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This lesson will provide you reasons for why you should study the Bible from a literary standpoint. When you are finished with this lesson, you will understand how the Bible can be a great literary resource.

Why Study the Bible?

You don’t have to have a religious affiliation to study the Bible, so why study the Bible? You should study the Bible to read stories that relate to human interest, to study a variety of literary genres, to discover examples of literary conflict, and to recognize a variety of literary techniques.The cool aspect about the Bible is that it is not only considered God’s Word by Christians, but it is also a collection of sixty-six books in an abundance of literary genres. In fact, the Greek word for Bible, biblios, means little books. Our working definition of literature today will be writings, in various forms, which universally invoke human interest.Let’s look more in-depth into the reasons why one should study the Bible.

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The Bible Relates to Human Interest

A question people have asked themselves and others for thousands of years is, ‘Where did we come from?’ According to the Bible, God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Another question people may ask is, ‘Why are we on this Earth?’ The Bible points out through various books, stories and people that we are on this Earth to serve God.When someone studies the Bible, they will learn about several aspects of the history of the world. Because the Bible is essentially a history book, the accounts of the Bible can be confirmed through other historical sources. The Bible describes cities, people, and events that provide a reader with a historical look into the past.In the process of studying the Bible, many questions about life and our purpose can/will be answered. The Bible essentially answers life’s tough questions through its sixty-six books and provides a look into history, which universally engages any reader.

The Bible Contains Various Literary Genres

The various literary genres that are contained within the Bible include:

  • Apocalyptic: This is found in Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Revelation.
  • Epistles: These are 21 letters (books) to the various churches instructing them. These are found in the New Testament.
  • History: The books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Acts.

  • Law: The genre of law is introduced in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
  • Narrative: Ruth, Esther, Jonah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are narratives that tell various stories.
  • Poetry: The use of poetry is found in Song of Solomon, Lamentations, and Psalms.

  • Prophecy: This is found in Isaiah through Malachi in the later section of the Old Testament.
  • Wisdom: Wisdom books include Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.

Do you know of any book that contains this many genres? The Bible is a collection of genres that one can read without having to read through several different books.

The Bible Contains Great Examples of Literary Conflict

Literary Conflict is defined as any struggle between two opposing forces. These types of conflicts are separated into two sections: external conflict and internal conflict. Let’s take a look at the different types of conflicts that exist within the Bible.

  • External Conflict
    • Man vs. Man: The story of David and Goliath is a great example of a man vs. man conflict. The mighty Goliath, representing the Philistines, was the undefeated warrior nobody wanted to fight. David, representing the Israelites, was so small he couldn’t put on any armor to fight Goliath.

      With God’s help, David defeated Goliath. This is a great underdog story that is relatable to those who feel like the underdog at times.

    • Man vs. Society: Jesus’ life is an example of a man vs.

      society conflict. Jesus was instituting a new system of Christianity that many Jews did not accept. The story of His conflicts with individuals against His teachings and ultimately His death on the cross show a great example of this type of conflict.

    • Man vs.

      Nature: The story of Noah and his ark is a great example of man vs. nature. The world had never seen rain, let alone a flood. When Noah was building a boat, people mocked him. When the rains and floods came, Noah and his family faced the man vs. nature conflict.

      The waters of nature killed the people not on the boat.

  • Internal Conflict
    • Man vs. Himself: Judas experienced the internal conflict of man vs. himself when he had to decide if he would take money to betray Jesus or protect Jesus. Judas ultimately chose the money and after seeing the outcome was very troubled.

      Ultimately, he could not forgive himself and his internal conflict led to him hanging himself.

The Bible Uses a Variety of Literary Techniques

Below is a list of literary techniques found in the Bible. This list is just a glimpse, though, of what is found in the Bible.Apostrophe- Psalm 43:5, ‘Why are you cast down, O my soul?’Hyperbole- Mark 9:43, ‘If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.

‘Idiom- Isaiah 40:15-‘Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket.’Imagery- Psalm 97:5-‘The mountains melt like wax before the Lord.’Metaphor- John 10:11-‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Personification- Psalm 77:16-‘The waters saw thee, O God.’Sound devices, such as alliteration and assonance, are found in the original Bible languages, including Hebrew, Aramaic, and/or Greek.Other literary devices found in the Bible include, but not limited to, allusion, paradox, simile, and symbolism.

Lesson Summary

The Bible is a great literary resource.

The Bible appeals to all mankind, contains a variety of literary genres, provides great examples of conflict, and uses a variety of literary techniques. The Bible is arguably one of the greatest collections of literature this world has seen.

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