Word of God Speak [Part 2]

Are you ready for some good news?

The Word of God is diverse in its genres but consistent in its inspiration.

Today’s Text: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV)

The Word of God will be misunderstood when there is no recognition of differing genres of literature within the one, inspired book. The Bible consists of historical drama, artistic poetry, practical wisdom, prophetic utterances, didactic instructions, apocalyptic visions and profound allegory. It’s essential to know what you are reading. If you are reading apocalyptic literature (like parts of Daniel or Revelation) but treat it like historical drama or didactic instruction, you’ll miss it’s meaning.

Friend and mentor Dudley Hall drew this analogy. Imagine an alien reading a local newspaper without understanding the different sections of the paper. An uniformed reader might read an article about a bear attack in Yellowstone Park on one page and, on another page, read a headline announcing, “Bears Maul the Lions.” One is about an actual, tragic account of a hiker attacked by a Grizzly in a national park while the other is a headline about a big NFL victory for the team from Chicago.

If you don’t the difference between the national news page and the sports page, you’ll miss the meaning. Or, imagine our alien friend turning to the business page and reading about a “bear” market. What? A Grizzly running through Wall Street? Or, on another page, imagine the uninformed reader sees images of a donkey and an elephant in conflict. If you don’t know when you are on the editorial page you might think the neighborhood zoo has been compromised!

Likewise, it is essential to know what portions of the Bible are history and what portions are poetry. We must recognize the difference between apocalyptic imagery and practical teachings.

The Word of God is living and active. Every word of it is inspired by the Holy Spirit. But it is diverse in the richness of literature genres. You can understand the Bible better when you first understand what genre you’re reading. And that’s the Gospel!

For more information please visit SharingtheLight.org.