Don't just read the Bible literally—read it Literarily.
A lot of times, we treat Scripture like it's all the same from Genesis to Revelation. After all, it only has one Author. Isn't it just one big book, identical from beginning to end?
While it's true that the Bible is unified, it is also diverse. The Bible can be grouped according to key categories, called genres, that help us to read and properly interpret the Scriptures. An understanding of these genres, and the literary themes and devices used within them, makes all the difference when encountering God's Word.
Long-time Bible teacher Kristie Anyabwile discovered as she prepared her lessons that a single inductive approach doesn't do justice to the variety of genres that make up the Word of God. Because Scripture is a collection of writings that spans 1,500 years, many literary styles are represented and each must be taken into account for the fullest understanding of God's Word. Kristie shows you the immense value of studying the Bible literarily—that is, according to the literary style presented in a particular book, chapter, or passage. In Literarily, Kristie will take you through these eight distinct genres:
The Bible is an epic story that God has revealed to us through diverse genres and literary features. Its message and method are both meant to transform our hearts. Our goal as interpreters isn't to meld the Scriptures into a bland conglomerate, but to recognize the multiple forms in which God's Word comes to us. In so doing, we'll encounter the ongoing story of Jesus's redemption and learn how He calls His people to live in our complex world today.
Praise for Literarily
"The power of language rests not just in what words are said, but in how they are said. The words of Scripture are no exception. Perhaps no tool is more useful, or more often overlooked, than a basic understanding of how the Bible speaks. Kristie offers excellent help to those who want to read the Bible as it is written: as a collection of different ways of writing, all telling one marvelous story."
—JEN WILKIN, author and Bible teacher
"Reading the Bible is important, but how we read it makes all the difference. Through a simple and concise approach, Kristie Anyabwile helps readers grasp the literary genres of the Bible. With plenty of aha moments to spare, this book helps us go to God's Word with fresh understanding, giving way to a true, rich, and robust study of the Scriptures."
—EMILY JENSEN & LAURA WIFLER, cofounders of Risen Motherhood; coauthors of Risen Motherhood: Gospel Hope for Everyday Moments
"Most of us know instinctually that we don't read poetry the same way we read historical narrative. And we don't read apocalyptic the same way we read discourse. But most of us need a little help in developing our skills for reading and understanding the types of literature in the Bible we're less familiar with. In this uncomplicated and insightful book, Kristie hands us some tools to use in the text that will help it to open up to us, so that we will become better able to understand and apply it to our lives."
—NANCY GUTHRIE, author and Bible teacher
"The most characteristic failing of preaching and Bible teaching today is the almost total lack of attention to the genres of the Bible. The customary approach to the Bible is to operate on the premise that every passage belongs to the same undifferentiated genre, understood to be a repository of ideas. Kristie Anyabwile knows that adequate analysis of the Bible requires close attention to its specific genres. Her book is an introduction to the major genres of the Bible, and she shows how an awareness of these genres can guide our encounter with a passage in the Bible. This book moves beyond accurate theory (information about the genres of the Bible) to practice, and a major strength of the book is that it contains an abundance of tips for reading and interpreting the Bible in light of its genres."
—LELAND RYKEN, author and professor of English emeritus at Wheaton College
"Studying the Bible's literary genres doesn't have to be boring. In Literarily, Kristie Anyabwile does a masterful job of interweaving Scripture and relatable pop culture to help make the complex topic of literary analysis in the Bible both fun and easy to understand. The more we understand the rich treasures to be mined in the Bible's stories, the deeper our faith and love for God will grow. Kristie's book offers both the tools and the guide for this much-needed excursion."
—MICHELLE AMI REYES, Vice President, Asian American Christian Collaborative; Scholar in Residence, Hope Community Church; author, Becoming All Things: How Small Changes Lead to Lasting Connections Across Cultures
"One area of Bible study that routinely gets overlooked is a study of genre. With warmth and an overflow wisdom, Kristie Anyabwile helps to fill this gap by introducing readers to the different categories of literature the biblical authors used to write Scripture. She accomplishes what most authors cannot, making complicated truths simple and accessible. This is a must-have resource for anyone who wants to better understand the metanarrative of Scripture and see the Bible as the beautiful piece of literature that it is!"
—ELIZABETH WOODSON, author and Bible teacher
"This little volume is a great start to reading the Bible well. Written in a very accessible way, but with depth for experienced readers, Kristie has put together a fantastic handbook for digging into God's Word. It will be of great value to the church!"
—ROBERT S. KINNEY, Director of Ministries for the Charles Simeon Trust
"I've been waiting for this book! Kristie has given us an accessible guide to studying the Bible genres, laying a framework for how we read and ask questions of the literature of the Bible. Her goal isn't only better knowledge but transformation as disciples through the Word. What a valuable tool! Buy a box of them and see the light bulbs come on in your small group, church, or class. I cannot wait to recommend it in my classes and events."
—TAYLOR TURKINGTON, Director of BibleEquipping
"This book will give you a confident start if you're new to reading the Bible. Kristie writes in an accessible way that anyone can understand and she does so winsomely. So much is packed in this one little book. It's worth your time."
—COLLEEN J. MCFADDEN, Director of Women's Workshops for the Charles Simeon Trust