Is Genre Important in Bible Reading?
One of the most outstanding beauties we see in the Bible is that it is not bound to one genre. The Bible is not a collection of aphorisms; it is not merely a legal textbook; it doesn’t only give historical accounts — but in poetry, historical narrative, law, prophecy, theological discourse, personal correspondence, and many other genres, we find the peculiar glory of God’s inspired authors shining forth in every genre of the Bible.
But this presents difficulties for us as readers. Do we read every genre the same way? We must be sure not to let genre dictate the meaning of the text, since it is through reading and understanding the text that we can identify the genre in the first place. All of our Bible reading should be filtered through the Golden Rule of Bible reading: am I reading this text to understand what the author wanted to communicate? Or am I merely imposing my own ideas onto the text, whether through “genre” or some assumption?