In recent years, various oral strategies have been successfully used around the world to reach previously unreached cultures. Mission agencies have been reevaluating how they approach regions where the majority of people are oral communicators and learners. Below are a few facts about the need for oral strategies.
- There are over 7,300 known language groups in the world today. Among these language groups, over 4,000 have little or no access to the Bible.
- It is estimated that over 90% of the world’s Christian workers presenting the gospel use highly literate communication styles. They use the printed page, or expositional, analytical communication styles. This makes it difficult for oral learners to hear and understand the message and communicate it with others.
- An Oral Bible facilitates the translation of Scripture.
According to Wycliff Bible Translators:
“The Bible is a long, complex book written in a different time and culture, and producing an accurate rendition in another language is a tall order not to be taken lightly! For this reason, a full Bible translation can take 30 years or longer, and a New Testament alone can take from 5-20 years to complete.”
Do we wait until the Scripture is translated into the mother tongue before we engage an unreached culture? Or do we charge ahead hoping that we can make some connection with their culture and hopefully reach someone?
If we chose to engage an unreached culture, then the major question becomes, how do we give a clear and understandable presentation of the gospel to a people group who are primarily oral learners? The answer is Bible Storying. Bible Storying not only allows the Church Planter to immediately engage the culture, but his method of engagement is congruent with their learning and communication style.
The primary basis for learning in an oral culture is by telling stories. As the Bible stories are learned and passed on, an oral Bible begins to develop. When it comes time to translate the scripture the time is greatly reduced, because all the difficult concepts and ideas are already worked out through the storying process.
In response to this, Great Company of Publishers is helping to fund an original project called the Wordless Panoramic Bible. This beautifully illustrated pictorial Bible uses illustrations (panoramas) as an aid for Bible storying. Each panorama will serve as a memory aid for stories throughout the Bible. For more information on how you can be part of providing God’s message, in pictorial form, to those who cannot read visit https://gcpublishers.org/wordless-panoramic-bible.