What Is the Role of Storytelling in Apologetics?

Storytelling can play a powerful role in apologetics. Consider the fact that storytelling is perhaps the primary means by which God has chosen to convey a large portion of His written revelation to us. While the Bible does not consist of only storytelling, It heavily relies upon story to push forward God’s redemptive purposes within the context of His workings with Israel, and by extension, the world. There is a reason why the stories of the Bible have captivated the minds of billions. While the Bible is very much a divine book, there is a human element within it that resonates with people. The stories along with its historical characters show us ourselves in many ways. We often read of imperfect men living imperfect lives and struggling pretty much with everything we in the modern world seem to struggle with. The stories of the Bible not only reflect the imperfections of man and his need for redemption, but it unfolds in dramatic fashion what God has done to provide that redemption which is so vitally needed.

Not only does the Bible provide masterful storytelling, but Jesus Christ, the master storyteller utilizes this medium in interesting and intriguing ways. Consider the many parables of Jesus. A parable is a simple story which seeks to teach a moral lesson. As simple stories, they teach clear and profound truths. They draw the listener into familiar territory that is easy to relate to while presenting profound divine truths as to the nature of the Kingdom of God. On the other hand, Jesus masterfully cloaked many of these truths from those who deemed themselves wise in their own eyes; and hence, these simple stories had the affect of being understood by the simple, but veiled to the self proclaimed wise. Furthermore, the power of story was often used to bring conviction of sin in powerful ways; a very important element of Gospel proclamation. For when we proclaim the Gospel it is necessarily connected to the fact that all men having sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Upon hearing the hard truth of man’s sinfulness, a presentation of the message of redemption shines beautifully through as the only remedy to man’s fallen state.

Within the context of apologetics, the goal is to defend the faith in a clear, powerful, and concise fashion. The truths we seek to convey can be skillfully presented when couched within the context of a story. Instead of regurgitating intellectual facts (which are themselves vitally important in the apologetic task), a story allows us to bring the listener along the journey of seeing their need of a savior. While this can be done in many creative ways, praise be to God that He has provided us with the greatest story ever told. and the amazing thing is that Its true. If we master the story that God has provided us In His Word, we can then learn to convey that age old story in new and creative ways that will hopefully be used to the glory of God in bringing people to the knowledge of God. When skillfully marshaled, the story of the Gospel can be applied in evangelistic fashion, while also being applied apologetically. A powerful story told powerfully can be just what is needed to plant the seeds of truth into the hard hearted sinner. The hope is that God uses our efforts along with His Spirit to open blinded eyes. In the final analysis, storytelling can play and has played a powerful role in the defense of the faith, and should be mastered and skillfully employed to the glory of God.

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