A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible eBook
To truly understand God’s Word, we must know both what it says (content) and how it says it (form). This accessible guide features over 250 alphabetically arranged entries explaining common literary forms found in the Bible. Each entry contains a succinct definition, helpful illustrations, and a representative list of passages where that particular literary form is present.
More than merely a dictionary, this indispensable resource will help Bible readers better understand the underlying structure of Scripture—giving a clearer shape and deeper meaning to each and every page of God’s Word.
Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) served as professor of English at Wheaton College for more than 43 years. He has authored or edited more than three dozen books, including The Word of God in English, The Complete Literary Guide to the Bible, and the ESV Literary Study Bible. He is a frequent speaker at the Evangelical Theological Society and served as literary stylist for the English Standard Version.
“Coming from a world-renowned expert in the literary forms of the Bible and drawing on the expertise that can come only from a lifetime of college teaching, this marvelous new book will take its place as an essential reference work that should be in the library of everyone who seeks to study or teach the Bible in greater depth. Highly recommended.”
—Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary
“Here is a book, indeed, to keep at hand: it will hold a permanent place by my Bible. Leland Ryken illustrates the interrelationship between meaning and form in a manner that is erudite, accessible, and illuminating. Learning about literary forms in the Bible deepens our understanding and appreciation of Scripture, and glorifies our God as Author of all.”
—Carolyn Weber, speaker; teacher; author of the critically acclaimed memoirs Surprised by Oxford and Holy Is the Day: Living in the Gift of the Present
“This extremely useful book will be warmly welcomed by teachers, not only within churches, but also in college and university settings. A highly practical vade mecum for any serious reader of the Bible, for students of the Bible in its literary dimension it will become practically indispensable. Leland Ryken has made yet another superb contribution to our textual resources for biblical learning.”
—David Lyle Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities, Baylor University
“Here is a reader-friendly handbook that will significantly enhance one’s understanding of the Bible. What a wonderful tool for pastors, laypeople, and students alike, who will now be able to benefit from Leland Ryken’s wise insights and marvelous literary skills. I heartily recommend this volume.”
—David S. Dockery, President, Trinity International University
“A ready reference for scholars and general readers who wish to understand the Bible better and in its own terms, Ryken’s handbook needs to be on every serious Bible reader’s shelf and used often. A profoundly helpful resource.”
—Michael Travers, Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Oklahoma Baptist University
“In this essential handbook, Ryken guides us to a proper understanding of the many literary forms of Scripture. Pastors and all readers of the Bible will deepen their understanding of God’s Word if they read this book cover to cover and keep it nearby for future reference.”
—Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College
“Our kind Father has gone to great lengths to speak to us, yet sometimes our finite minds struggle to comprehend the complexities of his Word. This book will greatly enhance your ability to understand confusing passages, as well as see deeper richness in the old, familiar stories. Ryken helps you become more skillful at interpreting the Bible and knowing how to apply it accurately. The result will be a great increase in your love and admiration for our heavenly Father, who shares his heart with us in profound poetry, striking stories, colorful dialogue, and vivid imagery. Those who love Scripture, or want to love Scripture more, should read this book!”
—Barbara Duguid, author, Extravagant Grace
“This is a genuinely helpful resource for all readers of the Bible, but it is an especially excellent reference for teachers and students of the Bible as literature. Ryken’s volume will help readers experience, enjoy, and understand the Bible in new ways. The breadth of entries is thorough and truly impressive. Individual entries are concise but include enough explanation and examples to successfully illustrate each literary form discussed. This book is written by an expert in literature and the Bible, and it shows.”
—David V. Urban, Associate Professor of English, Calvin College
“This uniquely useful and accessible handbook will be a favorite among the tools used by serious students of the Bible. In recent decades, attention to the literary structures of the Bible’s various genres has become prominent. With all of the distractions of the modern world, study tools like this will help Christians to be imbued with the mind of Christ through his Word. I highly recommend this superb contribution to biblical studies.”
—Gregory Reynolds, Pastor, Amoskeag Presbyterian Church, Manchester, New Hampshire; author, The Word Is Worth a Thousand Pictures: Preaching in the Electronic Age; editor, Ordained Servant: A Journal for Church Officers
“Leland Ryken’s handbook is a well-conceived, concisely written, hugely helpful resource for students and teachers alike. Far from turning the Bible into ‘mere’ literature, Ryken draws us deeper into the authoritative and inerrant truths of the Scriptures. Just as we cannot know Christ apart from his incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth, so we cannot fully know the Bible until we understand the literary forms in which it was written.”
—Louis Markos, Professor of English, Scholar in Residence, and Robert H. Ray Chair of Humanities, Houston Baptist University; author, Restoring Beauty: The Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the Writings of C. S. Lewis