Day 1 With the Literary ESV

BANG! With that I’m out of the starting gate. I haven’t quite determined how in depth to make this little blogging routine but I have two windows open. One on each monitor. 🙂 To my left is the Literary ESV set on Genesis 1 – I started to read the notes and figured I’d best open a blog window on the right. I’m already enjoying the literary notes. Viewing the Bible through a literary Genre lens is a worthy endeavor. Thanks to the venerable KJV the english language is packed with literary allusions to the Bible. Just go looking for them. I’ve got some reading to do. Don’t know how much I’ll blog about the content itself but here we go.

Epic. Not only is it the theme of the book of Genesis from a literary standpoint but it is the only way to truly regard reading the book of Genesis (well 1/2 of it) in one sitting. Creation, Fall, Flood, Families of the Earth, and the pivot point of not only the book of Genesis but of the entire Old Testament – the selection of the Patriarch Abram and his children to be the family through whom God will bless the earth.
The flood narrative demonstrates that merely starting over isn’t good enough. Once the human soul has been marred by sin, even a proverbial “new years day” won’t change anything. So God chooses Abraham and puts into play the long term plan to redeem the human soul.
That plan is not without it’s difficulties for it’s human recipients are – it seems- unwilling to fully participate in the restoration. Abraham lies about his wife, seeks to fulfill God’s will on his own, and yet in the midst of stumbling or rather falling over several times manages to stand in faith. This is of course consistent with Proverbs 24:16, “for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.”
There is a strange and powerful insight into watching God’s chosen man Abraham rise and fall and rise and fall again and again. It’s not so much centered around a perverse desire to see sin in another man but rather in a momentous opportunity to see God’s grace and mercy poured into a life. All of the failures and all of the mercy comes together in Abraham’s story as if to yell at us, “God is not going to give up on making you holy.” How I revel in the knowledge of Philippians 1:6, “…that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ” As the Almighty isn’t finished with Abraham, neither is God finished with me. I am grateful.

In Genesis 25 we begin the transition from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob. While Isaac’s life is minimized, Jacob comes floating to the forefront as a model of what God can do with one very flawed man whom He decides to bless. I cannot help but see myself in Jacob – not in his actions but in his heart which God has to wrestle into submission.

In the overall story of Jacob, the portrait … is largely a satiric portrait, as the hero’s character flaws are repeatedly exposed to view.
– ESVLB Gen 25 notes


The psalms, unlike the rest of the Bible are distinct literary units unto themselves. This doesn’t meant that they don’t share certain characteristics but that in almost no case does moving from one Psalm to the next constitute a story. Therefore they should be read independently.
Since I’m already running long on time today (what a foretaste of where this is headed!) I’m going to simply state that reading these ten Psalm is hardly a difficult thing. They are beautiful and powerful and I’m looking forward to the future Psalm readings. Though I am beginning to wander why I didn’t earlier decide start with Job as the beginning of the poetic / wisdom literature today.