The Literary Context

The context of any work of literature makes all the difference. In this section of understanding the context, we will discuss the varying types of literature found in the Bible.

God’s word is so diversified that the Bible is used in college level courses to show differing types of writing. This diversification can cause problems for the casual Bible reader who does not take into account the type of literature he or she is reading. We will consider how every book of the Bible fits into nine different literary categories.

  • Genesis – Deuteronomy: History and Law (literal, legal interpretation)
  • Joshua – Esther: Historical narration (literal interpretation, biographical lessons).
  • Job, Psalms, Song of Solomon: Poetry.
  • Lyrical – like a song (Psalms)
  • Instructional – teaches principles (Proverbs)
  • Dramatic – tells a story in poetic form (Song of Solomon)
  • Proverbs, Ecclesiastes: Wise sayings. These general truths were based on experience and observation.
  • Isaiah – Malachi: History, Prophecy and Poetry (various interpretation rules)
  • Matthew – John: Biography, History, and Parable. Matthew, Mark, and Luke record about 40 parables.
  • Acts: Church History and Conversion Case Studies (literal interpretation)
  • The Epistles: Teaching and Doctrine (literal interpretation)
  • Revelation: Eschatology (Study of final things) and Prophecy (figurative interpretation)

Hopefully this overview of all the books of the Bible will help in identifying the Literary Context.

Source: Look at the context by Allen Webster; The Spiritual Sword, Volume 45, July 2014, #4