Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bible Genre Chart

One of the important aspects of interpreting the Bible (or any other type of literature) is paying attention to genre and adjusting reading strategies accordingly. You'll notice this emphasis in almost any book on hermeneutics. We pay attention to genre unconsciously when reading or even watching movies. We go into a sci-fi, romantic comedy, or action-adventure movie, and we have a set of expectations and an unconscious interpretational grid for that type of movie.

In the Bible, we also switch between various genres: poetry, wisdom, historical narrative, biography, epistles, apocalyptic literature, parables, and so on. I developed a handy-dandy chart to help guide readers through the various genres of the Bible. Unfortunately, the chart doesn't work well in blogger format, so you can access it here as a pdf (the pictures above are just snapshots). Feel free to make a copy if it helps you with your Bible reading.


  1. Nicely done. Maybe I missed it, but where do you slot Song of Solomon? Songs is usually considered wisdom literature, but you don't have it listed there.

  2. Hi Charles,

    Thanks! I made the decision to trim down to the main genres for the purposes of the chart. As you can see, I went with a limited amount of psalm genres. I know that Song of Solomon is often listed in wisdom literature, but I have often felt that it's a bit of a stretch - although maybe I need to study the matter more. Seems like SS(alone in the Bible) fits into the genre of love poetry. I'd be glad to hear any other opinions on the matter.

  3. Can I get a readable copy of the chart?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.