When I was a younger person growing up in Vandalia, Illinois, I pictured the Bible text in an unusual way: as if it was a vacation landscape for exploring. My dad was a truck driver who hauled gasoline and fuel oil, and so images of travel and “the open road” come naturally to me. (The Bible contains 66 books, and Dad regularly drove Route 66 in Illinois … how providential!) In Sunday school we had to memorize the books of the Bible in order, and so I was aware of the Bible’s basic “layout,” and perhaps I was also inspired by the well-used maps at my church of Bible lands, maps which seemed as interesting as the folded maps, free at filling stations, in the glove compartment of our family car. I imagined the Bible as a large area, not of Palestine, but of sections of landscape, like states, laid out for more or less eastbound travel. (When I read my favorite translation of the Torah, I begin to imagine the right-to-left text as westbound.)
At the Bible’s beginning, the “scenery” is interesting from Genesis through about 2/3 of the way through Exodus. A few places become tedious—the genealogies, for instance—but the reading moves along, peaking in cinema-ready excitement with the Red Sea crossing, the Ten Commandments, and the Golden Calf. The reading slows as you journey through Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But you’ve encountered some of the Bible’s high points: the Creation, the Flood, Abraham’s call, Egyptian slavery, the Exodus, and the revelation at Sinai.
You continue on a varied landscape though the historical books: some good parts, some dry. Judges and 1 and 2 Samuel contain plenty of violence and intrigue. Beyond, as you pass through the books of Kings and Chronicles, the “travel” becomes tougher again. Do I really need to know all those kings—who sinned and how badly—and lists of names, in order to be saved?
But in this landscape, too, we find high points: the conquest of the Land, the establishment of the monarchy and kingdom (with David and Solomon as the key figures), the destruction of Jerusalem, the Exile, and the Restoration. Understanding the Bible requires some grasp of these events.
After the historical books, the journey becomes more interesting again. Among the writings, the Psalms alone are worth many revisits; Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs, too. Then you embark on journey through the prophets. The prophets contain fascinating material, but without the narrative structure of the historical books, and without a clear chronology, the prophets’ writings can seem scattered and hard to grasp. A person can lose her bearings there.
You reach the New Testament, which—again, in my young imagination—I pictured as a landscape which gradually narrows. That’s because the New Testament books tend to become shorter and shorter. Little-bitty 2 John, 3 John, and Jude have only one chapter each, compared to Matthew’s 28. It was as if God was focusing your spiritual travels toward the end times and salvation, the subject of the longer, final book of Revelation.
I still like that informal image of the landscape. During a recent year of midlife studies of the Bible, I tried to regain a sense of the Bible’s interconnections, themes, and “places” to explore, think about and pray about. (1) Appreciating different ways to study the Bible, I’ve mixed devotional, homiletical, typological, canonical, higher-critical, and interfaith studies willy-nilly. I used my favorite old Bible, a thirty-year-old Harper Study Bible, in which I’d already jotted notes and underlined passages over the years.
What follows in this and the next few posts, I share some of my studies. What are the characteristics of the Bible’s sections? How do they interconnect thematically and typologically? What places in this “landscape” invite revisits?
Gospels and Acts
I’ll start with the gospels. Leafing through my old Bible, I find all my jottings from college and seminary when I studied the Bible (on my bed rather than at a desk), with commentaries close at hand. I can scarcely convey my excitement I felt when I discovered that the gospels contained evidence of early oral traditions, possible antecedent written sources, and intentional compositional ordering of material about Jesus. I poured over the book Gospel Parallels, which lays out the Synoptic Gospels—Mathew, Mark, and Luke—in order to show textual similarities and differences.(2) I learned that over 90% of Mark’s gospel is also found in Matthew and Luke, and that the latter two gospels have material in common that is not found in Mark: the so-called “Q” material. Matthew and Luke also have material unique to their own gospels, implying other sources that they used. I hadn’t doubted Jesus’ historical existence, but I was fascinated by the shaping of the material, the use of sources of Jesus’ words and deeds to put forward theological convictions. That the Gospels were not straightforward biographies, factual in all chronology and detail, didn’t matter in the least.(3)
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” begins Mark’s account. Hasty, simply written, the gospel contains a key verse, 10:45: “the Son of man …came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Who is this Jesus, though? As the gospel proceeds, Jesus’ friends don’t seem to “get” him. He confuses those closest to him. One of the saddest verses is 14:50, And they all forsook him, and fled. (I’ve written in my Bible margin, now they understand!) Meanwhile, the people on the “outside” identify Jesus right away: the demons, outcasts, and goyim. The first post-crucifixion person to “preach” Jesus is a Roman soldier who participated in his execution (15:39). And yet, for all its darker qualities, the gospel seems written to those already Christian for their guidance and comfort, as I’ve jotted in the margin. Mark’s gospel omits birth stories, devoting chapters 1 through 13 to Jesus’ ministry (chapters 1-9 in Galilee, chapter 10 on the way to Jerusalem, and 12-13 in Jerusalem), and then chapters 14 through 16 for Jesus’ passion.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus addresses his mission to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (15:24). In spite of Jesus’ bitter diatribe in Matthew 23, we get a strong vision of Jesus the Jew in Matthew’s gospel. Jesus is presented as the fulfillment of the Hebrew scriptures. Jesus by no means repudiates the Torah, but interprets it by his own authority. At the same time, Jesus provides hope for Gentiles, too (12:18, 15:28, 24:14, etc.), and among the gospels only Matthew uses the word “church” (ekklesia). Matthew retains Mark’s basic geographical framework (the Galilean ministry, chapters 4-18; the journey to Jerusalem, 19-20; and the week in Jerusalem, 21-28:15), but unlike Mark, Matthew includes a birth narrative (including the stories of the Wise Men, the flight into Egypt, and the slaughter of the innocents). The gospel presents Jesus’ teachings in five discourses (chapters 5-7, 10, 13, 18, 24-25), and uniquely gives us teachings such as the wicked slave (18:21-35), the landowner (20:1-18), the ten virgins (25:1-13), the talents (25:14-30), and the narrative of the last judgment (25:1-46).
Luke’s gospel is the first of two writings addressed to a person named “Theophilus,” which means “God-lover.” (That was Mozart’s actual middle name: “Amadeus” is the Latin translation.) In the gospel, Jesus addresses his concerns for the poor and disadvantaged; Jesus’ quotation of Isaiah 61:1-2 (Luke 4:18-19) doesn’t spiritualize the blind, oppressed, and imprisoned, but he proclaims liberty and release to them. “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20)—not “poor in spirit” which you and I might be able to claim Unique to Luke’s gospel are the story of the good Samaritan (10:25-7), the story of Mary and Martha (10:38-42), the parables of the lost coin and the prodigal son (15:8-32), the story of the rich man and Lazarus (16:19-31), not to mention the stories at the Gospel’s beginning: the birth of John the Baptist, the Magnificat, the Benedictus, the song of Simeon, the shepherds in the field, the story of young Jesus in the Temple.
How is John’s gospel related to the other gospels? Is it a different historical tradition or does it assume the traditions of Mark? This is a debated subject; the basic outline and facts of Jesus’ life are there, but the stories are different: the water into wine, the Samaritan woman, the raising of Lazarus. John focuses on seven “sign” miracles, five of which are not found in the other Gospels. John’s is a “high” view of Jesus, a view that helps us understand him theologically. We don’t find parables and pericopes here, but rather long reflections and dialogues. While Jesus’ Synoptic parables do not deal directly with Jesus’ identity, John’s gospel contains numerous “I am” sayings. While the other gospels announce the Kingdom of God, in John, Jesus’ announces the Spirit which will guide Jesus’ followers.
Acts provides stories of the first (approximately) thirty-five years of the early church. Peter dominates the first portion of Acts, Paul the second half. Notice that Luke frames the stories of Acts with affirmations about God’s kingdom (1:3, 28:1); Jesus had preached the kingdom, and after his ascension, the life-power of Jesus is given to people through the Holy Spirit, and so for Luke, the kingdom of God exists wherever people accept that ever-available life-power. Thus the disciples are instructed not to fret about the signs and portents of Jesus’ second coming, they have what they need for the present time, the Spirit promised in Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:17-21).(4)
In spite of its connection to Luke, I tended to think of Acts as a stand-alone historical account between the gospels and the epistles. But eventually I realized that Acts is as important as the gospels because the book provides the way that Jesus is known to us now. We’ll never know Jesus in the flesh—and judging from Jesus’ own words, we shouldn’t even long to have known him in the flesh (John 16:12-15). Now, Jesus is now fully present to us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ story continues in the innumerable book-length stories of us, his disciples (cf. John 21:25).
An explorer of this “landscape” will notice the way different gospels accounts are shaped, and how placement of stories and teachings elucidate meaning. She’ll learn about God’s love from the many “pictures” of God (Mt. 18:10-14, 35, 19:13-15, Luke 7:36-50, 15:3-32, and others). She’ll try to regain a sense of childlike openness and wonder (perhaps lost in adulthood) which Jesus says is essential for understanding him (Mk. 10:13-16). She’ll understand that those who are good, upright, Ten Commandments-following people are often the ones who can’t follow Jesus, and those who’ve made messes of their lives may get into the kingdom first (Matt. 21:31-32, Mark 10:17-31, Luke 15:11-32).
The explorer should try never to isolate Jesus as a teacher from Jesus as a healer, and Jesus “in the book” from Jesus as living, risen Lord upon whom she can call anytime for help and guidance. As I’ve written elsewhere, Jesus’ teachings had characteristics of healing and vice versa. When Jesus taught, he aimed not just at ethical standards but at the healing of our hearts from the disease and power of sin. When Jesus healed people, he not only showed a concern for people’s physical needs but also wanted to teach people about God’s hope and salvation (Matt. 12:15-21).(5)
The Bible has many different kinds of literary genres.(6) In the two testaments you find history, poetry, legal codes, prophecy, songs, letters, sermons, gospels, and even one book of erotic poetry. Ideally, we should understand the different genres as we read, and genres overlap within books. Ezra contains autobiography, letters, and history; several of the prophets contain oracles and narratives. The gospels and Acts are history, but they’re also preaching. Hebrews is a sermon with an epistolary conclusion (though no epistolary greeting). Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy form a long history and contain accounts of individual incidents, but the books also encompass ancient legal codes and cultic (worship) instructions.
We find very little epistolary material in the Old Testament, but letters form the largest body of material in the New. The canon includes letters of James, John, Peter, Jude, the author of Hebrews, and Paul. Paul’s several letters are arranged in order of length, although 1 and 2 Thessalonians were probably the earliest letters, and Philippians and 1 and 2 Timothy seem valedictory. All these letters were written to individuals or churches in order to address particular issues, to deal with needs and problems, to convey information and greetings, and to communicate feelings. Although not intentionally written in an epigrammatic way, we can lift epigrams, slogans, and promises from the letters for our own needs, for within these letters are treasures of biblical proclamation and pearls of wisdom. If I were to give someone a single Bible book to convey the Gospel, I’d tell them to read Romans or Ephesians. Galatians is also excellent for communicating the Gospel, although it was written in frustration and anger; if you’ve a good commentary to help you, your faith may very well be renewed by Galatians.
The letters have different purposes and viewpoints. Like the Gospels, they’ve changing facets in which God’s light beautifies, changes, and illuminates. Reading in turn through my various marginal notes and scribbling:
Romans is Paul’s self-introduction to a church he wished to visit soon. He argues that God accounts us righteous by faith rather than works of the law. The righteousness of God is revealed in God’s justification of sinners through the atonement of Christ.
1 and 2 Corinthians is largely Paul’s words of teaching, advice, and reprimand to a congregation swayed by impressive teachers, confident in their own wisdom, and yet lacking in love and spiritual maturity.
Galatians is Paul’s frustrated letter to a Gentile church. Paul points out that the Galatians already evidence of God’s power and acceptance in their lives through the gifts of the Spirit. They must not add anything on to God’s work, especially rites like circumcision.
Ephesians and Colossians are similar letters, written (if Paul did write them) while he was imprisoned. He shows the sufficiency of Christ and God’s free salvation. In Christ we are built up as a church; Christ has removed barriers between us and God.
Philippians, another “prison letter,” is a joyful letter, warm and affirming for a congregation Paul clearly feels gratitude.
1 and 2 Thessalonians concern the second coming of Christ and the need to be watchful, though the first letter is warm and the second letter, though also warm, contains more admonishment.
1 and 2 Timothy concern the qualities of church leaders and provides advice and encouragement to Paul’s young colleague. Titus also deals with church leaders and the need to deal with false teaching.
Philemon concerns a runaway slave, Onesimus, whom Paul has helped convert, and so Paul writes Onesimus’ master about the matter, hinting strongly that Onesimus should be freed.
Hebrews is an epistolary sermon by an unknown author to an unknown group of people. The title, which is a latter addition, is based on the fair assumption that the original audience consisted of converts from Judaism, who, more than a Gentile group, would have grasped all the many references to the Hebrew scriptures and traditions. The sermon is beautiful, intricate, and argues the sufficiency of Christ compared with the angels, the prophets, and the temple.
James stresses the validity of one’s faith through the good works of one’s personal growth and one’s relationships with others. The book only mentions Jesus twice and is similar in style to Old Testament wisdom literature.
1 and 2 Peter concern the steadfastness of one’s faith in times of persecution and also in regard to false teachers.
1, 2, and 3 John all provide glimpses into the lives of the early church. 1 John, especially, teaches the need to provide one’s faith through love.
Tiny little Jude, which quotes a non-canonical writing (Enoch) as scripture, is concerned false teachers and apostasy.
After these brief epistles, we come to the final book, Revelation, which concerns the final times. It’s actually a letter, too (1:4), to seven Asia Minor churches. John must be a different man than the apostle, for the book’s style is quite dissimilar from the gospel and the letters, and this author does not identify himself as an apostle. The book chronicles the many signs of the end times and is written in symbolic language that harkens back to Old Testament prophecies.(7)
The letters, like the gospels, aren’t just “about” the historical Jesus but also witness to his continuing, living reality. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer, Paul writes in 2 Cor. 5:16. This verse used to bother me; aren’t Jesus’ life and teachings important? They are, but Jesus’ life and teachings can’t be disconnected with his death and resurrection, and his earthly life cannot be disconnected with the eternal life which he now shares with all of us, his disciples. And so it is appropriate that much of the New Testament deals not with specifics about Jesus’ life and teachings (the letters scarcely quote Jesus’ teachings explicitly) but the grand fact of his salvation and gifts of the Spirit. Now, as readers of this material, we too receive the first-century preaching of the Gospel of Jesus, and our lives, too, become guided and maintained by the Spirit.
For some Christians, that’s enough material to read, explore, pray about, and study. But that’s only a third of the Bible! So far, I’ve saved several important New Testament themes and ideas so I can show interconnections between the New Testament and the Old.
Coda: Interpreting the Bible through Jesus
We don’t always think through the way Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ongoing presence in our lives guides the way we read and interpret the Bible. This point came home to me strongly as I was reading Graeme Goldsworthy’s Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture. Goldsworthy says that, “while there is much in the Bible that is strictly speaking not the gospel, there is nothing in the Bible that can be truly understood apart from the gospel.” While his argument does not address many issues of biblical interpretation, I do find his argument interesting with regard to preaching, devotional Bible reading, and Christian practice. How has the Good News—the wholly free gift of salvation of sinners through the blood of Christ and the accompanying power of the Holy Spirit—clarified, modified, fulfilled, or even negated the meaning of a particular Bible passage?
You sometimes hear people say, “Every word of the Bible is true.” On closer reflection, the Good News of Jesus and the inspiration of the living Spirit do influence and change the way we read the Bible, so that we do not have to uphold a simplistically literal reading of the Bible. As I discuss in the next section, for instance, the preaching of Jesus changes levels of authority of the Old Testament material while still upholding the OT as sacred scripture. As Goldsworthy also discusses in his book, the death and resurrection of Christ—the living Christ—also informs how we understand the teachings of Jesus himself! The Good News of Jesus’ resurrection frees us from the law (Gal. 3:10, 3:23) but also makes us take the demands of discipleship all the more seriously, because we’re freed from the notion that God saves us when we’ve checked off the “shalts” and avoided all the “shalt nots.” Christ in his roles as teacher, healer, and risen Lord help us do his will.
As I reflected on this point, I thought of several ways this is true.
* When I was young, I worried that God was keeping track of every time I called someone a “fool” (or “jerk” or “idiot” or more unprintable versions): Matt. 5:21-22. I still, on a daily basis, identify bad drivers and oblivious shoppers with “nicknames”! Yes, we’re held accountable for “every careless word” (Matt. 12:36), but we’re not saved by anything we do or don’t do (Rom. 3:28). We’re saved from our sins, without reservation, and we have ongoing forgiveness and power for salvation (Heb. 4:14-16). But when we look at this “fool” passage in light of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we see afresh at how Jesus has saved us from all our sins (past, present and future), and so, thus freed from the fear of earning God’s wrath (Rom. 5:9), we can respond with a new sense of joy and love, both for God and for one another (Rom. 8:1-8). As Christ healed his contemporaries, his love and power heals our souls of angry words (although anger is a normal human emotion when appropriately addressed: Eph. 4:26, 31).
Thus, instead of interpreting that “fool” saying as a law, we see it as an even deeper challenge: how are we modeling Christ’s love? How are we growing in love through the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-24, so that dismissive and contemptuous comments cross our minds less frequently? How is the Spirit of Christ changing the content of our hearts?
* Similarly forgiveness. “We’re supposed to forgive each other,” we might say. But it’s not that we have to force ourselves to try to forgive awful people because God says so; we forgive each other in the context of a lively, growing relationship with Christ. When we are freed by Christ’s death and resurrection, forgiveness is not a law or an absurd obligation. Forgiveness is a response to Christ’s unearned love. Even more, we don’t have to force ourselves to forgive through our own will power, but we find power to learn to forgive (and even empowered forgiveness isn’t always easy) as we deepen our relationship to Christ.
* And prayer. Another verse that worried me when I was young was “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17, KJV). I couldn’t do that! Nobody can: our brains are not neurologically set to focus continually. But that verse isn’t a law that requires every single thought to be prayerful. That verse is a call to deepen our love and concern for one another as we receive the resurrected Jesus’ love and power. Instead of interpreting the verse primarily as a rule, we focus upon Christ as our Savior and helper when we fail. Through Christ, our minds and hearts acquire the habit and impulse of prayer.
* And speaking of prayer: do we pray the Psalms “Christianly”? Obviously the psalms are originally (and remain) Hebrew and Jewish prayers, which by God’s gift are now part of the Christian canon. But we could very easily neglect to connect the ancient, pre-Jesus psalms to Christ’s death and resurrection. For instance, if you’re in (what I call) a “Psalm 51 state of mind,” are you praying the prayer as a plea to God for forgiveness and restoration? Do you also and simultaneously keep firmly in mind that we have forgiveness and restoration already through the crucified and risen Lord? Psalm 51, classic though it is, has to be connected to verses like Romans 7:24-25, where the assurance of Christ’s salvation of sinners is affirmed.
* What about using a Bible verse as God’s holy word in condemnation of another person? This happens all the time, of course. Remember, though, that Jesus himself stood condemned by God’s word; he was under a curse because of God’s law (Deut. 21:23). He also gave grace and a new opportunity to the woman of John 7:53-8:11 when people used God’s word against her. Certainly the Bible warns us and can be used to warn; but Bible verses can be used out of context and wielded in thoughless and unloving manners. One particular warning, Matthew 7:1-5, is all the more keen when we’re tempted to employ the Bible in a condemnatory way.
* Is our evangelism always supposed to achieve great results? The contemporary decline of membership among mainline denominations has added urgency to evangelistic efforts. Acts 2:41 and 47 imply that, if we’re doing evangelism right, God will bless our efforts with great numbers. This outlook dovetails well with American concepts of success; yet “getting great numbers” was not a concern of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46, and Paul’s ministry among the Athenians was ineffective in practical terms. Yet no one would say that Paul shouldn’t have taken his ministry among the Greek intellectuals. Our command to make disciples (Matt. 28:19) is relevant whether we make a few disciples or many: the real work is done by God’s Spirit promised to us by the risen Lord.
* How about using Bible characters as models? Let me use David as an example, for the Bible calls him a “man after God’s heart” (1 Samuel 13:13-14, Acts 13:22), in spite of his very flawed life. If you’re like me, you want to be a person after God’s heart, too. We ask, “How can God use me? Does God see me as somebody he can use?” Neither is necessarily an easy question to answer. As we develop a good spiritual life that includes regular worship, fellowship, Bible reading, prayer, and a certain amount of spiritual discipline, we try to keep focusing back to God. We try to stay open to God’s guidance and purpose. We take comfort that a flawed person like David could be so well used by God.
But we can’t raise these questions only in the context of David’s stories! First, we need to be careful not to place ourselves on a similar stature as David, to make ourselves equal somehow to him, or to make God’s plans with Israel similar to the patterns of our lives. (Besides, David was an Iron Age warrior and killer of many, many people; to focus upon and identify with only his spiritual humility is to ignore significant things about him.) David and his people were special in God’s salvation history, while we’re beneficiaries of the groundwork God accomplished through them. Second, although we can certainly learn with aspects of Bible characters’ experiences, we need to seek God’s will about these stories in the context of our salvation in Christ. For instance, we all actually have a better chance to become close to God than David because, now, God’s Spirit is poured out to all of us. God’s Spirit gives gifts of power and ministry unimaginable in ancient times, taking God’s will for us to new levels (John 14:12). So often we take Bible passages and Bible commandments and separate them from the key things: our covenant relationship with God, our relationship to God through Christ, and Christ’s commandment that we love.
1. I’ve adopted the image of landscape exploration from Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places by John R. Stilgoe, New York: Walker & Co., 1999. Several good books provide a survey of biblical themes and theology, for instance, God and His Image: An Outline of Biblical Theology by Dominique Barthélemy, O.P. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007), Far As the Curse Is Found: The Covenant Story of Redemption by Michael D. Williams (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2005), The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story by Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible: An Introductory Biblical Theology by Graeme Goldsworthy (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1991), God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible by Vaughan Roberts (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2002). A small, handy book worth searching for is A Year With the Bible by John Marsh (New York: Harper & Bros. 1957).
2. Gospel Parallels: A Synopsis of the First Three Gospels, ed. By Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1973).
When we study the Gospels, it’s difficult not to mentally harmonize the material. For instance, we think of the “seven last words of Jesus,” but no single Gospel contains all seven; we mentally conflate the material. In fact, a second century Christian named Tatian harmonized the content of the four gospels into a continuous life, called the Diatessaron, which we now know through variant versions of ancient copies. Howard Clark Kee, Jesus in History: An Approach to the Study of the Gospels (second edition, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977) pp. 281-292.
3. I still have some of my favorite seminary paperbacks like Jesus of Nazareth by Günther Bornkamm (New York: Harper & Row, 1960), The Crucified Messiah and Other Essays (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1974) and Jesus in the Memory of the Early Church (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1976), both by Nils Alstrup Dahl (who autographed them for me); and Klee, op. cit. A good recent text is Four Gospels, One Jesus? by Richard A. Buridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmanns, 1994). Among the many New Testament studies, two excellent ones are The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation by Luke T. Johnson (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), and Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).
4. Brevard S. Childs in his Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1993), page 643.
5. I make this point in my book What’s in the Bible About Jesus? for the series What’s in the Bible, and Why Should I Care? (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2008), page 43.
6. An introduction to the Bible’s types of writings is And God Said What? An Introduction to Biblical Literary Forms by Margaret Nutting Ralph (New York: Paulist Press, 1986, 2003).
7. Preaching the Whole Bible As Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching by Graeme Goldsworthy (Grand Rapids: Eerdmanns, 2000), page 217.