The Writings are the most difficult set of Bible books to analyse as a group because they are quite different from one another. In a sense, these books constitute the set of books that don't fit neatly into any of the other categories! With the exception of Lamentations (which could justifiably be considered as part of the prophets since it was written by the prophet Jeremiah and ties closely to his prophecy), all the other 'Writings' occur consecutively within the Bible, wedged between the History books and the Prophets.
Personal experience and response
One thing that does unite these works is that they are all concerned with personal experience and response to the events of life. Several of them tackle the realities of the challenge of sustaining a relationship with God in the face of its difficulties. While much of the Bible is spent telling us of the acts of God in history and of the lives of other people, these books tell us what it feels like to experience life and live in the presence of God. Whereas much of the Bible is God speaking to man (through the mouth of His prophets), these books are more about man speaking to God.
Yet despite the fact that they contain human responses, they are also part of the inspired Word of God - an interesting paradox!
It's perhaps worth a brief precis of the five books from Job to Song of Songs to give a flavour of the diversity of what this section of the Bible contains.
The Book of Job deals with the problem of human suffering, and whether or not God is punishing people, is in control, or cares about what they are going through. At the other end of the scale, Song of Songs contains love poetry between a man and a woman, which many take to be a spiritual allegory of the relationship of God and Israel or Christ and the church, as well as a literal depiction of the wonder of human love.
The Book of Proverbs has lots of practical advice for daily living, while it also explains that divine wisdom is something that ineeds to be lived out in real behaviour every day. The Book of Ecclesiastes is very different. It asks questions about the meaning of life, and concludes that, lived as an end in itself, life is pointless and contradictory. The only point comes when God is the focus of living.
Finally, the book of Psalms contains songs and poems written about all aspects of life. It pours out the heart in joy in some places, and in sorrow and desperation in others - a true reflection of the life of discipleship.
Q: Questions coming soon!
A: And answers too...!