Sharing Scripture through stories

By Peter O’Loghlin  |  Wycliffe Today Spring Edition 2020  |

Peter O’Loghlin

I got talking to a bored-looking security guard at a store. After chatting about the job of a guard I asked, ‘Did you ever read the story about the guards who were executed because they let the man they were guarding escape?’ The man looked interested: ‘No!’ ‘It’s in the Bible! Let me tell you the story.’ (You’ll find it in Acts 12.) Another day, passing a cemetery, I said to my passenger, ‘Did you hear about the man who used to live in a cemetery, in what is now called the Golan Heights?’ (That one is in Mark 5.) 

Day by day the Holy Spirit gives opportunities to share stories from God’s Word with those who are prepared to take them. Rev David Jones, then Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, said, ‘Bible storytelling is a brilliant way for all kinds of people in all kinds of situations to share the Word of God in an enjoyable and non-threatening way’. As OMF missionary Christine Dillon points out:

Many evangelistic methods, such as evangelistic sermons or courses that investigate Christianity, can only be done with people who already want to know more about the Bible or are at least comfortable enough to participate.  Storying allows us to share the gospel with hearers who are anti-Christian or haven’t yet considered that Jesus could be relevant to their lives.¹

Wycliffe Bible Translators Australia has been conducting workshops for some years now on how to craft and present a Bible story that is Simple, Accurate and Memorable—SAM, to use Wycliffe’s acronym. As veteran Wycliffe member Keith Benn says: 

A billion people around the world cannot read the Bible for the simple reason that it has not yet been translated into their language. They could ‘hear the Scriptures’ if someone told them a Bible story. But more than that, millions of people in Australia and elsewhere are unlikely to ever read the Bible until they are convinced that it is true. Bible storytelling is a way to expose them to the gospel long before they are ready to read it. Through Bible storytelling, I was able to share the gospel with more people in four years than I had done in the previous 40 forty years before I learned the skill of storytelling.

See for information about Bible Storytelling workshops planned for the coming months.

Over the years, Bible storytelling has given me more opportunities to personally share God’s Word with people outside the family of faith than anything else I have encountered. As God himself tells us, As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish … so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV).


¹ Dillon, C. 2014. Telling the Gospel through Story. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 24.

White cockatoo, black crow

By Rachel Borneman

My Indigenous nanna, Rachael, and I were sitting on a rug outside a Women’s Conference in 2009. Rachael was sharing about how she saw a black crow and white cockatoo flying together and it reminded her of God’s call for his people to work together in unity.

While she was still speaking, someone called out ‘Rachel’ and both of our heads turned. Because I am a muninga (whitefella), my nick name then became ‘white cockatoo’ and the other Rachael became known as ‘black crow’.

A few years later, Wendy (Rachael’s sister) shared with us, first to her sister Rachael W (black crow), ‘You know how you’re living in Adelaide? Well, you are learning whitefella way, just like how your last name starts with W.’

Then she turned to me, saying, ‘You know how your last name starts with B? Well, you’re learning blackfella way by living in Katherine, learning Kriol, and the Indigenous way of life.’

It is special to have a connection to my nanna Rachael, not just through our given names but also through the bond of friendship we share as the white cockatoo and black crow.

Stories: a common link

Wycliffe Today – June 2019 (PDF

By Sharna Steinert

Sharna has recently joined the SIL Australia team. This is her story of transition.

I had no idea where the path would lead when I became a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators Australia. I wanted to be part of the work of Bible translation and thought I would most likely head to Papua New Guinea. I eventually accepted a role in Spain as a literacy specialist for an existing translation project. After a drawn-out visa process, God closed that door.

After a lot of prayer over a few possibilities, I accepted the role of Communications and Marketing Officer for SIL Australia. I have been around SIL Australia as a student and as teaching staff for Launch and I am enjoying getting to know the team better as we share about the work of SIL Australia.

What do these turns in the path have in common? Stories. Translation work makes God’s story available in a language. Literacy helps people share stories in their language in written form, and read God’s story for themselves. Communications and marketing are about sharing the story of an organisation, its staff and the work they do.


Thanks for your patience...

Waiting is hard, isn't it. But imagine waiting 2000 years for Scripture in your language! Thanks for your patience. And thanks for your generous support which will help bring the long wait to an end...