The Official Site of Dr. Leland Ryken
Learn How To Read The Bible As Literature
About The Official Leland Ryken Website
This site is preserving the works of a legend. With over 60 books that teach about the Bible as a literary work, Dr. Leland Ryken’s passion for the Word of God is being preserved and presented to Bible readers who have this same love.
This site is still in development. Resources have not yet been made into a format where visitors can easily access courses and download books. Keep watching this space so that you’ll see when these resources become available.
About Dr. Leland Ryken
I have been a college teacher of literature for over half a century. My entire teaching career has been at Wheaton College, located in Wheaton, Illinois.
I have taught and written on a wide range of subjects, but the topic for which I am best known is the Bible as literature. I have authored some sixty books, nearly half of them on the literary nature of the Bible.
Many of my essays and addresses on the Bible as literature now reside in the Leland Ryken Library of online resources and will be available to you soon.
The Bible as Literature
The concept of the Bible as literature fits naturally with an evangelical view of the Bible. The literary study of the Bible should begin where every other study of the Bible begins—by accepting as true everything that biblical writers say about Holy Scripture, including its inspiration by God and its infallibility.
To say that the Bible is largely a book of literature means that the content of the Bible is presented by means of literary genres and techniques. The Bible’s content is unique, but the forms in which that content comes to us are familiar literary ones. A literary analysis of the Bible approaches a biblical text in line with its literary nature. In particular, a literary approach to the Bible is committed to close reading of specific texts. Such close reading is based on the assumptions that God inspired everything that biblical authors put into their works, and that everything that is in a text is worthy of attention. – By Dr. Leland Ryken
To read the Bible as literature begins with an understanding of what literature is. Many entries in the Leland Ryken Library fill out what literature is. A summary statement is that literature (1) comes to us in distinct genres (types of writing) such as story and poetry, (2) does not primarily put ideas before us but rather human experiences that we vicariously relive, and (3) possesses an abundance of artistry. To read the Bible as literature is to interact with passages in keeping with the three traits that have been named. – By Dr. Leland Ryken
In any sphere of life, we need to deal with things in keeping with their nature. We eat salad with a fork because salad requires a fork rather than a spoon. Because the Bible is mainly a literary book, we need to read it with literary tools of analysis. As C. S. Lewis famously said, “There is a . . . sense in which the Bible, since it is after all literature, cannot properly be read except as literature; and the different parts of it as the different sorts of literature they are.” – By Dr. Leland Ryken
These Bible Resources are an effort by HELPS Ministries to preserve the essays, public addresses, and teaching materials that Dr. Ryken has accumulated during his half century as a professor, writer, and speaker. This is to ensure they continue to edify the body of Christ by teaching about the Bible as Literature and how this impacts the Bible reader and their reading. The most important themes of these resources are as follows:
- theoretic statements on why a literary approach to the Bible is necessary
- explanation of the methods of literary analysis of the Bible
- information about all the genres of writing found in the Bible
- literary analysis of texts found in the Bible
- in all of these specific endeavors, the goal is to make readers competent in literary analysis of the Bible
The Ryken Library
The items in the library are relatively short pieces that supplement Dr. Ryken’s complete books on the subject of the Bible as literature. The main classifications are as follows:
- two introductory courses composed for the library
- public addresses
- previously published articles and chapters from books
- short essays and how-to-do-it articles composed for the library
The Discovery Bible is available as a software and in print format. It is a primarily a language tool for the Bible that enables Bible readers to read an English Bible, yet still understand the meaning within the original languages of the Bible – namely Greek and Hebrew. In regards to the Bible as Literature, The Discovery Bible’s primary features take Bible readers to new literary levels through its primary features of Emphasis, Action Symbols and Word Studies.
“All literary analysis of the Bible consists primarily of close reading of biblical texts. The resources that aid such analysis are not limited to literary scholarship. Literary scholars can incorporate many of the tools and insights of traditional biblical scholarship. The Discovery Bible coordinates with literary analysis by providing lexical information that can inform any close reading of a biblical text.”
– Dr. Leland Ryken