Take a guided tour on how to interpret biblical poetry. Leland Ryken shows pastors and students and teachers of the Bible how to appreciate the artistic beauty of poetic literature. In Sweeter Than Honey, Richer Than Gold, he explores the intersection of the Bible and poetry. And he goes one step further than merely explaining the genre of poetry—he includes exercises to help students of the Bible master it.
In the Reading the Bible as Literature series, Leland Ryken explores the intersection of the Bible and literature. In the series preface he writes, “It is my belief that a literary approach to the Bible is the common reader’s friend, in contrast to the more specialized types of scholarship on the Bible.”
Leland Ryken has been a pacesetter in the literary study of the Bible, especially within the evangelical community. Those of us who find this approach to Scripture especially enriching are always ready to listen when Ryken speaks. Readers who master Ryken’s principles will find the Bible open up to them in new, exciting ways.
—Robert B. Chisholm Jr., Chair and Professor of Old Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
“Three specific types of interpretation might be noted: we need to identify the connotations of the image in the context of the poem; we need to name the emotions that are evoked by the image; and we need to explore the logic of the image in the context of the poem.” (Page 25)
“Synecdoche consists of using part of something to signify the whole phenomenon.” (Page 58)
“The broadest possible thing that we can say about poetry is that it consists of a language of images. An image is any word that names a concrete thing or action.” (Page 22)
“The other type of meaning consists of connotations. Connotations are feelings, attitudes, and associations that gather around a word or image.” (Page 25)
“The essence of a metaphor or simile is the principle of correspondence.” (Page 36)
Leland Ryken (Ph.D., University of Oregon) is Professor of English Emeritus at Wheaton College, where he has taught since 1968. He is the author of more than 50 books, including How to Read the Bible as Literature, Words of Delight: A Literary Introduction to the Bible, Windows to the World: Literature in Christian Perspective, and A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible.