On the best ways to understand what a book is about is to read the book in question. As we read through the books of the Bible it is helpful to consider the structure of any book we read. These varying types of structures can be placed into 5 groups.
- Chronological structure records events in sequential order. Genesis is a good example of this type. Genesis starts with creation, then the fall, then with a developing nation.
- Biographical structure focuses on one person. In the book of Genesis we have examples such as: Abraham (12-24), Isaac (25-26), Jacob (27-36) and Joseph (37-50). In the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell of the life of Jesus.
- Geographical structure emphasizes the place. Exodus 1-18 records many physical markers as the Israelites make their way from Egypt to Sinai.
- Historical structure looks at key events. The conquering of the promised land is covered in Joshua. The middle history of Israel is recorded in I & II Kings and I & II Chronicles. Our recent Wed. night Bible class just covered the books of Ezra and Nehemiah who both followed the return of the exiles.
- Ideological structure focuses on a spiritual theme. The New Testament has many examples of this. Matthew depicts Jesus as the King. Jesus is the Suffering Servant in Mark. Luke in his gospel account shows us Jesus as the compassionate Son of Man. Jesus is the powerful Son of God in John.
These are but a few examples that help us understand the structure of what we are reading is as important as what we are reading. As you read though your Bible, consider the book context and consider the structure within that book.