22 Fascinating Leland Ryken Quotes

Leland Ryken is a professor of English and works in the study of classic literature from a Christian perspective. With many books published under his name, here is a look at some of the best Leland Ryken quotes ever documented.

“A Christian philosophy of literature begins with the same agenda of issues that any philosophy of literature addresses. Its distinctive feature is that it relates these issues to the Christian faith.”

“Earlier in this century someone claimed that we work at our play and play at our work. Today the confusion has deepened: we worship our work, work at our play, and play in our worship.”

“Ease and luxury, such as our affluence brings us today, do not make for maturity; hardship and struggle do.”

“For the Puritans, the God-centered life meant making the quest for spiritual and moral holiness the great business of life.”

“How can we distinguish between the good and perverted use of beauty?”

“How does one balance the fallen and redeemed aspects of life in the artistic portrayal of human experience in the world?”


“Literature incarnates its meanings as concretely as possible. The knowledge that literature gives of a subject is the kind of knowledge that is obtained by (vicariously) living through an experience.”

“Literature takes reality and human experience as its starting point, transforms it by means of the imagination, and sends readers back to life with renewed understanding of it and zest for it because of their excursions into a purely imaginary realm.”

“My claim is simply that the literary approach is one necessary way to read and interpret the Bible, an approach that has been unjustifiably neglected.”

“No group of people has been more unjustly maligned in the twentieth century than the Puritans. As a result, we approach the Puritans with an enormous baggage of culturally ingrained prejudice.”

“Passion is a far better prioritizer than any organization system. Soul refreshment comes from SEEING glory – not getting stuff done.”

“Puritanism was a youthful, vigorous movement.”

“Readers should aspire to what is excellent. They should refuse to read a substitute Bible. They should want a Bible that calls them to their higher selves – or to something higher than their current level of attainment.”

“Since God is the one who calls people to their work, the worker becomes a steward who serves God.”

“Stressing the God-centered life can lead to an otherworldly withdrawal from everyday earthly life.”

“The Bible is obviously a mixed book. Literary and nonliterary (expository, explanatory) writing exist side by side within the covers of this unique book.”

“The goal of Bible translation is be transparent to the original text – to see as clearly as possible what the biblical authors actually wrote.”

“The oldest theory of art belongs to the Greeks, who regarded art as an imitation (mimesis) of reality. The strength of that theory is that it explains the way in which art takes its materials from real life.”

“The Puritans removed organs and paintings from churches, but bought them for private use in their homes.”

“The Puritans were obsessed with the dangers of wealth.”

“The secularization of Western culture was accompanied by the elevation of art to the position of a substitute religion to replace Christianity.”

“Writers themselves benefit from all helpful information about their task and methods. Readers, in turn, can have both their understanding and appreciation of literature enhanced by information about the writer’s work.”

Here is a discussion with Dr. Leland Ryken as he shares the value in teaching the Bible as a literary classic.

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