How To Read The Bible Narrative

Bible Project

While the Bible is one unified story, it cannot all be read in the same way.

The How To Read the Bible series walks through each literary style found in the Bible to show how each uniquely contributes to the overall storyline. Each literary style lives by its own rules and structure.

One story, many styles.

The Bible can be broken into several categories of writing. Approximately 43% of the Bible is made up of narrative, from historical narrative to parables. Roughly 33% of the Bible is poetry, including songs, reflective poetry, and the passionate, politically resistant poetry of the prophets. The remaining 24% of the Bible is prose discourse, including laws, sermons, letters, and even one essay.

The Bible is an ancient Jewish collection of sacred literature made up of many different literary styles. Each biblical book uses a combination of all the literary styles to make its unique contribution to the story of the Bible. First, let's take a look at the narrative style of storytelling.

This series should help you understand what the Bible is and the story it tells.

By the end of this series, you will be familiar with every part of the Bible and see how it uses language to communicate who God is, who we are, and the big, redemptive story that we are all living.


Can ignoring plot sequences lead to distorted interpretations of biblical stories? Learn how to better understand plot in biblical narrative.


Bible characters are morally complex, neither all good nor all bad. See how biblical authors use character to make key points in the biblical story.


Explore how setting plays a key role in the biblical story and see how biblical authors use time and place to mess with our expectations.

Design Patterns

See how individual stories throughout the Old and New Testaments have been beautifully coordinated through repeated words and parallel themes.

The Gospels

Why are there four Gospel accounts in the Bible? Aren’t they all telling the same story? The answer may surprise you. Learn more in this video.

The Parables of Jesus

Study the main themes in Jesus' parables and see why he used them as the primary vehicle for his message.