Though the books of the Bible were written over a long period of time by many different writers, they all share one thing in common...the parable blueprint. The texts were carefully written using a structured form of writing that had already been used for centuries. The literary structure dates back to the 21st century BCE. So far the parable blueprint has been identified in Sumerian, Akkadian, Old Babylonian, Old Persian, Egyptian, Hieratic, Hebrew, Ugaritic, Greek and Latin texts. The identical literary structure was used by the likes of Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Cicero, Plato and Aristotle. For over two thousand years, the structure was the modus operandi for writing texts including literature, laws, correspondences and royal inscriptions. (See examples on the blog page or contact me with requests. I am currently working on a wide variety of texts.) The literary structure accommodates any style of writing, or a combination. For example, the book of Job, contains prose and poetry, but underlying it all, the parable blueprint was used to create the texts. Other texts might combine law codes, poetry, song and or prose. The parable blueprint is the underlying structure of the text itself. It is what is referred to as ring composition, ring structure or chiastic structure, with the pattern ABCB’A’. These texts do not look like what we think of parables today. In ancient times, a parable was simply any text that used comparisons for wisdom purposes. The allegorical parables attributed to Jesus are what led to this discovery.
This is an amazing discovery because understanding how the authors wrote their texts lets us know more about the writers and brings new insight into the meaning and purpose of the texts. Reading (and understanding) the texts in their literary form even gives readers a very real feel for the passion that the writers put into their narratives. It redefines scripture and changes the way the Bible has been understood for centuries. The discovery also helps with making much more accurate determinations that surround the ancient texts, including clarifications with things such as canon formation, textual variants and dating.
The blueprint holds a number of comparative relationships which guide the reader to uncover the original meaning and intention of the texts which are actually hidden “parables.” The word parable comes from a Greek word meaning comparison or illustration, and that’s how these parables work. By knowing the method of construction, one can “read between the lines,” make comparisons, and learn more from the parable and even between parables. With some study, the discovery definitely make the texts more meaningful, clear and even colorful. This is because hidden nuances and meanings can actually be seen when the texts are laid out in parable format. Studying the texts in this way is like having the writers present with the readers as they make light of the narratives.
These parables were not intended to be seen quickly, and without prior knowledge of the parable blueprint recipe it would be hard to know where one parable begins and ends. Because the Bible has been organized into chapters, titles and subtitles, this discovery has been overlooked for centuries. The texts were in fact designed as a seamless series of parables linked together, with each parable connected to the next.
The books of The Parable Project Book Series should be considered as required reading for any student of the Bible. The books are also for laypeople.
Peter and Rhoda. Image from Acts of the Apostles & The Parable Blueprint.