Understanding Genre


Imagine taking a telephone book (that's the old people's version of the digital address book), a menu, a few letters from different people to other people, a hymnal, and a history book, and put them all into one big book. Even though these different genre's of text are in one book, you would not read the letters the same way you read the menu and you would not read the telephone book the same way you read a history book.

What you have here is a picture of the Bible. The Bible consists of several types of text genre. There's prophecies, history, letters, the gospels, parables, wisdom writings, and songs. Each genre has a way in which it is to be studied in order to get the full understanding. Unfortunately, while wisdom writings like Proverbs are a series of "one-liner" nuggets of wisdom, we tend to read the entire Bible in that same manner; and we miss the point of the text we are reading because we miss the context of the genre.

Over the next several posts we are going to look at ways to study each genre of text.