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The Expositors Collective

Why You Need To Understand Literary Genre – Kristie Anyabwile

By November 1, 2021No Comments

“When I teach I want to keep in mind the GENRE of what I am teaching. I want to remember what the conventions are of that genre and how do they inform my understanding of this text? I’m trying to follow the logic of the author, how he structured what he wrote, and the questions he’s anticipating from his audience and how he answers them.”Kristie Anyabwile speaks with Mike about the role that genre plays in interpreting a passage’s meaning, as well as the importance of feedback and peer review in the preparation process. She is married to Thabiti, a published author, bible teacher, and speaker. One of Kristie’s first opportunities to teach was at a women’s retreat. Despite not feeling fully prepared she took the opportunity and heard what initially seemed to be great feedback. Many of the women who attended complimented Kristie on her expositional teaching. Soon after, Kristie realized that there was so much more to teaching the Bible than accuracy. You have to reach the hearts of your audience.

Since then, Kristie has grown into a more balanced teacher and credits a lot of this growth to the team of people she has around her. She’s focused on finding people to give her feedback from many points of view. This team approach has helped Kristie hone her delivery to be theologically sound, astute and precise, while remaining relatable to her audience.

As an author, Kristie also places a big emphasis on genre when reading the bible or preparing a study. Genre provides context, structure and interpretation to the stories and passages she teaches. Kristie emphasizes the importance of understanding how the genre of the passage should inform the process of preparing to teach.

“The Bible is one story, but people often think it’s one “thing”.So when they read it they say “well, you read the Bible literally.” But if we read the whole Bible literally we would not be keeping genre in mind because, for example, we know that we don’t read things like poetry literally. Poetry gives us imagery, metaphors, and word pictures and they aren’t meant to be read literally. So we don’t read every book of the Bible literally, but we should read every book of the Bible “literarily”, meaning according to its literary genre. You get much more accuracy from how we read and understand the Bible when you consider genre.”

Kristie offers so many other wonderful insights Christians from all walks of life. You can listen to her teaching online or read her books for more.

Further resources:

Literarily: How Understanding Bible Genres Transforms Bible Study:

Simeon Trust lectures:

His Testimonies, My Heritage (book):


Recommended episodes:

Thabiti Anyabwile :

Greg Jao (Sermon Feedback and Critique)

Cheryl Brodersen (Learning from Spiritual Mothers)

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