This thesis investigates the engagement of a traditionally oral people with printed religious text. It is a case study of the Huli people within the Evangelical Church of Papua New Guinea and their reading the Christian Scriptures which has been translated into their own Huli language. The acquired reading skills of the Huli who possess copies of the Scriptures reveal an exceeding diversity, ranging from nil to fluency in the vernacular to primary schooling level of reading in English. The basic approach is socio-theological. Nevertheless, both the theoretical and methodological frameworks are interdisciplinary. Insights from other disciplines, such as linguistics, socio-linguistics, psycho-linguistics, reading theory, and theory of translation, however, are used in contingent areas to inform that primary approach. The problems investigated stem from extant hypotheses concerning differences between the oral and written modes of language, both psychologically in cognition and communicationally in transmission of messages. A multi-methodological approach is taken, making use of both qualitative and quantitative methods, as is usual in ethnography and social anthropology. The research includes investigation into the segment of Huli society which possesses copies of the Huli Scriptures, factors contributing to the motivation to own Bibles, and the acquisition of literacy skills, both in Huli and English. The dynamics of the historical, social and religious contexts are taken into account; and the process by which Huli Christians became literate, the process and methods used in translating the Scriptures, the processes used by the missionaries in both communicating the Christian message and training Huli Christians in ministry are all demonstrated to be contingent factors affecting the way the Huli engage with, and understand, their Bibles. Some of these factors include the orthographic design and the spelling system; the introduction of literacy and the design and context of the literacy programme; the locations in which reading skills are acquired; participation in the Scripture translation process; knowledge of content acquired orally and the cognitive and experiential ‘schemata’ of the reader, particularly that of being ‘biblically literate’; and, of extreme importance, literate acts not occurring solely as private isolated events, but occurring in conjunction with oral speech acts in community (an admixture of oral and literate modes occurring together in symbiosis in single social communicative events). An unexpected finding is the minimal ownership and use of the vernacular Scriptures by those Huli whose primary literacy acquisition was in English in the schooling context, and their inability to transfer literacy skills to the Huli text, whether reading the Scriptures or writing letters.