How to read well: The Literary Nature of the Bible

We’ve established the fact that the Bible contains words that have to be read and reread and I’ve shared some of the ways that have helped me read biblical texts. Now, it’s time to finally talk about the literary nature of the Bible.

As I’ve been thinking about this introductory post about the literary genres of the Bible, I stumbled across the below video from the Bible Project, dealing with just that exact topic. So I thought, why withhold this excellent resource? And instead of offering 500 some words about the main genres and why they matter, I would instead like to direct our attention to the below 5-minute video.

Helpful, wasn’t it? In the coming weeks we will look at some specific genres, subgenres, and occasionally a unique book, more closely:

  1. How to read well: The Gospels
  2. How to read well: Parables
  3. How to read well: Ancient Letters
  4. How to read well: New Testament Historical Narrative
  5. How to read well: Old Testament Narratives
  6. How to read well: The Mosaic Law
  7. How to read well: The Prophets
  8. How to read well: The Psalms
  9. How to read well: Wisdom Literature
  10. How to read well: Apocalyptic Literature

Some of what I will be covering is based on the classic layman’s introduction on this topic: How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, written by Gordon Fee & Douglas Stuart. I reviewed their companion book, “How to Read the Bible Book by Book”, here. Rather than providing a word-heavy analysis of the genres, I will strive to offer concise but helpful things to look out for when reading a particular type of literature.

Grace & Peace


2 thoughts on “How to read well: The Literary Nature of the Bible

  1. The Bible Project and How to Read the Bible For All its Worth are wonderful resources. I’ve benefited a lot from both.

    Have you read Reading the Word of God in the Presence of God by Vern Poythress? He doesn’t talk a lot about genre, but I really appreciate his focus on redemptive-historical hermeneutics. It’s been really helpful for me.


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