Let me ask you, do you like reading the poetical literature in the Bible? The answer will surely be an almost unanimous “Yes.” Everyone especially loves reading the Psalms. So the next question would be, How deep do you dig in? Most of us get out our spiritual trowel and scrape a little off the top, never getting down into the roots.
But how would you like to go to the unfathomable depths? Would you like to know how it’s all put together so you can get more meaning from it? If the answer is “Yes,” then I would highly (very decidedly) recommend Sweeter Than Honey, Richer Than Gold: A Guided Study of Biblical Poetry.
Sweeter Than Honey … is the second of the series Reading the Bible as Literature by Leland Ryken published by Weaver Book Company. (The first was How Bible Stories Work.) Ryken holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and is Professor of English Emeritus at Wheaton College and a literary expert extraordinaire.
Ryken begins this volume with a brief introduction to biblical poetry in general providing a definition and the spiritual benefits of it. The remainder of the book is divided into two parts: “The Language Poets Use: and “The Composition of Biblical Poems.” Part one guides us clearly and gently through the technicalities of poetry using biblical examples. You will immediately begin to appreciate the poetry of the Bible as you read through this part.
In part two Ryken concentrates on the uniqueness of biblical poetry. Here we find the depths of poetry with a biblical focus. The author demonstrates that with a greater understanding of biblical poetry works, we can glean boundless meaning.
As with the first book each of the seven chapters includes a “Learning by Doing” section at the end. This is why I recommend that you “study” through this book as opposed to “read” through it. This volume is not just for Bible scholars. Rather it is for those who enjoy the challenge of digging in to Scripture with the proper tools. (Think of it as a spiritual archeological dig.)
Buy it, read it, study it and get your highlighter out.
Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by Weaver Book Company for a fair and honest review.