Understanding Genres of the Bible Point Us to Accurate Interpretation


A key to accurately interpreting Scripture is to consider what kind of genre the particular book or passage is written in. For instance, how we interpret the meaning behind the Psalms is different from how we might interpret something from II Chronicles. This is because the two books are written in completely different literary genres.

The Bible is a collection of many books telling one unified story, and these books are written in different styles. It’s a little like walking into a bookstore and seeing different categories of books such as history, biography, poetry, and non-fiction. When you peruse these different types of books, you will have different expectations as you read them.

The following genres are represented Scripture:

Narrative (comprises 43 percent of the Bible)

Poetry (comprises 33 percent of the Bible)

Discourse (comprises 24 percent of the Bible)

In the following video, the Bible Project explains why these particular genres are important and why God chose them to communicate the greatest story ever. Enjoy, study, and be changed.

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