, Story and Cultural Transformation—The Critical Role of Storytelling in Affecting Worldview – A. Steven Evans
Coming to Terms with Orality: A Holistic Model – Charles Madinger

2.3 Individual articles

Bowman, J. Communicating Christ through Oral TraditionInternational Journal of Frontier Missiology, 20:1 (2003), 25-27

Brown, R. Communicating God’s Message in an Oral CultureInternational Journal of Frontier Missiology, 21:3 (2004), 122-128 (Spanish version: Comunicando el Mensaje de Dios en una Cultura Oral)

Brown, R. How to Make Oral Communication More Effective, International Journal of Frontier Missiology, 21:4 (2004), 173-178 (Spanish version: Como Hacer Mas Efectiva la Comunicacion Oral)

Colgate, J. Part 1: Relational Bible Storying and Scripture Use in Oral Muslim ContextsInternational Journal of Frontier Missiology, 25:3 (2008), 135-142

Colgate, J. Part 2: Relational Bible Storying and Scripture Use in Oral Muslim ContextsInternational Journal of Frontier Missiology, 25:4 (2008), 199-207

Dye, T.W. The Eight Conditions of Scripture Engagement: Social and Cultural Factors Necessary for Vernacular Translation to Achieve Maximum Effect,  International Journal of Frontier Missiology, 26:2 (2009), 89-98

Dye, T.W. Scripture in an Accessible Form: The Most Common Avenue to Increased Scripture EngagementInternational Journal of Frontier Missiology, 26:3 (2009), 123-128

Ponraj, S.D. and Sah, C.K. Communication Bridges to Oral CulturesInternational Journal of Frontier Missiology, 20:1 (2003), 25-27

Prior, R. Orality: The Not-So-Silent Issue in Mission TheologyInternational Bulletin of Missionary Research, 35:3 (2011), 143-147 (login needed)

Sells, L. Avery Willis’ Last Dream, Mission Frontiers, 33:1 (2011), 6-10

Snowdon, M. Orality: The Next Wave of Mission Advance, Mission Frontiers, 26:1 (2004), 14-15

Steffen, T. Storytelling: Why Do It? Is it an Essential Skill for Missionaries?, Mission Frontiers (1997)

3. Books and other publications

Fisher, G.L. Using Audio Bibles to Make Disciples in Oral Cultures: Viability, reproducibility, and long term results

Hill, H. and Hill, M. Translating the Bible into Action: How the Bible Can be Relevant in All Languages and Cultures, Carlisle: Piquant Editions, 2008 (esp chs. 2, 16, 22-24)

Klem, H. Oral Communication of the Scripture: Insights from African Oral Art, Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1982

Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization / International Orality Network, Making Disciples of Oral Learners, Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 54, Lima, New York: International Orality Network / Elim Publishing, 2005

Lovejoy, G. That All May Hear (A Cape Town 2010 Advanced Paper offering an overview of orality, which was discussed at the Multiplex session on ‘How To Communicate the Truth to Four Billion Oral Learners’)

6 thoughts on “Bible and Orality

  1. The book that initially excited me about this whole area was Oral Communication of the Scripture by Herbert Klem; William Carey Library 1981/82. One of those monographs printed in Courier type. Amazon list it as unavailable. But if you can get a copy it is worth reading.

  2. Hi Tim

    I am reading ‘Making Disciples of Oral Learners’ (Lop 54 Lausanne), specifically the section on reproducibility which discusses ‘…whether a storying approach is viable for a sustained, indigenous-led church planting movement.’ The question that I would like to pose is, what would an indigenous church, one that focused on storying without being influenced by traditional church paradigm or literature, look like in Gloucester?

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