Getting to Grips with the Genres

Imagine a history teacher that teaches history like it is fiction. Imagine a poetry teacher that teaches poetry like it is math. To do this would be absurd. History is not fiction and poetry is not math. Each subject functions differently. History functions through names, dates, and other facts whereas fiction functions through plot. Poetry functions through imagery, meter, and rhyme whereas math functions through logic, rules, and order. Principle: to appropriately teach these subjects the teacher must let each subject speak.

This principle applies to homiletics. Different genres fill the pages of Scripture. In the Lord’s sovereignty, he chose to use narrative, prophecy, gospel, epistle, apocalyptic, etc. to communicate specific truths. If we use the same sermon form without considering the genre then we mash unique kinds of literature into foreign forms. As preachers, we must allow Biblical genres to speak and even form our sermons.

In following posts over the next few weeks, I will attempt to accomplish two things. First, I will highlight how different Biblical genres function. Second, I will highlight the distinct rhetorical impact different Biblical genres intend.

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