for those continuing in their ministry



The Bible is a collection of books written:

  • by different authors
  • in different styles
  • at different times
  • for specific audiences

What we know about literature can be applied to the Bible
Three common literary genres found in the Bible are narrative, poetry and discourse.

Given what we know about the Bible, and that its various texts have been written with the intention of telling a story of faith (rather than providing an historical record), as Catholics we read, reflect on, and respond to Scripture texts through four senses:
  • The literal sense: the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture, interpreted soundly
  • The allegorical sense: symbolic; recognising the significance of events in Christ
  • The moral sense: Scripture leads us to act justly
  • The anagogical sense: viewing realities and events in terms of eternal significance.

What is the genre of each of the scripture passages below (or in the handout): narrative, poetry or discourse?  How were you able to identify the genre of the text?

Participant Handouts

Biblical Literary Genres

Instructions for Ministers of the Word

Further Reading

The Senses of Scripture (US Bible Week 2015 Article)