Literary Styles in the Bible

The Bible is not just one book. It’s a whole library of books with a variety of literary styles.

Screenshot: YouTube

D. Thomas Lancaster


Bible literary styles thebibleproject

What kind of books do you like? Do you like mysteries? How about science fiction? Fantasy? Maybe you prefer romance novels (yuck!). Or do you like to curl up with a book of poetry? The different types of books belong to different genres. They are like different species of literature.

That’s one of the reasons the Bible is difficult to read and understand. It’s not just one book, it’s a whole library of books, and the books belong to different genres. To make sense out of a book in the Bible, it helps a lot to know something about its genre.

This is lesson three in our 12-21 series on how to train your Bible. To get the most out of your Bible, you have to train it. These six-minute videos from are helping us do that.

In lesson one, “What Is the Bible?”, we got an overview of the literature in the Bible. In lesson two, “The Story of the Bible”, we learned about the overarching story of the Bible that ties it all together. In this lesson, we are going to learn about the different types of literary genres at work in the Bible.

Basically, we can divide the Bible into three types of literature: narrative, poetry, and instruction. Take six minutes out of your day and watch the video:

This lesson discusses the power of narrative and storytelling, the art of poetry, and force of reason and instruction. The best takeaway in the lesson comes at 1:50-2:01 where the following exchange takes place:

Question: Since these are Bible stories, are the characters showing me how I should live?

Answer: Yeah, that’s not quite the point. Most Bible characters are deeply flawed. You should not be like them.

About the Author

D. Thomas Lancaster is Director of Education at First Fruits of Zion, the author of the Torah Club programs and several books and study programs. He is also the pastor of Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship in Hudson, WI.


Bible literary styles thebibleproject

Screenshot: YouTube

Share this Story


Look out for what we are now planning.

Camp Tzadi 2019

Camp Tzadi will be hosted by a host camp in Rolla, Missouri. Join our 2-week summer camp for Messianic youth and enrich your faith!

Most Recent

How Did We Forget?

If we don’t remember, who will?

Camp Tzadi 2019: Reversing the Natural Order

Catch the fire and get inspired.

Called Against

Are we called to take action against suffering?

Feeling Lonely While Surrounded by People

With the technology of social media we are more connected than ever before, and yet most of us feel more lonely than ever.


How do we find the beauty in waiting for life to happen?

From Camper to Counselor

Transition and growth in leadership.

Active Discipleship

Growing up within the Christian faith, I always found myself trying to figure out what it meant to live as Jesus did.

Holy Rebellion

I would argue that those who leave the faith whether temporarily or permanently perhaps aren’t as rebellious as you think. They aren’t the real rebels. You are.