How To Mirror-Read Different Genres In The Bible

Mirror-reading is primarily discussed in regards to the epistles of the Bible, but mirror-reading can be applied to other genres in the Bible as well.

 Mirror Read The Bible

Epistles

This is the genre most people feel comfortable mirror-reading (if they feel comfortable mirror-reading at all!). For example, if Paul says "Don't do this", then the false teachers may have been saying "Do this". 

However, not everything that Paul (or other NT writers) say should be taken in such polarized fashion.  It is helpful to categorize what Paul says as opposite/different, same or unique.  The example above would qualify as opposite/different.  "Same" would be instances where Paul quotes the false teachers or when he mentions a point of agreement but then qualifies that agreement.  "Unique" would be words that Paul wrote that have no similarity to what the false teachers were saying.  However, it's important to remember that regardless of which category it is, all of the categories can be used to correct what the false teachers were saying.  Watch my video about these categories.

Check out this page and click on an epistle to see how I mirror-read it.

Wisdom

I prefer to think of the Wisdom literature as "Teachings".  They are similar to epistles in that if the "teaching says this" then the "false teaching says this".  I've only mirror-read Ecclesiastes thus far, so I'm curious if the other wisdom literature is the same.  You can check out my mirror-reading of Ecclesiastes here.

Historical Narratives

For the purposes of mirror-reading, it's not really necessary to believe that the events in the historical narratives actually took place.  The important thing to understand is that the events in the story take place in a historical setting.  

The books of the Bible are not just recorded history but a response to a situation.  They may be about past events, but they addressed events that were current with the original readers.

I've listed two ways to mirror-read historical narratives below:

1. Corrective of Past

Narratives can be used to correct historical accounts or repair the reputations of historical characters.  I've listed a few examples below:

1&2 Samuel

The author of 1st and 2nd Samuel tries to repair the reputation of David and to clarify events of the past in order to diffuse hostilities between the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin.  Read here.

Haggai

The author explains events of the past to show why there was a famine and addresses fears that God was no longer with them.  Read here.

Enoch

Yes, not a book of the Bible (usually) but still a good example.  The author tries to repair the reputation of Enoch.  Read here.

2. Analogy

Narratives can also be analogous to the situation of the original readers. I prefer to refer to them as corrective parallels. Some might says that's just a parable, but the term parable often implies a work of fiction, and we don't really need to make that determination in order to mirror-read. It is often said that reading Paul's letters is like hearing half of a phone conversation.  Parallel narratives are like hearing half of an analogy. e.g. "The Story of Jonah is like..."  Parallels are not allegories in that they draw on similarities but not symbolism.

Matthew

Not all of Matthew is analogous but some of what Jesus says is.  Specifically, when he mentions "Every kingdom divided against itself", it's analogous to the situation in the Church at that time.  Watch the video here.

Prophecy

Prophecy uses future events to address current (to the original readers) issues.

Nahum

Nahum foretells the destruction of Nineveh to encourage Jews to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Read here.

Habakkuk:

Habakkuk foretells the invasion of the Babylonians to show that God is in control.  However, there is a secondary meaning to Habakkuk in that it may be using some parts of the prophecy as a parallel.  Read here.

 

Header Image PHOTO CREDIT: Robert cropped from original