Episode 149 – Lenses of Context Pt 6: Literary

Our final episode in the Lenses of Context series examines the brilliant and highly intentional literary background of the Bible. We don’t read a legal document the same way we read a poem or a historical account. We’re mindful of the context. Unfortunately, many of us miss the literary clues in the Text that help us know HOW to read that particular section in context. Thus, we need to engage the four aspects of the literary lens: genre, design, what we call “the W’s,” as well as placement. By the end of this episode, you’ll have specific tools to help you engage the literary context of the Bible to ensure you’re reading it the way it was intended to be read. And as you do so, always remember that the end goal isn’t to be smarter, but to be more faithful!

Discussion Questions

  • What was your biggest takeaway from the teaching? 
  • What is your favorite Bible passage? (Or have your small group pick a well-known passage) Now, which of the 8 genres is the passage? 
  • Go to https://bibleproject.com/downloads/posters and download the biblical design poster that corresponds to your passage. (For example, if you chose Micah 6:8, download the Biblical Design poster for Micah). What stand out to you from looking at the overall design of the book. 
  • Next, fill in the W’s. Who wrote this book? When? Where? Why? If you need help, consult a study bible. 
  • Finally, where does this passage fit within the overall storyline of the Bible and how might that be significant?  
  • How will you begin living out the truths of this teaching this week?  

For Further Study

  • ESV Archaeology Study Bible 
  • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible 
  • Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testamentby G.K. Beale 
  • The Restoration of All Things – This is 73-minute teaching I did on the entire Bible from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, providing the overarching narrative and understanding of what the Bible is all about. There is also a timeline graphic that accompanies the teaching that you can download at the teaching link. 
  • Bible Project – If you’re not familiar with Bible Project, you’re missing out. They’re doing some of the finest work on the planet for helping people understand the unified story of the Bible, its literary design and themes, and how everything leads to Jesus. The content on their site is free (though I’d encourage you to become a supporter), and you’ll greatly benefit from their stunning work. 
  • One Hour. One Book. by Dr. Randall Smith – A one-hour contextual exploration of every book in the Bible. 
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