What to expect:

If you think storytelling, or its bigger brother orality, is just for tribal and peasant people, think again. This course investigates and demonstrates the genius of the narrative/story genre for those, yes, who can’t read, but also for growing multitude who can read, but do very little of it. Class members will participate in storytelling, design a seminar on the missiological applications of narrative, and write a major paper or create a video/project or develop a series of culturally relevant lessons that emphasize the narrative medium in areas such as evangelism, business, ESL, church planting, apologetics, homiletics, community development, leadership and followership development, counseling, research. The grand tour question for this course is: Why is it important to know the role of story in Scripture and service?

By the complete of this learning experience, you will have increased skills to:

  • Articulate a personal philosophy of narrative.

  • Communicate the gospel through story.

  • Analyze stories for structure and values.

  • Analyze stories for cross-cultural effectiveness

Reserve your spot now

Be notified when the course goes live in:

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What's inside the course:

  1. 1
    • Welcome to this Ephesiology Master Class

    • How to use the course player

    • Introduction to Teaching in Oral Cultures

    • Course Description and Objectives

    • Before we begin...

  2. 2
    • Instructions

    • Student Assignments

    • Rubric for Asynchronous Discussion Participation

    • Rubric for Book Review

    • Writing Academic Book Reviews

    • Rubric for Final Research Project

    • Writing a Seminary Paper

    • Required Textbooks and Articles

    • Course Bibliography

    • Resources for Academic Research

    • Writing & Style Guides

    • Extra Credit

  3. 3
    • What to expect in this session

    • Task 1

    • Class Benefits and Challenges

    • Excursus: Why Words are Important

  4. 4
    • What to expect in this session

    • Task 2

    • Critiquing the Theologies and Narrative Theology

  5. 5
    • What to expect in this session

    • Bible as Literature

  6. 6
    • What to expect in this session

    • Meet the Theoreticians

  7. 7
    • What to expect in this session

    • Task 3

    • Distinguishing Factors of Orality

  8. 8
    • What to expect in this session

    • Bible as Story

    • Theme of the Bible - Assignment 1

    • Theme of the Bible - Assignment 2

  9. 9
    • What to expect in this session

    • Task 4

    • The Storyline - Why Needed

    • The Storyline - A Model

    • Chronological Bible Storying

  10. 10
    • What to expect in this session

    • Task 5

    • The Storyteller

    • Faith Stories

  11. 11
    • What to expect in this session

    • Bible's Storylands

    • Mariner's Storylands

  12. 12
    • What to expect in this session

    • Task 6

    • The Storysmith

  13. 13
    • What to expect in this session

    • Oral Hermeneutics - Part 1

    • Oral Hermeneutics - Part 2

    • The Need for Oral Hermeneutics

    • The Return of Oral Hermeneutics

  14. 14
    • What to expect in this session

    • Task 7

    • Live Zoom Classroom

  15. 15
    • Final Reflections

    • Class Survey

    • Before you go...

    • Want to go further? Here's what's next.

  16. 16
    • Reading, Reflections, and Class Lessons

    • Participation

The Return of Oral Hermeneutics

As Good Today as it was for the Hebrew Bible and First-Century Christianity

Have Western exegetes turned an Eastern book into a Western one? Has our fondness for a fixed printed text capable of being analyzed with precision and exactitude blinded us to other hermeneutic possibilities? Does God require all people to be able to analyze grammar to interpret Scripture? Does God assume all people can interpret Scripture through oral means? The authors recognize the effects of centuries of literacy socialization that produced a blind spot in the Western Christian world—the neglect by most in the academies, agencies, and assemblies of the foundational and forceful role orality had on the biblical text and teaching. From the inspired spoken word of the prophets, including Jesus (pre-text), to the elite literate scribes who painstakingly hand-printed the sacred text, to post-text interpretation and teaching, the footprint of orality throughout the entire process is acutely visible to those having the oral-aural influenced eyes of the Mediterranean ancients. Could oral hermeneutics be the “mother of relational theology”?

Meet Dr. Tom Steffen

Author and Missiologist

Tom Steffen

Dr. Steffen served 20 years with New Tribes Mission, 15 of those in the Philippines. He is Professor Emeritus of Intercultural Studies in the Cook School of Intercultural Studies at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He specializes in church multiplication, orality, honor and shame, and business as mission. Some of his books include: Reconnecting God’s Story to Ministry: Cross-Cultural Storytelling at Home and Abroad, Worldview-based Storying: The Integration of Symbol, Story, and Ritual in the Orality Movement, and The Return of Oral Hermeneutic: As Good Today as It Was for the Hebrew Bible and First Century Christianity.

Are you ready to change your world?

It's not simply about what you know in your head, but what you believe in heart and do with your hands so that you are motivated and equipped to lead movements.