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How to Read The Bible

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The How to Read the Bible series by The Bible Project walks through each literary style found in the Scriptures. While the Bible is one unified story, it cannot all be read in the same way, as each literary style lives by its own rules and structure; this is what will be explored in detail in each video below.

The Bible can be broken into several categories of writing. Approximately 43% of the Bible is made up of narrative, from historical narrative to parables. Roughly 33% of the Bible is poetry, including songs; reflective poetry; and passionate, politically resistant poetry of the prophets. The remaining 24% of the Bible is prose discourse, including laws, sermons, letters, and even one essay.

By the end of this video series, you will be familiar with every part of the Bible and how it uses language to communicate who God is, who we are, and the big, redemptive story that we are all living.

What is the Bible?

This is episode 1 of an ongoing series that explores the origins, content, and purpose of the Bible. Here you'll be introduced to a condensed history of how the Bible came into existence, and the different forms of the Bible in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christian traditions.

The Story of the Bible

Episode 2 summarizes the overall story of the Bible as a series of crossroad decisions. All humanity, followed by the Israelites, redefine good and evil and end up in Babylon. They are followed by Jesus, who takes a different path that opens up the way to a new creation.

Literary Styles in the Bible

Episode 3 shows how reading the Bible wisely requires that we learn about the ancient literary styles used by the biblical authors. These writers expressed their ideas and claims through a variety of different type of literature, and this video will explore why it's important to tell them apart so we can hear their message on their terms.

The Bible as Jewish Meditation Literature

Episode 4 explores the unique literary style of the Bible that is meant to draw its readers into a lifelong journey of reading and meditation. The Bible is designed as a multi-layered work, offering new levels of insight as you re-read it and allow each part to help you understanding every other part. The Bible is the original meditation literature.

Plot In Biblical Narrative

An important part of reading biblical narratives is learning how to understand the nature of "the plot," how stories are arranged into a pattern of conflict and resolution. In this video we'll see how ignoring the sequence of the plot can lead to distorted interpretation of biblical stories. We'll also explore how grasping the multi-layered nature of the narrative can help you see the unified story that leads to Jesus.

Character in Biblical Narrative

Most of us think of characters in Bible as either sinners or saints, good or bad. At least that’s how Bible stories are presented to children. In this video, we’ll explore the ways biblical authors present characters as more complex and morally compromised than we usually imagine.

Setting in Biblical Narrative

Every story has to take place somewhere, and very often locations have a special meaning or significance evoked by events that already took place there. In this video, we explore how biblical authors use settings in the narrative to meet the reader's expectations or to mess with them. Paying attention to locations and timelines in biblical stories unlocks deeper layers of meaning.

Design Patterns in Biblical Narrative

Design patterns are one of the key ways the biblical authors have unified the storyline of the Bible. Individual stories across the Old and New Testaments have been coordinated through repeated words and parallel themes. These patterns highlight core themes of the biblical story and show how it all leads to Jesus!

The Art of Biblical Poetry

Did you know that a third of the Bible is ancient Israelite poetry? Poetry is a rich and artistic form of human communication, but often the most difficult to read. In this video we’ll explore the unique characteristics of biblical poetry, so you can discover its beauty and power for yourself.

Metaphor in Biblical Poetry

Understanding how metaphors are used in the Bible is an essential tool for reading biblical poetry. Anytime someone describes one thing to describe another thing, they are using metaphorical thinking whether they realize it or not. Metaphors are everywhere in the Bible and in our everyday speech. In this video, we’ll explore this crucial aspect of biblical language.

 

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