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In John 5:39, Jesus says, "You search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life; these are they which testify of Me."

What is a Literary Approach to Scripture?

A literary approach to reading the Bible focuses on how each individual passage of Scripture works within the context of the story of the Bible as a whole to teach us about the Savior, Jesus Christ. It is the method of Scriptural interpretation that Jesus taught to the Emmaus disciples in Luke 24. It is also the method of Scriptural interpretation that all of the apostles of Jesus taught.


In the days of the early church, two schools of thought emerged surrounding biblical interpretation. The Alexandrian school (based in the ancient city of Alexandria) emphasized the literary approach to reading the Bible as taught by the apostles. The Antiochan school (based in Antioch) meanwhile emphasized a more scientific approach toward biblical interpretation and theology. Over time, the Antiochan school attained greater prominence than the Alexandrian school, and today most preachers and teachers have only been exposed to the methods of biblical interpretation that find their origins in the Antiochan school.


At the Alexandrian Forum, like our namesake, we emphasize the literary approach to Scripture because of its unique ability to show us how every story of the Bible points us to the Savior—exactly as the Lord himself taught us! (See John 5:39; Luke 24:27). 

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The Literary Bible Study Guide

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Learn about the three steps in the Literary Bible Study Method in more detail by downloading our free guide today.

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Bible Study Sample: "A Bride for Adam"

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This sample lesson applies the 3-Step Literary Bible Study Method to the story of God's provision of a bride for Adam in Genesis 2. Take a look at this familiar Bible story from a whole new perspective!

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