The Power of the Spoken Word

What would cause a village elder from a different religion to present his grandson for training in the way of Jesus? For the man in this story, it was simply hearing the Scriptures spoken aloud by “unschooled, ordinary” people (see Acts 4:13 NIV).

In West Africa, one of the poorest regions in the world, many villagers are illiterate. Isaac and Rebekah*, a Navigator couple in who live in the area, have adapted their Discipling for Development ministry accordingly. Isaac and Rebekah were burdened to spread the Gospel of hope and disciple new believers on how to grow in their relationship with God, eventually transforming lives through “spiritual generations.”

Therefore, Isaac and Rebekah have taught the Word of God orally, the most effective and “pass-on-able” method available.

The Navigators recently held a conference in West Africa. One day Rebekah invited 22 of the conferees, all literate, to visit the village where she had been helping a team of women memorize Bible stories. Sixty people from the village joined the 22 literate conferees to hear Rebekah’s team of uneducated, illiterate village women retelling story after story from the Word. The visitors were captivated.

A village elder of a different religion owned the center where the meeting took place; the women’s storytelling moved him as well. He declared, “I am astonished to hear these illiterate women speaking the Scriptures in this way. Simple and clear. One day I may come with my family to learn this way.”

Two days later this elder brought his grandson to Isaac and Rebekah and told them, “This young man is now your spiritual son. I give him to you with all my heart. He must follow your religion.”

The women in Isaac and Rebekah’s ministry are modeling an oral approach to sharing the Word of God that transforms lives. It also allows unschooled, ordinary people to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ from one spiritual generation to the next.

For more information about whole-life discipleship visit Navigators Discipling for Development.

*Names changed for security reasons.

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