Why Study the Bible?

Instructor: Douglass Gunselman

Doug is currently a head middle school principal and has taught middle school/high school English/speech/computers. He has a master's degree in Educational Administration.

This lesson will provide you reasons for why you should study the Bible from a literary standpoint. When you are finished with this lesson, you will understand how the Bible can be a great literary resource.

Why Study the Bible?

You don't have to have a religious affiliation to study the Bible, so why study the Bible? You should study the Bible to read stories that relate to human interest, to study a variety of literary genres, to discover examples of literary conflict, and to recognize a variety of literary techniques.

The cool aspect about the Bible is that it is not only considered God's Word by Christians, but it is also a collection of sixty-six books in an abundance of literary genres. In fact, the Greek word for Bible, biblios, means little books. Our working definition of literature today will be writings, in various forms, which universally invoke human interest.

Let's look more in-depth into the reasons why one should study the Bible.

The Bible Relates to Human Interest

A question people have asked themselves and others for thousands of years is, 'Where did we come from?' According to the Bible, God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Another question people may ask is, 'Why are we on this Earth?' The Bible points out through various books, stories and people that we are on this Earth to serve God.

When someone studies the Bible, they will learn about several aspects of the history of the world. Because the Bible is essentially a history book, the accounts of the Bible can be confirmed through other historical sources. The Bible describes cities, people, and events that provide a reader with a historical look into the past.

In the process of studying the Bible, many questions about life and our purpose can/will be answered. The Bible essentially answers life's tough questions through its sixty-six books and provides a look into history, which universally engages any reader.

The Bible Contains Various Literary Genres

The various literary genres that are contained within the Bible include:

  • Apocalyptic: This is found in Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Revelation.
  • Epistles: These are 21 letters (books) to the various churches instructing them. These are found in the New Testament.
  • History: The books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Acts.
  • Law: The genre of law is introduced in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
  • Narrative: Ruth, Esther, Jonah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are narratives that tell various stories.
  • Poetry: The use of poetry is found in Song of Solomon, Lamentations, and Psalms.
  • Prophecy: This is found in Isaiah through Malachi in the later section of the Old Testament.
  • Wisdom: Wisdom books include Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.

Do you know of any book that contains this many genres? The Bible is a collection of genres that one can read without having to read through several different books.

The Bible Contains Great Examples of Literary Conflict

Literary Conflict is defined as any struggle between two opposing forces. These types of conflicts are separated into two sections: external conflict and internal conflict. Let's take a look at the different types of conflicts that exist within the Bible.

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