Bible - General Questions

Can the poetical books really be considered doctrinal?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Yes, absolutely - and here's why.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

2 Timothy 3:16 states the principle that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine..." Scripture itself puts this principle into practice - and often by using the poetical books.

Some Christians tend to think of the poetical books of the Bible as mere "devotional" reading, but this way of thinking misses the fact that these books are filled with doctrine.

The Profitable Word

As part of the inspired Word of God, the poetical books of the Old Testament (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon) are indeed doctrinal books. And 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that "doctrine" is one of the four-fold "profitable" uses of Scripture. The sense of the word "profitable" in that verse is that all Scripture is of inestimable valuable for these four stated purposes.

Scripture Itself Puts the Principle Into Practice

In authoring all of Scripture, God the Holy Spirit used His inspired penmen to demonstrate this principle for us. A classic example is Romans 3:9-18, which teaches the extent of the grip of sin upon mankind. In this passage the Apostle Paul directly quotes from or refers to all of the following passages in the Old Testament poetical books: Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Psalm 5:9; Psalm 140:3; Psalm 10:7; Proverbs 1:16; and Psalm 36:1.

We find 63 occurrences of the phrase, "it is written," in the New Testament. In each case (and in many others where the phrase is not directly used) the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as Peter, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews, repeatedly quote the Old Testament - often the poetical books - to support what they teach.


Copyright 1998-2024 TeachingTheWord Ministries