1. The idea that the holy bible as literature did not begin in the modern era.

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As I have plied my profession as a spokesman for the holy bible as literature for half a century, i have embraced a strategy of very first clearing the ground of misconceptions and also then making the positive situation for the importance of reading and also interpreting the scriptures in maintaining with its literature nature. Since the expression the bible as literature come on the step in the middle of the twentieth century, that is understandable the evangelicals could be suspicious of the idea. But such towering theological stalwarts indigenous the past as Augustine, Luther, and Calvin did not doubt the the scriptures has literary qualities.

2. Viewing the holy bible as literature is not necessarily a authorize of theological liberalism.

Because for free biblical scholars have actually been much more inclined 보다 conservative persons to practice literary ideologies to the Bible, it is simple to combine those ideologies with theological liberalism, but there is no crucial connection between them. I begin my course in the literary works of the scriptures by reading ten cases by biblical authors about the distinctive nature of the Bible—its inspiration, that infallibility, and so forth. Then ns say that for me a literary study of the Bible starts where any other examine of that begins—by affirming as true everything that the holy bible claims about itself. I find no discord in between what I think theologically about the Bible and also my literary research of it.

I find no discord between what I believe theologically about the Bible and my literary study of it.

3. To say the the scriptures is literature need not imply that that is fictional quite than factual.

Most literary works is fictional at some level, but fictionality is not a specifying trait of literature. A piece of composing is literature whenever authors rental literary techniques, nevertheless of whether they document what really happened or made the up.

4. As soon as we discover literary features in the Bible, we space not adding those traits come the Bible.

To world unfamiliar with the literary technique to the Bible, it may seem the literary scholars are including something come the Bible, however this is a false impression. When we interact with the scriptures using literary tools of analysis, we are not including something however are discovering what is already in the text. We could not treat the story the Samson as a literary tragedy if the did not possess the qualities of the genre.

5. The idea of the bible as literature began with the writers of the Bible.

It is the authors of the scriptures who gave us a literature Bible, so the beginning of the concept can it is in traced earlier to them. We catch a note of this indigenous the means in which part biblical authors speak with technical precision around the literary genres in which lock wrote—psalm, chronicle, song, parable, epistle, apocalypse, and others. But the chief evidence is the literary nature the what lock wrote. Every page of the scriptures contains at the very least some incidence of literature technique, and also many pages are totally filled through it.

6. The topic of literature is human being experience.

Several characteristics make a text literary, and also it is simple to skipping the most an easy and universal principle the literature. That principle pertains to the contents of literature. Literature takes person experience together its subject. Once we read a work-related of literature, we share one experience. Literature is truthful come life and also experience and also is not primarily a delivery system because that an idea. A literary approach to the bible identifies and also relives the person experiences that space portrayed and avoids to reduce the holy bible to a set of ideas.

7. Literature is an embodiment and incarnation the its subject matter.

Professors that teach literature and creative writing insurance claim that literature shows rather than tells. Come "show" is to embody concretely; come "tell" is to express one abstraction or idea. The 6th commandment tells us "you shall no murder." The story that Cain and also Abel (Gen. 4:1-16) shows and embodies that truth, and also it does for this reason without using the abstraction murder and also without commanding us to stop from it. Once the affluent young ruler asked Jesus to define neighbor, Jesus rather told a story (the parable of the an excellent Samaritan) that shows us what neighborly behavior looks like. A literary method to the bible interacts with the embodied experiences that biblical writer place prior to us.

8. Artistry is critical part the the literary nature the the Bible.

God did not ignore beauty as soon as he created the world, and he go not neglect it as soon as he superintended the composition of the Bible. The literary components of the scriptures are replete through artistry, and to pay attention to it and unfold that through evaluation is critical part of a literary strategy to the Bible. Doing so can add a whole new dimension and level the enjoyment to our reading and also study the the Bible. Additionally, we must operate top top the premise that biblical authors regarded everything that castle put into their functions as important and worthy of our attention, including imaginative aspects.


9. Respecting the literary elements of the scriptures is a way of observing the biblical authors" intentions.

For a an extremely long time, the cornerstone the evangelical hermeneutics has actually been authorial intention—the need to analyze a passage in keeping with one author"s inferred intention. It is time that we placed the literary technique to the scriptures under the rubric. The stands to reason that if a biblical author entrusted his article to literature forms and also techniques, the intended that we use ordinary methods of literary evaluation to the text.

10. Reading the bible as literary works is within every reader"s ability.

Because most evangelicals pay scant attention to the literature nature of the Bible, the misconception gets perpetuated the the literary approach is devoted and technical. In truth all it calls for is that we bring over what us know about literature usually to the Bible. We have all had high school or college literary works courses in which we learned that plot, setting, and character are the facets of a story, and that poets think in images and figures of speech. Every we should do is put what we already know right into practice as soon as we read and also interpret the Bible.


Leland Ryken (PhD, college of Oregon) served as professor of English at Wheaton College for nearlyfifty years. He has actually authored or edited end fifty books, consisting of The word of God in English and also A complete Handbook the Literary forms in the Bible. The is a regular speaker in ~ the Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meetings and also served together literary stylist because that the English traditional Version Bible.


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