Creative Bible Time - Writing a Short Story

Looking for a creative way to get into your Bible? Try writing a short story! Includes prompts and ideas to get you started.

We serve such a creative God. Jesus loved to preach in stories. The Bible is one big connected story. If the Lord we serve is so creative, why does spending time with him sometimes feel so bland?

Maybe because God wants to throw a little of our own creativity into the mix!

Before you start in with the “But I’m not creative!” arguments, I’m going to stop you right there and tell you that you are created in the image of God. God is creative, and so you are, too. Sometimes it just takes a little practice.

I enjoy spending time with God doing creative things, and once in a while I try to fit something new into my quiet time. One day I was thinking it would be fun to fit more writing into my quiet times, and that very same day I read a passage that inspired me to write a short story.

I know I didn’t quite convince you that you’re a creative person with that image of God thing above (even though it’s super true), and now you’re getting a little intimidated by this whole creative writing thing. You haven’t written anything since high school.

(Or maybe you love writing, and you just want me to get to the point already! Okay, okay.)

God is creative. Creative in all the ways. He just loves making art, in all its forms. And I think when He created us, he made us to enjoy art, too.

We connect to art in a way that’s different from how we connect to anything else. Art (paintings, photographs, poems, novels, film, etc) make us think about things we hadn’t thought about before, in ways we hadn’t thought before. Art makes us feel.

The Bible is full of all different genres – poetry, history, parables, and more. Different forms help us understand concepts in different ways. Reading these different forms can help us connect to these ideas, but writing these different forms takes it to a whole different level.

To write about something you have to understand it in a deeper way than merely reading it. Writing helps you interact with the material and gain a deeper understanding.

There are many kinds of different short stories you can write while spending time in the Bible. Let me give you a few ideas to get you started.

Based on a Story

This is an easy one to start with. (You can see an example of one I did here.) Find a story in the Bible and dramatize it.

If you don’t know all the historical context and cultural behaviours – don’t worry about it too much. Try to grasp the message behind the story. You can even modernize it if you want to.

How to Select a Story

The Bible is full of stories and picking one to write about might be a little tricky! Ultimately, you’re just going to have to be a decision maker in the end and pick one, but here are some things to think about to help you choose.

  • What’s your favourite Bible story? (ex. Jesus’ birth, Jesus’ resurrection, Paul and Silas in prison, Noah’s Ark)

  • Who’s your favourite Bible character? (ex. Moses, Peter, Ruth, Esther)

  • What story are you currently reading/read most recently? (...I can’t give you suggestions for that one. That’s all on you.)

  • What’s a story that you’ve read/heard a million times, but want to rediscover some wonder for? (the parting of the Red Sea, Jonah, The Parable of the Lost Son)

  • What’s a story that you’re not familiar with and want to discover more about? (Daniel after the Lion’s Den – familiar character, not so familiar part of the story, Paul’s missionary journeys)

  • What’s a character that you’re not familiar with and want to discover more about? (King Saul, Hosea, James)

  • Do you want to write about a story from the Old Testament or New Testament?

  • Do you want to write a story before Jesus, during Jesus, or after Jesus?

Hopefully that’s given you a starting point and gotten the wheels turning.

Some Things to Think About When Writing

Now that you’ve picked a story, here are some things to consider while you’re thinking about what to write.

  • What do you already know?

  • When is this taking place?

  • Who all is there?

  • What’s happening?

  • Where is this?

  • How are the characters feeling about what’s going on?

  • What impact did this event have on the people involved?

  • What message can you take from the story/what is the deeper meaning?

Writing a story based on a story can help you dig into the “behind the scenes” and understand more of what’s really going on.

Based on a Passage

As full as the Bible is of stories, there is also a lot in the Bible that isn’t narrative. We’ve got poetry, advice, prophecy, letters. All sorts of things that you may not initially think of making into a story.

How to Select a Passage

Now, keep in mind, this is kind of a level up on creativity. With a story based on a story, well...you kind of had the whole story to go off of. Writing a story like this, the inspiration comes from the passage, and the plot is coming from you.

Poetry

Choose from one of the bigger books of poetry, like Psalms (The Psalms describe such a range of feelings, you’re sure to find a Psalm to inspire you in whatever season you’re in. Try Psalm 22, 34, or 139. Check out a story here where I have some Psalm 23 inspired imagery.) or Song of Solomon (who doesn’t love a good love story?).

There are also smaller sections of poetry that you can sometimes find within the stories, where characters break out into song. Let the words of their songs inspire you beyond the story. (Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Mary’s Song in Luke 1:46-55)

Advice, Prophecy, Letters

Kind of a catch all for the rest of the Bible here. Choose a book, a chapter, or just a verse. And let your imagination run wild. What would it look like as a story that actually happened? How would it look applied to a situation in life? What could be going on in the lives of the characters writing or receiving the message?

(Some ideas for you to try: Proverbs 1 or 31, Philippians, Revelation.)

Some Things to Think About When Writing

  • What do you already know?

  • Who was this written to?

  • Who was this written by?

  • What was going on behind the scenes?

  • What impact did this message have on the people involved?

  • What message can you take from the passage/what is the deeper meaning?

  • What does this passage make you think of in your own life (a memory, a person, etc)?

Based on a Concept

There are themes all throughout the Bible that can inspire you to write a story. Betrayal, forgiveness, separation, salvation, warfare, love. What are some general concepts that you find repeating in the Bible that can spark a story? (The story I wrote here was based around the themes of forgiveness and redemption.)

Some Things to Think About When Writing

  • What do you already know?

  • Where does this idea come up in the Bible?

  • What is being said about this idea?

  • What impact did this message have on the people who first heard it?

  • What message can you take from the concept/what is the deeper meaning?

  • What does this idea make you think of in your own life (a memory, a person, etc)?

Now Write

Get as creative or keep it as simple as you like! Remember, this doesn’t have to be the next modern classic. You don’t even have to show anyone what you write. This is just a fun, new way to connect with God and His word. Getting creative in the time we spend with God helps us to uncover more meaning in the scripture that we read and relate to our Creator in ways we may not have tried before. God loves stories, so why not try writing one to connect with Him?

What creative ways do you enjoy spending time with God?

If you try writing a story, I’d love to know what part of the Bible you used to inspire you! Comment below!

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