The Torah, also known as the books of Moses, holds a special place in the hearts of many due to its rich and profound stories. To fully appreciate and engage with the Torah, we need to equip ourselves with the right tools. Today, we will explore the significance of literary tools and how they help us ask better questions when reading the Torah.
Recognizing Contextual Differences
As we approach different sections of the Bible, our questions and perspectives must adapt accordingly. Each part of the biblical library requires a distinct approach. When engaging with the Torah, we need to employ specific tools that highlight its uniqueness. This understanding sets the stage for a more comprehensive exploration of the Torah’s messages and teachings.
Exploring Literary Tools
Literary tools are crucial for uncovering the hidden treasures within the Torah. One example is parallelism, where the author purposefully places parallel stories or accounts side by side. For instance, the juxtaposition of the binding of Isaac and the story of Hagar and Ishmael serves a purpose. Similarly, in Genesis, the inclusion of the story of Judah and Tamar amidst Joseph’s narrative may initially seem out of place, but it invites us to investigate its significance.
The presence of dissonance within the text should not be dismissed as a contradiction. Instead, it serves as a clue to unravel the author’s intent. Take, for instance, the stories of David and Goliath and David’s service to Saul. The apparent lack of recognition between Saul and David in 1 Samuel 17 invites us to question why these stories are arranged in such a manner. By recognizing dissonance as intentional, we open doors to new lines of inquiry.
Asking Better Questions
The use of literary tools prompts us to ask deeper and more nuanced questions. When we encounter parallel accounts or dissonance, we should pause and reflect. What is the author trying to convey through these juxtapositions? How do these literary devices shed light on the themes and messages within the Torah? By engaging with the text on multiple levels, we uncover a wealth of wisdom and understanding.
is a theologian, the president and director of discipleship for Impact Campus Ministries, and the creator and executive producer of The BEMA Podcast. He and his wife, Rebekah, live in Cincinnati with their two children. Find out more about Marty at martysolomon.com.