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How to Study Your Bible: Biblical Genres


High School Level – One Semester Course

Meets: Fridays, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. CST Fall Semester

Instructor: Alan Corlew

Required Materials: Bible- any translation, but not a paraphrase

Read the Bible for a Change: Understanding and Responding to God’s Word, by Ray Lubeck

Publisher: Wipf and Stock, 2009, ISBN-10 – 1608991539, ISBN-13 – 978-1608991532

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How to Study Your Bible: Biblical Genres starts with the belief that there is a clear message communicated by God through human writers to the reader.  The text of Scripture employs various styles of literature – that is, genres. People do not read a shopping list in the same way one reads a novel – the novel has a story-line, characters, a plot, and a message; the shopping list has none of these.

The way one approaches different genres varies in important ways. If you think you are reading a passage of poetry, but are in fact reading a historical narrative, you may misunderstand the meaning of the text.

The Biblical Genres course will provide the student with the tools necessary to avoid such mistakes. Students will study each of the genres of scripture so that they might learn how to grapple with the text. Students will develop confidence as they read, and apply the powerful Truth of Scripture to their lives.

Second Timothy 3:16-17 tells us:

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for raining in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

If this is so, then even those parts of the Bible many avoid – like Old Testament genealogies – are worthy of our study and teach us principles relevant to our faith, and our growth as believers.

The study of each genre will follow a similar pattern:

  • Learn the interpretive tools applicable to that genre
  • Practice using those tools collaboratively during our class time
  • Practice using the tools individually in assignments
  •  At the end of the unit for each genre, the students will be given a passage from that genre that we have not looked at in our practice, and apply all that they have learned to interpret the message of the passage

Quizzes and unit ending interpretation of an assigned passage will serve as each unit’s test-grade.

The students will also learn how to connect the various passages within a book of Scripture, and relate those truths to other places in Scripture that deal with the same ideas (the skill of contextualization).  This is a key concept in studying Scripture – otherwise the student will end up with a collection of interpretations of passages that are seemingly unrelated.

In How to Study Your Bible: Biblical Genres students will keep the “Big Picture’ of Scripture in focus:

  • Creation – the beginning of the story
  • Fall – the “twist in the plot” (what went wrong)
  • Redemption – fixing what went wrong in a way that is more than simply returning things to a pre-fall state
  • Consummation – where the story has been leading the reader from the beginning; in one sense, to the end – yet is not an end in the usual sense as it continues eternally.

This class will teach critical thinking skills, logic and application of one’s faith.

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