30 March 2016

Guide to the Bible (4) Poetry - By Jack Lewis

Hi everyone! Today I'm going back into my series going through the different sections of the Bible. So far I've done Law and History, and after those books come the books of poetry. The books in order are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. Some of those, i.e. Psalms and Song of Songs, are very obviously poetry. The others, Job for example, aren't really poetic, instead they tell us of conversations between people. 
To go through each book in more depth, we'll start with Job. This book tells us the story of of a man who is very wealthy and prosperous, and he is also a very Godly man. But then Satan goes to God, and tells him that Job is only loyal to him because of the wealth he has. So God grants the Devil's request, and allows Satan to inflict all kinds of losses on Job. He loses his family, livestock, slaves, and property, everything basically. (This part is all told in the first two chapters, after that the rest of the book - barring the last chapter - is conversations between Job and his friends.) Job, though, stays close to God all the way through, and eventually Satan admits defeat. God then blesses Job by giving him back much more than he lost. There is a very important lesson for us in this book, because we will all go through troublesome times in our lives. The lesson is that if we remain constant and with God through the trials, he will bless us if we come through still worshiping him. God could have chosen not to let Job go through all this, but God lets us all go through trials in life, that's where he finds his true followers, and those are the one's who will get the greatest reward both on this earth and the next. 
After Job, is Psalms. The Psalms are a collection of songs written by a variety of people, although many are thought to be written by King David. The songs vary greatly; some make up many of the shortest chapters in the Bible, while Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the entire Bible. The subjects vary too, some are songs of celebration and praise to God, while others are songs of mourning and sadness. 
Next up, is Proverbs. Again it's a collection, this time of wise sayings. It's written by King Solomon, and it's very analogical. It compares wisdom to a woman, and it's full of warnings against laziness and adultery. It can be split into three main sections: A general introduction to wisdom (chapters 1-9), a collection of wise sayings (10-30), and the book ends with a famous passage about the perfect wife (31). 
After Proverbs, is the book of Ecclesiastes. It's not exactly the most read book in the Bible, and it does have a bit of a depressing feel about it. It's written by an old, wise, and rich man; who looks back at his life and realizes that all his riches were eventually worthless. He struggles with one of life's big questions - What is the meaning of life, and he eventually comes to the conclusion that, without God, life is meaningless. Although the author is unknown, many people believe it to be written by the late King Solomon. The most famous part of the book is in chapter 3, "A time for everything."
The last of the poetry books, is Song of Songs. It's written by a younger King Solomon, which is why is sometimes also called Song of Solomon. It details a conversation between a woman, her lover, and their friends. It's very romantic, and shows how God wants us to love each other in a good way. It also shows that, in marriage, sex is a gift that can be celebrated and enjoyed.