Biblical Theology for Oral Cultures in World Mission

Bibliographic information:

Wu, Jackson. Chapter in World Mission: Theology, Strategy, and Current Issues. Edited by Scott Callaham and Will Brooks; Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019.



What difference does biblical theology make among oral peoples? By “oral peoples,” I refer to those for whom orality is their only or preferred means of communication. Therefore, this question not only concerns nonliterate tribes but also countless educated Westerners who hardly read except by necessity.

Therefore, this chapter explores how the church might apply biblical theology within oral cultures (and subcultures). Specifically, I will consider ways a biblical “grand narrative” can practically influence the church’s ministry across a variety of contexts. Not everyone agrees the Bible has an overarching narrative (rather than simply being a set of collected stories). Nor do all agree about how to discern such a story. Accordingly, the first section suggests such a process. The second section then outlines a broad framework for understanding the grand biblical narrative. Finally, the third section demonstrates the significance of these findings for ministering among oral peoples.


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