Original Research

The power of performing biblical text today: For trauma-healing, evangelism, discipleship and for supporting careful biblical study/translation

June F. Dickie
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2233 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2233 | © 2021 June F. Dickie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 March 2021 | Published: 20 July 2021

About the author(s)

June F. Dickie, Department of Biblical Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


Biblical texts were performed in Israel and current research shows many gains from performing biblical text today. This article, based on empirical studies, highlights four benefits. Firstly, multisensory communication engages the attention of the audience and enables them to remember the texts. This has an impact on evangelism/discipleship, reaching an audience not interested in reading. Secondly, as the actors study the text carefully, they discover its richness, resulting in enhanced discipleship. Thirdly, acting out a text requires one to make decisions about ambiguities in the text (e.g. concerning the emotional state of characters) and highlights to translators and Bible students where unintentional ambiguities might result in misunderstanding and where clarification is needed. Fourthly, performing biblical texts has great potential in the area of trauma healing.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: Through acting out a story (which includes traumas with which the audience will resonate) and by having a jester interrupt with questions, audience members have opportunity to engage with the situations. This can be helpful in promoting healing, in line with Herman’s three steps of trauma recovery. Thus, performance can support not only better biblical understanding but also pastoral ministry.


performance; community involvement; trauma healing; discipleship; evangelism


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