WebDef: Scripture

Scrip·ture /skripCHər/ – Noun: The sacred writings of a religion.

In a Christian context, scripture refers to text from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and New Testament. Taken together, they form what we commonly refer to as The Bible. Scripture is not all alike; there are various genres of scriptural writings in the Bible:

Genres in Christian Scripture

  • History – an account of the unfolding of events through Jewish history before Jesus.
  • Gospel – an account of Jesus' life and death and resurrection.
  • Law – proper behavior, duties, Ten Commandments, Law of Moses.
  • Poetry – The Bible is filled with poetry, as is clear from reading the Psalms and Proverbs, Mary's Magnificat, and even the Beatitudes. According to many accounts, 75% of the Old Testament is poetry, which is easier to speak and to memorize. Look for parallelism – two ways of saying the same thing – as a clue you may be reading Hebrew poetry.
  • Epistle – personal letters by the apostles, addressed to churches as a whole in various cities. All the writings of Paul fall into this category.
  • Prophecy – a prophet calls to repentance, accompanied by warnings. Apocalyptic writing is included in this category. Revelation is part of this genre.
  • Wisdom – probes the meaning of life, providing a moral compass to help follow God's will. The Book of Job, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs are all part of this genre.

See also related Webdefs entries, such as Canonical and Apocryphal.

What are WebDefs?

WebDefs – simple definitions of key terms relating to ministry and healing arts – are a regular feature of NHM Ministrants. Offered (where applicable) in conjunction with select key scriptural passages and analysis, WebDefs can be a useful starting place for exploring a topic of interest.

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