Understanding Scripture: Literary Forms
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We have mentioned that the Bible has to be read literally. And that by that we mean that we need to get the literal sense of the text and read it accordingly in order to get a proper understanding.
To clarify, we recognize that the Bible is written in a particular style or more accurately using a variety of styles. Just like literature. We need to identify these forms or genre in order to get and understand the sense of a particular passage of Scripture and determine its message to us.
The 2003 Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary defines genre as "a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content."
The key to understanding the Biblical text and as we will show later, avoiding wandering into error is to know the literary forms of Scripture.
Recognize the Literary Forms in Scripture
Different literary forms have different rules of interpretation (poetry, narrative)
Descriptive language - the language of appearances is used in the Bible particularly in Biblical narrative.
The Bible is not a textbook
Problems in Biblical Interpretation
Sermon text with italics and bold and John 3:16 and v. 20.
Anthropomorphic language -
- shows God's condescension because He uses a medium known to us to communicate with us.
the use of personal forms of description for bjecst
the use of
History vs. Myths
Text with an outline.
- Level 1
- Level 2
- Level 2
- Level 3