Textbooks on world religions offer a vast amount of factual information that often overwhelms undergraduate students. Because they get lost in detail, the students find it difficult to appropriate the religious traditions into their own experience. Is there a different approach to the religions—one that does not get too bogged down in historical dates or various philosophical movements, yet still remains academically respectable—that might better help them to appreciate the religious traditions? I want to suggest that one possible method might be to study selected key passages from the scriptures of the various religions, in particular their stories (rather than other literary forms). Such stories, whether narratives or parables, exist in the scriptures of all the major world religions. Carefully selected for their transformative and paradigmatic power, these stories easily lead into discussions of doctrines, rituals, ethics, and the other phenomenological dimensions of religion. More importantly, certain basic themes in these stories—desire for the direct experience of God, forgiveness, martyrdom, duty, balance of self-nature-society, and self-forgetfulness, for example—transcend their formulation in any one specific world religion. Student awareness of these and other archetypal themes is a healthy step in appropriating the cultural and spiritual life of their own religious traditions.