The Bible uses forms of expression to express themes and messages. That’s the idea behind my series on reading the Bible as literature. The Bible communicates using literary forms that we either know are can become familiar with.
We don’t always recognize Biblical literary techniques but we can learn. Here are some resources that can be used to help with the learning process:
- Dictionary of Biblical Imagery by Leland Ryken, Jim Wilhoit, Tremper Longman, Colin Duriez, Douglas Penney and Daniel G. Reid – explores images, symbols, motifs, metaphors and literary patterns found in the Bible.
- How to Read the Bible as Literature by Leland Ryken – Introduces various genres and highlights many literary forms.
- The Complete Literary Guide to the Bible, edited by Leland Ryken and Tremper Longman III – a series of essays on the topic of the Bible as literature.
- Words of Delight: A Literary Introduction to the Bible by Leland Ryken. Insights from both Old and New Testaments.
- The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter. Alter views the Bible as some view Greek mythology: as brilliant literature but not sacred text. His insights into the literary techniques are groundbreaking.
- The Bible as Literature by John B. Gabel – A textbook used in many university classes.
- A Dictionary of Biblical Allusions in English Literature by W.B. Fulghum Jr. – A helpful guide showing how the Bible’s forms permeate English literature.
- The IVP Bible Background Commentary – provides cultural background that can be helpful in understanding literary form.
- The Society of Biblical Literature – a society with many articles and other resources.
The Bible’s literary forms help express purpose and meaning. The better we know the techniques, the better we can understand the author’s meaning.