"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
The Parable of The Wheat and Tares
Some of the most popular and misunderstood Scripture of the Bible are the parables of the teaching of Jesus Christ. While the use of parables were highly effective for teaching of Jesus, they often required His explanation and continue to required exegetical study to completely comprehend their many elements even to this day. Much like the Scripture throughout the Bible, the parables ranged in elementary concepts to beyond the most wise theological concepts ever heard by the ears of man. In this study we have be given the opportunity to discuss the parable of the wheat and tares of Matthew 13:24-30. We will examine the structure, context, the points of reference, main point, original intent, and discuss application of the text to the church today.
The Structure, Literary, and Historical Context of Matthew 13:24-30
The structure of Matthew 13:24-30 has many characteristics of a typical parable including: plot, characterization, style, dialogue, repitition, and irony.symbols, time narrative, duration, and frequency.” The structure of a parable has a lot to say regarding the intention of the parable. In the text it mentions, “the structure of Matthew’s Gospel centers on the five major discourses presenting the content of Jesus’ teaching in chapters 5–7; 10:5–42; 13:1–52; 18:1–35; and 24–25.” Our text mentions that this section of the book of Matthew is listed as the third discourse, which he lables, “Kingdom Parables”. Regarding the structure Mark Bailey mentions that, “The parable has six major sections: the introduction (v.24a), the sowing (v.24b), the countersowing (v.25), the result (v.26), a first exchange between the servants and the owner (vv.27-28A), and a second exchange (vv.28b-30). The first half of the parable is narrative (vv. 24-26) and the second is dialogue (vv.27-30).”
The literary context of the parable of The Wheat and Tares can be best understood when it is defined. Our text mentions that “A parable is a short narrative that demands a response from the hearer. With regard to genre, parables are true-to-life or realistic stories. They differ from historical narrative in that they are not true stories, though they are told with verisimilitude.” Many times the presence of weeds among the wheat is often found just as the same metaphorically can be found among the body of Christ in the Church. This parable has some obvious literary context clues. Elements such as “earthiness, conciseness, repitition, conclusion, listener-relatedness, reversal, Kingdom centered eschatology, Kingdom ethics, and God and salvation” seem to abound in this parable. Simile and metaphor are both common elements used within this parable. Comparing wheat to weeds or tares continues the theme of a harvest, but points out the differences of the two plants by what fruit they bare. The weeds are essentially useless for the reaping of a crop (actually aiding in the destruction), while the wheat provides a hearty and nutritious substance for mankind to fuel their bodies.
The historical context of the parable is slightly harder to pick out for this text due to its lack of refernces to specific events. To understand how to find it, we need to be aware of exactly what it does. Our text mentions, “Historical context provides us with vital background information necessary for understanding the purpose of a given text and aids in recon-structing the particular situations that generated the need for it.” We know that location where the parable was given on the coast “by the sea” (Matthew 13:1). There are also other historical clues we get from the New Testament texts in general, such as Nihimiola mentions, “Jesus’ use of parables shows his rabbinical background, almost ever religious and ethical concept in the Talmud “is illustrated by a parable identical in form with parables in the New Testament.” Without the historical context, we would not know how to apply this parable. We know how to apply because we know the time period in the midst of Jesus’ ministry. He was present in Israel at the time where wheat would be harvested for a food source, making it a an awesome platform to teach from.
The Points of Reference and Main Point of Matthew 13:24-30
There are multiple points of reference in the parrable of the wheat and tares. The first point would be the harvester/farmer who would eventually reap the harvest, which is Christ. The men who were helpers would represent the sowers/workers in the field. This would be the ministers of the Gospel. The enemy who comes while the men are asleep would be Satan or his cohort spirits. The next point would be wheat, which are the Christians. They are identified as a whole (wheat field) and as individuals (strands of wheat), while also metaphorically speaking of the multitude of God’s harvest. Notice wheat strands are many in a healthy wheat field. Next would be the weeds/tares which are the bad seeds sown into the field by the enemy. These represent those who are now acting in the best interest of the enemy. They attempt to spoil and destruct the productive wheat by stealing the nutrients, light, and space. The final point of reference as would be the coming of the Son of Man which is represented by the harvest itself.
The main point found in this parable is as simple as the elements themselves explian. Emiola Nihinlola mentions, “The parable teaches the cause and reality of the presence of evil in the world. Good, righteous people are living in an age of evil, sin, deception lawlessness, corruption, and rebellion. These things will continue to remain in the world (and unfortunately also manifest in the church) in the last days (Matthew24:5, 11, 14; 2 Tim. 3:1-9).” In an article by Mark Bailey he mentions that, “One of the central truths in this parable is the reality of the judment that will separate the wicked from the righteous.” Jesus wanted his listerners to have faith in Him, therefore, “the purpose of Jesus’ para-bles was not limited to instruction but also served to engage his hearers’ value system, priorities, and way of thinking.”
The Original Intent and Application of Matthew 13:24-30 To The Church Today
The original intent of the parable found in Matthew 13:24-30 is provided at face value by the Scripture. It is obvious that there will be seeds planted by God, but because of sin in this world, there will also be seeds planted by the enemy. An article by Emiola Nihinlola mentions that, “The first purpose is to reveal, emphasize or clarify a spiritual truth to believers (Matt. 13:10-15; Mark 4:11-12; Luke 8:9-10).” There was always a spiritual concept within the parable itself. Our text mentions that, “In essence, parables were Jesus’ preferred teaching tool for producing in his listeners a proper alignment with God’s values which characterized the Kingdom Jesus had come to inaugurate and proclaim.”
The Church still has much to consider and learn from the parables today. In the parable of the wheat and tares, there are surely many. The main principles being as Emiola mentions, “God will jusge the world some day. An important eschatological implication of the text is the hope of ultimate victory over evil. This is presented along with the glorious future of the children of God and the church.“ As the Church and body of Christ, we have to keep one common principle in mind that Mark Bailey points out by saying, “Matthew’s parable addresses the simultaneous growth of good and bad seed.” We have to remember that those bad seed are growing up amongst the good. They are watered, nurtured, and mature in the light much like that of their neighbors. Unfortunately they do not reap the same benefit as their neighbor. They are not place there to be productive for the farmer, but rather to “go against the grain” in rebellion. This is an attempt to choke out the good seeds sown by the workers of God’s field.
As we have discovered by this detailed look into the parable of the wheat and tares, there is much to be considered and learned from its elements of truth. By knowing the structure, literary and historical context, points of refernce, main point, original intent, and application to the church today we can better understand what it means for us as followers of Christ. We also must consider as our text mentions, “The hermeneutical explorations and the theological implications of the parable of the weeds among the wheat also encourage the church to keep faith and hope till the end.” We must not lose our hope and faith in Christ as we await his harvest of the bride. This picture of the wheat and weeds helps us to further imagine how awesome and glorious a day that will surely be. It will be then that we can give praises and declare our victory at last.
Bailey, Mark (Mark L). 1998. "The Kingdom in the Parables of Matthew 13 Part 3 The parable of the tares." Bibliotheca Sacra 155, no. 619: 266-279. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed July 10, 2017).
Elwell, Walter, A. Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001.
Goodrick, Edward W. The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.
Grand Canyon University. “New Testament Exegesis: Exegeting the Gospels.” Lecture 5, Biblical Hermeneutics, Grand Canyon University, 2016.
Köstenberger, Andreas J., and Patterson, Richard D. "Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology." (2011): Accessed July 8th, 2017. , http://gcumedia.com/digital-resources/kregel/2011/invitation-to-biblical-interpretation_exploring-the-hermeneutical-triad-of-history-literature-and-theology_ebook_1e.php
Nihinlola, Emiola, "'The weeds among the wheat': hermeneutical investigation into a kingdom parable." Ogbomoso Journal Of Theology 12, (2007) 87-98. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed July 10, 2017).
 Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2011), 392-396, accessed July 9th, 2017, GCU eBook
 Ibid. 399.
 Ibid. 401
 Mark L. Bailey, "The Kingdom in the Parables of Matthew 13-Part 3: The parable of the tares." Bibliotheca Sacra 155, no. 619 (1998): 266-279, accessed July 10th, 2017, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials.
 Ibid. 426.
 Köstenberger and Patterson, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology. 440.
 Ibid. 383.
 Emiola Nihinlola, “The Weeds Among The Wheat: Hermeneutical Investigation into a Kingdom Parable,” Ogbomoso Journal Of Theology, no. 12 (2007): 87-98, accessed July 10th, 2017, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.
 Ibid. 94.
 Bailey, “The Parable of The Tares”, 276.
 Ibid. 429.
 Emiola Nihinlola, “The Weeds Among The Wheat: Hermeneutical Investigation into a Kingdom Parable,” Ogbomoso Journal Of Theology, no. 12 (2007): 88, accessed July 10th, 2017, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.
 Ibid. 429.
 Ibid. 96
 Ibid. 97.
Discuss the major hermeneutical principles for interpreting letters. When doing this focus on how you would exegete and resolve the tension that emerges in the theological diversity found between Paul and James on the role of works in salvation?
The letters which according to our lecture make “most of the New Testament”, have been the topic of much theology debate over the centuries. Part of the reasoning behind the debate is because these letters or epistles are often misunderstood because they are not interpreted in context. According to our lecture, there are four major factors to consider when interpreting the letters. These four include: “historical context, literary context, situational aspect, and the exegetical fallacies” concerning the epistles.
Historical context considers the historical factors that play into the writing of that letter. The letters are based on events that really happened. When secular history and science discredit the Bible, they do not realize that they are discrediting a significant historical source of information. We have to ask questions about the history such as, what was happening at that time to cause the author to react by writing this? What were the issues of history, and did the meanings change over time (such as the “illegitimate totality transfer fallacy”)? This goes hand in hand with the “situational aspect” as our lecture calls it.This factor considers that the letters where always written for a purpose or as our lecture states, “they were written at a specific time and in a specific place to address a specific set of questions and concerns.”
The “second most important exegetical step” according to our text would be determining the “literary context.” This also would go hand in hand with the many possible “exegetical fallacies.” Once the genre is understood (letters in this situation), we can then determine how we can interpret certain figures of speech, wording, etc. I have over time discovered as our text suggests, “ it is never sentences only but paragraphs and larger units of thought to which one refers.” Many cults and religions that branch off of Christianity have been started in good intentions, but were created due to either a fallacy or the wrong application of “literary context.”
After reading both the Pauline letters and James many times, I do not believe that these two apostles contradict each other as many would argue. They actually complement one another in their writings when you consider all of the factors such as those discussed in this posting. When examing James 2:14, it appears he isn’t arguing that faith can’t save us, but rather faith would cause us to do good works which shows the fruit of that faith. Paul is arguing the same point when he states in Romans 3:31, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” When taking the literary context into your understanding of the two letters, you will see the intention of the letters after reading them in their entirety. When only reading the letters and determining context based on each sentence, it would be easy to get the wrong understanding.
 Grand Canyon University, “New Testament Exegesis: Exegeting the Epistles” (lecture 7, Biblical Hermeneutics, Grand Canyon University, 2016). https://lc.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/user/users.html
 Grand Canyon University, “New Testament Exegesis: Exegeting the Epistles”
 The Holy Bible, KJV
Discuss the main problem discussed by the Council in Acts 15. What were the main details of the controversy? In what ways can/should this text be applied to modern Christians?
Acts 15:1-21 (NKJV)
Conflict over Circumcision
15 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. 4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
The Jerusalem Council
6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. 7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ[a] we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles. 13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: 14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
16 ‘After this I will return
And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will set it up;
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name,
Says the Lord who does all these things.’[b]
18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.[c] 19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality,[d] from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
Acts 15:1-5 begins with the debate around the teachings of some believers as to whether new gentile converts should be circumcised and obey the laws of Moses. These believers appear to be more Messianic Jews that just Christian. There was debate between them, Paul, and Barnabas which required them to seek council by the other elders and apostles of the Church. After they had debated, Peter made the proclamation reminding them all the revelation that God had given him. God had shown him that we were to be saved by faith and not the laws that no man had been able to completely follow before. Verses 13-21 gives us the account of James who agrees that the gentiles would see salvation through faith by the testimony of the prophets (v.16-17). However, he also goes on to say that the moral laws and violations of God’s laws should be kept intact by ordering them to abstain from sin (v.20-21).
I believe that this portion of Scripture within Acts is significant in many ways outside just that of the laws and gentiles. This helps us to see how the Temple had now been replaced by the body. The Spirit who now would reside in man at their baptism were now the temples of God. This is one reason it was significant to have a “clean” temple, free from sin and uncleanliness as James described (sanctification). This is also why the Pentecostal churches tend to give a lot of focus to the “cleaning of our temples” through sanctification and a life of holiness. As our article by F.F. Bruce points out, Jesus was filled “with the Holy Spirit and with power.” Up until the parents of John the Baptist, this was only temporary, but now could be maintained in the life of man by keeping the faith and a clean house for the Lord to dwell in. Many will say that this story points out that we are not obligated under the law and shows we are to invite everyone to taste of this life-giving bread, but I believe it points out that we must still respect God’s moral commands as they have been given. Jesus was careful not to violate God’s commands and we are “Christ-followers”, which makes it a requirement for us to respect God’s commands as well.
The later parts of the chapter end with letters and instructions being written to the various churches that were known at that time and they were also accompanied by apostles and leaders. These instructions were clear and, also again pointed out the fact that God has also given us moral standards to live by. The chapter ends with the disagreement by Paul and Barnabas, but goes to show us that many times within the church, we will not agree with one another. Sometimes we step outside of God’s will and other times we just have different paths to follow. Regardless of the outcome, just as the denominations may differ on spiritual gifts, we can work towards the common goal of sharing the Gospel of Christ. One day, God will judge us and sort these details out and on that day, we can worship side by side once again.
 F.F. Bruce,“Luke’s Presentation of the Spirit in Acts,” Criswell Theological Review (1990): 15-29, accessed July 13th, 2017, https://lc-grad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/externalLinks/externalLinks.html?operation=redirectToExternalLink&externalLink=https%3A%2F%2Flopes.idm.oclc.org%2Flogin%3Furl%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fsearch.ebscohost.com%2Flogin.aspx%3Fdirect%3Dtrue%26db%3Drfh%26AN%3DATLA0000847623%26site%3Dehost-live%26scope%3Dsite
Identify a parable within the Gospels, the main point that Jesus was trying to make within the parable, and how that should affect the life of the believer. Base your response on the lecture and the textbook readings. Cite references from your reading to support your answer.
The parables are a blessing and a collection of infinite wisdom of God, making it hard to pick out which one I would like to identify. I will have to go with Mark 4:1-9 or commonly known as the Parable of The Sower.
Mark 4:1-9 (NKJV)
The Parable of the Sower
1And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. 2 Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:
3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the aircame and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
9 And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
To understand this parable, we must first consider the steps that an article by Mark Bailer describes, which are: ”understand the setting, uncover the need that prompted it, analyze the structure/details, state the central truth of the parable and its relationship to the Kingdom, and respond to the intended appeal of the parable.” This parable has a much simpler meaning behind it than most I have studied, but yet it still portrays the knowledge of God that many who have heard the Gospel may not receive it. It begins with a sower, who represents a minister of the Gospel in the field. Jesus uses the metaphor of a farmer putting out seed to represent the sower. This is interesting that Jesus uses this metaphor as our text by William Klein and Robert Hubbard mentions a characteristic of parables as, “Earthiness: Almost all the parables are told within a setting in which the images in the parables are supported by earthy details. Understanding these details is crucial to understanding the parable itself.”
As the sower sows the seed, it lands on various types of terrain. This terrain represents the various individuals and ministry opportunities that we will come across while sowing God’s Word into the field. Some of the individuals that we will sow the Gospel to may be similar to the seeds who were devoured by the “birds” which represents the ones that the enemy immediately deceives. Many sinners will receive the Gospel and believe, but like seed sown on stony ground they will not weather the storms of life. The slightest problems arise and they do not have a solid foundation and grounding in their faith, which will cause them to fall. The seed that grew among the thorns represents those who have heard and received the Gospel. These believers go for a while and serve God, but are later surrounded by the thorns which represent distractions. These distractions cause them to lose focus and eventually their “first love”. The Scripture also tells us that it causes them to become “unfruitful”. Those seed which are sown on good ground turn into believers who hear the Gospel, repent, and continually serve Christ throughout the remainder of their life. This type of believer will bear the “fruit” evident in a true believers life. We should all consider what Jesus is saying in this parable and strive to be that seen sown on good ground. In our service to God, we should not concern ourselves with what kind of terrain our seeds falls on, but rather focus on sowing as only that person can control if they remain in service to Christ.
 Mark L. Bailey, “Guidelines For Interpreting Jesus’ Parables,” Bibliotheca Sacra 155, (January-March 1996): 30-37, accessed July 6th, 2017, https://lc-grad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/externalLinks/externalLinks.html?operation=redirectToExternalLink&externalLink=https%3A%2F%2Flopes.idm.oclc.org%2Flogin%3Furl%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fsearch.ebscohost.com%2Flogin.aspx%3Fdirect%3Dtrue%26db%3Drfh%26AN%3DATLA0000998292%26site%3Dehost-live%26scope%3Dsite
 Klein, William W., Blomberg, Craig L., Hubbard, Robert L. JR. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc., 2004
Discuss the form and content of the Sermon on the Mount. How do you think it fits into Matthew’s gospel? How would you go about exegeting the text? Cite references from your reading to support your answer.
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is one of the most popular teachings of Jesus to both Christians as well as non-believers. Almost everyone who has ever heard the Gospel, has heard some aspect from this message. From the Beatitudes to the Lord’s Prayer, it is also commonly quoted. It is not only popular, but contains many teaching by Jesus that is held dear by the body of Christianity today. This sermon, spanning about two chapters in Matthew contains many of the moral teachings of Jesus and follows closely to the moral laws given by God, through Moses many generations earlier. This sermon is not only predominantly narrative, but also includes a couple of parables and hints of poetry as well. An article by Mark Bailey describes this combination of form by saying, “Parables are distinguished from other literary figures in that they are narratives in form, but figurative in meaning.”
Within this sermon, you find many of the teachings regarding the nature and conduct of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Heaven and if God’s “will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” we should also conduct ourselves accordingly. It has a lot to say regarding different issues and dilemmas that we will face in life every day. Jesus is simply saying that if we live our lives according to these statutes, we will be better off as Christians and fellow citizens to our neighbors. Jesus expected His disciples and now His followers to treat others even better than we treat ourselves. Such an example can be found in John 13, where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. Our text mentions this also by saying, “Foot washing was a task customarily done by non-Jewish slaves and never by a superior to his inferior. In taking on this menial stance, Jesus provides an example of true service, the kind he expected of all his followers.” However, not only will you find that Jesus instructed us how to treat others in this sermon, but also how to communicate, pray, and worship God. He even throws in quite a few tips on how to best take care of ourselves by avoiding such things as worry (6:25-34).
Since much of the Scripture within the Sermon on the Mount appears to be in narrative/parable form, I would most likely approach it from that angel of exegesis. Our assigned article by Mark Bailey helps to lay out the steps for interpreting such Scripture as the parables. There are five steps including: “understand the setting, uncover the need that prompted the parable, analyze the structure and details of the parable, state the central truth of the parable and its relationship to the Kingdom, and respond to the intended appeal of the parable.” By doing these five steps, you can help to understand the historical background, as well as the cultural influences that helped to shape the text. As our text mentions, “Despite these similarities, however, there are sufficient differences suggest that the canonical Gospels constitute a unique genre.” Some truths however, such as many of the elements within the Sermon on the Mount have no limits of application and transcend time because they are related to as Bailey says, “The Kingdom of God.”
 Mark L. Bailey, “Guidelines For Interpreting Jesus’ Parables,” Bibliotheca Sacra 155, (January-March 1996): 29, accessed July 6th, 2017, https://lc-grad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/externalLinks/externalLinks.html?operation=redirectToExternalLink&externalLink=https%3A%2F%2Flopes.idm.oclc.org%2Flogin%3Furl%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fsearch.ebscohost.com%2Flogin.aspx%3Fdirect%3Dtrue%26db%3Drfh%26AN%3DATLA0000998292%26site%3Dehost-live%26scope%3Dsite
 Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2011), 383, accessed July 6th, 2017, GCU eBook. 266.
 Mark L. Bailey, “Guidelines For Interpreting Jesus’ Parables,” 30-37.
 Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation. 370
 Ibid. 35.
Understanding Old Testament Poetry
For many centuries, poetry has been a form of not just literature, but also expression in general. From ancient love letters to the bed time stories of Mother Goose, literature brings us many of the good things of life back to memory. The poetry of the Old Testament Bible and Hebrews has many of the same impacts. Just as any other form of the Word of God, Old Testament poetry was ordained and inspired by God. In this examination of Old Testament Poetry we will examine the concepts of metaphor, the major structural devices, and the different types of parallelism within it.
Concepts of Metaphor
Long before metaphor was used in the local pastor’s sermons, it could be found within the Old Testament poetry such as the book of Psalms. “Metaphor” as defined by Scott Duvall and J.Daniel Hays, “make the analogy between items by direct statement without the use of like or as.” Examples of metaphor in the Old Testament can be found in Psalms such as 23:1 where it is said, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Other books of the Old Testament contain metaphor as well such as Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Metaphor is valuable to poetry as it allows us to draw understanding by paiting a picture for the mind. Pictures speak volumnes by themselves that take words many paragraphs to explain. Metaphor helps bring about the author’s, “way of stating their thoughts so concisely that the result is a polished and succint presentation free of unnecessary details” as Köstenberger and Patterson would describe the terseness that is provided by metaphor.
The Major Structural Devices of Hebrew Poetry
The structure of the Hebrew poetry is of the utmost importance as it determines how that poetry will be read and understood. Hebrew Poetry’s form can greatly impact the interpretation of its text. Upon researching the major structural devices of the poetry, it is obvious that not everyone agrees upon what to call the main elements of it’s structure, but there are some common elements and themes througout. There are what Mr Köstenberger and Patterson refer to as “building blocks” which are, “monocolon, bocolon, tricolon, tetracolon, quatrain, and pentacolon (rare).” These simply refer to the lines and number of words in the poem structure. The Oxford Biblical Studies Online mentions, “The nature of the correspondence between the lines of a couplet or triplet (also called “bicolon” and “tricolon” respectively) can be described in terms of both the grammatical and semantic dimentions of the language and may be active at the word and line levels.” These are elements that determine the line structure of the poetry unlike “parallelism, terseness, concreteness, and imagery” which are characteristics that the poetry contains.
There are also what the author mentions as “structural indicators” such as bookending, stitching, chiastic structure and bifid structure.” Our lecture on poetry refers to such devices in more plain terms such as, “word pairs, merism, chiasm, inclusio, repeated refrains, and acrostics.” These structures simply relate directly to different elements of the structure within the poetry itself such as the number of lines and words that are paired together to form thoughts. They help to establish the thought process in order to interpret the verse of Scripture.
Types of Parallelism of Hebrew Poetry
Just as important as the structural devices of Hebrew poetry, are the types of parallelism used within it’s text. The use of parallelism helps the reader draw conclusions and theological assumptions based on how it is used. For example: Dr. Köstenberger and Patterson define parallelism as, “the practice of using similar language of approximately the same number of words and length, and containing a corresponding thought, phrase, or idea over succeeding lines.” The authors also reference the types of parallelism as being, “similar, antithetic, progressive, and emblematic.” Dr. Duvall and Hays also introduce some types of parallelism by different terms such as, “synonymous, developmental, illustrative, contrastive, and formal.” Not all parallelism references display the same method of reaching a common conclusion, but some such as antithetic parallelism, “display a sharp contrast” in their metaphors or word choice. Although there are many characteristics and elements to consider when reading poetry, it is recommended that due to its complicated matter that parallelism brings to the table that it is read slowly. Dr. Duvall and Hays also further advise us, “So train your eye to read line by line rather than sentence by sentence.”
Regardless of what genre of the Bible is preferred, we can always find a source of wisdom and encouragement from the wisdom of Old Testament poetry. It is obvious that God has carefully crafted each line of poetry in perfect harmony with the creativity and personality of the author who wrote it down. I pray that we can all appreciate the concepts of metaphor, the major structural devices, and different types of parallelism used within the Hebrew poetry. Without the clever lines of poetic Scriptures like the Psalms, we would miss out on much emotion, wisdom, prophecy, and mental pictures of the stories from the Old Testament. From such a gift as poetry, we can appreciate how much God loves us to leave behind a valuable treasure as these.
 J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping God’s Word: A Hands On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012) 382.
 The Holy Bible, KJV (unless noted differently)
 Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2011), 271, accessed June 21, 2017, GCU eBook.
 J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping God’s Word. 279-281
 John R Levinson, ed. 1996. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Theology: Oxford Biblical Studies Online. Accessed May 14th, 2017. http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/article/opr/t264/e405?_hi=0&_pos=2
 Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation. 266-277.
 Ibid. 282-285
 Grand Canyon University, “Old Testament Exegesis: Exegeting Poetry” (lecture 3, Biblical Hermeneutics, Grand Canyon University, 2016).
 Ibid. 266
 Ibid. 266-271.
 Ibid. 377-379
 Ibid. 268
 Ibid. 377