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 Messianic Synagogue in Hudson, WI.


Bible literary styles thebibleproject

Screenshot: YouTube

Share this Story


View upcoming events.

Camp Tzadi 2022

Do you ever feel alone as a Messianic teen? Don’t really have a lot of friends that “get” you? Our camp Tzadi summer camp creates a great space to answer all your questions. For two weeks, we give our campers a transformative experience and a time to reconnect to God, make friends, and grow in the Messianic community and faith.

Most Recent

When God Is Silent

Seeing the presence of the Invisible God through the story of Esther

The Miracle of Light

Why Gentiles Should Celebrate Hanukkah

An Interview with Eden Mitchell

A young Messianic artist creates the cover art for her father’s latest album.

The Happiest Day of the Year

Why is Yom Kippur considered one of the happiest days of the year?

From Generation to Generation

Camp Tzadi is perhaps the most important thing we are doing at First Fruits of Zion.

Hard Hearts

When we harden our hearts against God, family, friends, or parents, we cannot expect anything but hardship.

Seven Things Every Disciple of Yeshua Should Do Every Month

We all want to be better disciples. Here’s how.

How Did We Forget?

If we don’t remember, who will?