The Dramaible Study: What is it and why?

It’s just a catch phrase, but a dramaible study is simply the combination of Drama to the Bible Study. It works especially well with biblical narratives, in that we can get a force of the story, but as I saw in for the Book of Revelation, it has possibilities within apocalyptic literature (like Revelation/Daniel) and even perhaps the Epistles.

To use a dramaible study, it is essential to understand (to get a feel for) how the earliest readers would have responded to the text (usually audibly read). In fact, understanding “original” author/reader are the key to understanding any biblical text. Of course, one may argue (as many have) that recovering the original reader/author is actually a creation (man-made subjectivity). However, I argue (as many have before me) that firstly it is not so impossible to recover (adequately) author’s intention and he reader’s world… but it is more a faith-hermeneutic… meaning, we try to understand the Bible in this way because we BELIEVE that is how it is best understood.

Anyway… back to the dramaible study… the effort of the “story teller” or the actors, is to convey a sense (or recreate a sense) of how the text would have affected/effected its readers. There would be certain nuances highlighted… certain reactions expressed… etc.


It is not so impossible to recover (adequately) author’s intention and the reader’s world… but it is more a faith-hermeneutic… meaning, we try to understand the Bible in this way because we BELIEVE that is how it is best understood.

For instance, the most common example of a dramatic engagement with the text is the enacting of the Good Samaritan story in many Christian youth retreats (and even many Bible colleges). Usually today’s church identifies itself with the Good Samaritan, when actually, according to the mood of the story, we need to be identifying with the pharisees (and jews) hearing the story; because the story is meant to shock the listeners.

So one alternative dramatic skit could depict a “good samaratan” story that surprises the audience with a “bad” samaritan. Then the skit could alternatively depict a “good” Levite/priest/jew… something we don’t expect anymore. etc.

However even this rendition is sometimes too extreme. The point of bringing drama into a bible study context is indeed to engage with the biblical text. The use of drama for understanding the Bible I believe is useful and perhaps even extremely important in helping us (especially small groups) understand the written text. Thus I believe that even if we recreat the biblical story faithfully, either through narration, or through dramatic acting, there are possibilities of helping us understand the biblical text more deeply. One of the beginning tools within such attempts is a skit.

A skit is a short play (my drama teacher Mr. Reagal used to be against the word ‘skit’). A skit can enrich our egagement with the text. It is my belief that skits provide a disarming and unique perspective into Bible stories (especially if they’re smartly written). And thus as an alternative to ‘preaching’ they have the ability (if used wisely) to impact biblical interpretation and understanding. I’ll probably explain more later, but try it out and see.

I have offered example of skit that are precursors of such a dramaible studies (where one would engage more directly with the text). Or a study itself. These skits shows how at least drama/skits can help get us started towards an engagement with the text. I wrote these skits for small bible studies like the one mentioned in the previous post.
Of course these skits need to be adapted for different contexts if people want to use it. Anyone is free to use it and adapt it. If you’re using it, you don’t even need to give me credit. Only, don’t say that you wrote it and of course allow others do to freely do the same for your work. Needless to say, they are not to be taken too seriously.

Skit-links

Christmas | Birth of Jesus (part II) | Birth of Jesus (Part III) | Bollywood Birth

Bible Study Introductions Genealogies | Diving into Revelation | (More Coming soon… updated list on side-link)

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Philippians 2:11-13 (NIV) (12)Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13)for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

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