Over 4 billion people are oral learners

By February 26, 2013

India (MNN) — Last week we talked about the concept of orality. According to International Orality Network, there are about 4.35 billion "oral learners" worldwide. Whether by necessity or preference, they learn through stories, skits, songs, chants, narratives, and poetry.

A teacher with International Steward, who studied theology in undergraduate school, has a Master's degree in divinity and his Ph.D. in Bible and Discipleship Studies says orality has helped him reach out to the people of India.

"I adopted telling stories, and when I started to tell stories to my people, they understood the message very well, because storytelling is a part of their life and community."

The teacher is from Orissa, India. After getting his Bible education, he went back to his people to preach the good news of Jesus, but he found that they didn't understand him. After a while, he changed his method of teaching, realizing orality was the method Jesus used.

"When Jesus was in the world, 95% of His audience were oral people who could not read or write. So he adopted a method of telling stories and parables to them," he explains. "That way, the unfathomable wisdom of heaven was brought down to lay people in simple language. That’s what we do in oral communication of the Gospel to our people."

By telling the Gospel in story form, many people have begun to understand what a relationship with Jesus is like.

"It's amazing to see how these illiterate people print the Bible in story form in their hearts," the teacher says. "The stories change their lives; they go and live that story out in their practical living."

Even though people can now grasp the Gospel message, he says many challenges remain. People must get the government's approval before they can convert to Christianity.

"You have to show your desire to them. They would nod, they would say 'okay,' and then you could do it," he explains. "It's very difficult for people to believe in, and the people are very rigid."

Pray for this teacher as he continues to share the Gospel to the people of India in story form. Pray that more people will adopt to this method if it means bringing more people to Christ.

In the teacher's words, "Let us unite together in taking this Gospel to every nation in a way that they would understand."

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