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Studying the Bible when you can’t read
November 2019

Mariana* takes care of her animals and her children in a tiny village in Eastern Europe. She’s hard-working and very capable, but she never learned to read.

Traditional Bible study as we think of it in the West doesn’t work for Mariana. She doesn’t feel comfortable joining the ladies’ Bible study that meets in her village, but she does want to learn more about the Lord. 

So one of our missionaries tapped into the power of the internet to offer Bible study in a way that communicates to Mariana. 

“We’re doing an inductive Bible study, but we’re doing it all orally. We listen to the Scripture through the Gateway Bible web page in Mariana’s language, and then we talk through the questions together,” our worker said. 

The Gateway Bible offers audio Bibles in 14 languages (and a variety of translations); Faith Comes by Hearing allows downloads in more than 1,300 languages. 

Of course, there are whole cultures without written languages that rely entirely on oral transmission of stories and information. That’s not the case where Mariana lives—but she is not alone! Even in countries that highly value literacy, some people will never learn to read well enough to feel comfortable studying the Bible in book form. God’s Word is for them, too. 

“I have chosen to do this method in hopes that she will see that though she can’t read, she can listen and understand. She can learn to ask questions and she can learn more about her relationship with God,” our worker said. “I absolutely love the time I have with Mariana.” 

*Not her real name



Millions of people in Europe remain unreached, whether they are lost in a post-Christian world or are recent immigrants from countries closed to the gospel witness. Learn more about SEND’s teams in Europe. 

Explore Europe

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