Resources Chronological Bible Stories
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An Introduction to Chronological Bible Stories

CBS was developed by New Tribes Mission. They discovered tribes that claimed to be Christian but who had in fact just added a Christian veneer to their previous beliefs. Some of the missionaries realized that they didn’t understand the basics of the Bible and decided to start at the beginning (always a good place to start). I had heard about this method for years but had always assumed it was only for illiterate, tribal people. It wasn’t until I heard it for myself and decided to try it that I became aware of its potential. It was a big change for me to move from Bible study to storying as an initial evangelism and discipleship method. It was hard work to change but I changed because I saw a wide range of people respond positively to hearing the gospel in story form. It was much easier to start and continue a gospel conversation. People who wouldn’t listen to any other form of communication loved CBS.


I will send a starting script with this introduction. It is only a model that you can adapt to suit your situation. CBS is always to be TOLD and NOT READ. The best way I’ve found is to read the story and then think about its main section and then practice out loud telling the story until you are confident with it. Particularly practice the ‘bridges’ between sections of the story. For example, “Noah’s children had children and they had children until another generation.” You can gain further practice by practicing with a Christian that you feel comfortable with. The more you practice before you use them with non-Christian’s the better.

You need to think carefully about your audience and adapt the length, illustrations, language and questions to suit your particular listeners. The dialogue and review questions in the model I send were written for a culture where they’ve never learnt to ask questions and are designed to help people learn to think and question. PhD students could be asked much deeper questions and you might choose to do part story and part Bible study or even Bible study every second week on the previous weeks story sections.

Don’t be afraid of changing your voice, acting or using visual aids. The aim is to communicate in any way you can.

Each story needs to finish in a way that keeps the listeners interested in hearing the next story. Other stories can be added, as long as they teach more about the salvation story or are essential for the culture to clear up misunderstandings of their world.

The review questions will help you know if the listeners are understanding and remembering the stories.


I have done more thinking and reading of the Bible since I started CBS then ever before. It is important to get the stories right and not to add meaning to the text. I was not happy with the text I received and so have adapted it. I’m sure my text still has errors in it. Make sure that you go back to the Bible and check! For example, I have heard people say of the Genesis 3 story something like, “an animal died rather than Adam and Eve and God gave the animal skins to them for clothing!” I see nothing in the text that justifies this enormous leap of interpretation. God graciously gave animal skins to Adam and Eve. PERHAPS it was simply because leaves were inadequate as clothing!

I think it is very important to differentiate between the words, “the Bible says” and our guesses or interpretations. For the second category I use words like “perhaps”, “maybe”, “possibly.” I also often say something like, “the Bible doesn’t directly tell us what the image of God means but it probably includes …..”

If at all possible, I urge people and show them where to find the section to read for ‘homework’ the Bible for themselves. With week 1 it is important to warn them that the story of Satan’s rebellion isn’t found in Genesis but is drawn from sections all over the Bible. (NB This is the section that I’ve most struggled with. After much thought I’m happy to say what is in the paragraph I wrote on this story).

It is important to always welcome comments that challenge us. Always take these challenges back to the Bible and be willing to change the story if necessary. That demonstrates that it is the Bible, not our own thoughts, that have first place.


Listeners will increasingly ask questions. It is important that we only answer questions from within the stories they’ve already heard. Often we can ask back, “what do you think would have happened?” Increasingly the listener will be able to answer their own questions.

If they ask questions whose answers will be in future stories just say, “story 5 or 6 or 7 will answer that question.” This will help them want to listen to the future stories. Keeping the element of suspense and expectation is a good thing.


Here is also the training video (password is 'training') which explains how to prepare a story from the biblical text.

Last Updated on Sunday, 06 November 2011 13:50

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