Sunday, September 18, 2011

Understanding Different Genre's Of The Bible

Understanding the bible especially the Old Testament is really difficult.  You have four different types of what they call "genres" of the bible.

1.  Narrative
2.  Law
3.  Wisdom
4.  Prophecy

Below are examples of how you can interpret different books.


Leviticus


The genre of Leviticus is full of law information.  The entire book is set in a relatively brief period of time.  Sacrifices, priests, and the sacred Day of Atonement open the direction for the Israelites to come to God.  God’s people were also to worship him with their lives.  Purity laws and rules for daily living, concerning family responsibilities, sexual conduct, relationships, worldliness, and vows.  These laws involve one’s holy walk with God, and the patterns of spiritual living.  Mount Sinai was noted as a key place and Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar are key people in this genre.  At the foot of Mount Sinia, God is teaching the Israelites how to live as holy people.  With the final emphasis on celebration.  These were special, regular, and corporate occasions for remembering what God had done, giving thanks to him, and rededicating lives to his service. 


Numbers


The genre of Numbers is a book that is narrative.  Content of this book is diverse, moving back and forth between laws and narratives.  There are several key people in this book, Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, Eleazar, Korah, and Balaam.  We also see several locations as the book progress, Mount Sinai, Promised Land (Canaan), Kadesh, and Mount Horplains of Moab.  We note that God instructed Moses to take a census so that the people would be organized both for travel and warfare.  The first census was conducted in the 2nd month of the 2nd year of the Exodus.  It was that same month Moses and the people departed from Sinai.  During the travel the people complained about food.  We see that God punished some people but spared the nation because of Moses’ prayers.  Ten spies were sent to Canaan to determine the strength of the army.  Stories were brought back about giants.  Caleb and Joshua encouraged the nation to “go at once and take the land.”  As we see unbelief of people, God declared that the present generation would not live to see the Promised Land.  This began the wandering in the wilderness.  Numbers ends as it begins, with preparation.  The new generation of Israelites was numbered and sanctified.  They defeated numerous armies, and settled on the east side of the Jordan River.  The final test they faced was to cross the river and possess the beautiful land God had promised to them.


Job


The genre of Job is a book of Wisdom.  The key person in this book is Job himself.  Job is portrayed as a wealthy man of upright character who loves God.  We see that God allowed Satan to destroy his flocks, his possessions, his children, and his health. Satan had to ask God to take this from Job.  God did limit Satan on what he was allowed to take.  Job’s greatest trial was not the pain or the loss; it was not being able to understand why God allowed him to suffer.  Satan tried to drive a wedge between Job and God by trying to convince Job that God’s governing of the world was not just and good. God limited Satan on what he was allowed.  Job’s suffering didn’t make sense because everyone believed good people were supposed to prosper.  Three other individuals appear in this book that offer counsel to Job.  They were his friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.  Although these three men debated with Job that he must have sinned to deserve such suffering.  Job continued to search for enlightenment and never completely gives up hope for justice.  Job learned that when nothing else was left he had God, and that was enough.



Proverbs

The genre of Proverbs is a Wisdom book.  The chief contributor to this book was Solomon, with Agur and Lemuel contributing at the end of Proverbs. The audience for this book was for the people of Israel.  This book covers a vast array of topics, including youth and discipline, family life, self-control, resisting temptation, business matters, word and the tongue, knowing God, marriage, seeking the truth, wealth and poverty, immorality, and wisdom.  Solomon writes that fear of the Lord is knowledge, and that fools despise wisdom and discipline.  This is a book of wise sayings, and a textbook for teaching people how to live godly lives through the repetition of wise thoughts.  Throughout the book people were able to attain wisdom, discipline, and a prudent life, and how to do what is right, and fair.  In short, to apply divine wisdom to daily life and to provide moral instructions.  Solomon wanted to impart wisdom to all people, regardless of their age, sex, or position in society.  Proverbs teaches qualities that promote success and a good reputation, and at the same time it teaches what prevents success and causes a bad reputation.



Daniel

The genre of Daniel is a Prophecy book.  The characters that should be pointed out in this book are Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Mecharch, Abednego, Belshazzar, and Darius.  Daniel’s vision was of apocalyptic nature.  It gives a glimpse of God’s plan for the ages, including a direct prediction of the Messiah.  Daniel had been taken captive and deported to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar and drafted as a counselor to him.  There he served for about 70 years during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus.  The purpose of the book is to give a historical account of the faithful Jews who lived in captivity and to show how God is in control of heaven and earth, the destiny of nations, and the care of the people.  The audience was the captives in Babylon and Judah.  Important to note that the king ordered Ashpenaz, to bring four men from Judah’s royal family and other noble families.  The men needed to be young good-looking men.  The four men were Daniel – he was called Belteshazzar, Hananiah – was called Shadrach, Mishael – was called Meshach, and Azariah – was called Abednego.  This book concludes with a series of visions that Daniel had during the reigns of Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus.  Theses visions dramatically outline God’s future plans, beginning with Babylon and continuing to the end of the age.  They give a preview of God’s redemption and have been called the key to all biblical prophecy.

Beautiful Song........God Bless and until next time....
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