How to Read the Bible: What is the Bible?

Courtesy: Bible Project / Source: YouTube

The Bible is the small library of books, that all emerged out of the history of the people of ancient Israel. Prophets, expertly crafted the Hebrew language to write epic narratives, very sophisticated poetry, they were the masters of metaphor, and storytelling, and they leveraged all these things to explore life’s most complicated questions about death, life and the human struggle. There are lot of different authors who have written these texts and produced over a thousand year period.

The Jewish Bible: In Hebrew, it’s called by an acronym “TANAKH”. The “T” stands for “Torah” (“the law”.) That’s Israel’s 5 book foundation story. The “N” stands for “Nevi’im”, the Hebrew word for “prophets”, and this section consists of the historical books that tell Israel’s story from the “prophets” point of view, then you get the poetic books of the prophet themselves. The “K” stands for “Ketuvim” – the Hebrew word for “writings”. This is a diverse collection of poetic books, wisdom books and more narrative.

The Catholic Church eventually made it official and called some of the books from this collection the “deuterocanonical books”. Some Orthodox Churches used even more books from the Second Temple literature, and then in the 1,500’s during the Reformation, Protestant Christians wanted to go back to the oldest writings of the prophets and apostles, so they accepted only the Old and New Testaments.

How to Read the Bible: Biblical Story

Courtesy: Bible Project / Source: YouTube

Bible is an important book with many books written in a long period time but altogether tell a one unified story. Biblical Story of the Bible brings all of the books together. Each book contains different kind of literature that contributes the story in a unique way.

The Biblical story begins with beautiful mind author GOD, who created Humanity in His own image with a choice between good and evil, series of crossroad decisions. All humanity, followed by the Israelites, redefine good and evil and end up in Babylon. Then man and woman who came out of Babylon Abraham and Sarah, God Promises from them will come a new people, nation that has a chance to make right choice. They are followed by Jesus, who takes a different path that opens up the way to a new creation.

How to Read the Bible: Literary Styles

Courtesy: Bible Project / Source: YouTube

In this video you’ll learn that reading the Bible wisely requires us to learn about the ancient literary styles used by the biblical authors.

Main types of Literature in the Bible are:

  • Narrative: It makes up a 43% of the Bible. A good story always involves some kind of conflict/challenge and some kind of resolution. We are supposed to see our lives in the Bible character lives, which helps us to see our lives and failures from a new perspective. There are different types of narrative in the Bible: Narrative Parables, short biographical narratives like the four gospels.
  • Poetry: It makes up a 33% of the Bible. Poems mainly speak through dense creative language, linking together images to help us envision the world differently. There are different types of poetry in the Bible: Songs/Psalms, reflective poetry in the wisdom books, the passionate resistance poetry of the prophets.
  • Prose Discourse: Which makes up the remaining 24% of the Bible. These are speeches, letters, or essays. The focus here is building a sequence of ideas or thoughts into one linear argument that requires a logical response. Biblical discourse is found in law collection, in wisdom literature and the letters written by the apostles.

How to Read the Bible: Ancient Jewish Meditation Literature

Courtesy: Bible Project / Source: YouTube

Bible is collection of books written in different literary style like Narrative, Poetry and Prose. Bible that is meant to draw its readers into a lifelong journey of reading and meditation. The Bible is designed as a multi-layered work, offering new levels of insight as you re-read it and allow each part to help you understanding every other part. The Bible is the original meditation literature. Each time period produces its own kind of literature. In order to read Bible, we need to keep in mind that it was produced in ancient Jewish literature. Each part of the story in Bible loaded with ambiguities but make sense. This is literary genius of the Bible, it forces you to keep reading and interpret each part in the light of others.

The Bible is the original meditation literature. In Hebrews the Meditation means to mutter or speak quietly, that means every day for rest of your life you slowly quietly read the Bible and then talk about to it to you friends. Ultimately the writers of the bible want you to adopt the stories of the Bible as your stories for the remarkable changes in your lives.