Once upon a time, I received a Christian education, and they taught us to divide the books of the Bible into categories - law and history, poetry and prophets, gospels and acts. Later, they taught us methodology for interpreting - analytical, grammatical, historical. And, to be honest, it is simply too much muss and fuss. The idea ought to be to simplify and understand, not to make it more complex and difficult.
With age and experience, I have simplified my outlook, and I'd like to share my current paradigm for interpretation. I hope it helps someone. There are two basic dichotomies I look at:
1. Prophets and Priests
There are really only two groups of people who wrote Biblical books - the prophets and the priests. The prophets communicate from God, to man. The priests are meant to communicate from mankind, to God. What a difference it makes, which one is speaking! And, how the two clash! The prophets were persecuted, and stoned. The priests, most often, were the ones throwing the rocks!
The prophet is inspired. His message, being straight from God, is God's honest truth. His concerns are justice, and judgment.
The priest can claim no such thing. He is mortal and fallible. He may be mistaken, or afraid to speak the truth, or worse. He may be political, prone to spin history, omit the ugly bits, and make himself and his comrades look squeaky-clean, when they are in fact rather filthy.
So, then... as you read, who is speaking? Is it a prophet, or is it a priest?
2. Two Nations
The Bible is commonly thought to be the history of a single nation called Israel, which people are called Hebrews, or Jews. After some years in study, I have come to realize that this is incorrect.
The Bible is the history of 2 nations. The two share a common ancestry, and were unified for a short time, but they started out as two groups, and they ended up as two groups. The short time they were united was the exception, and not the rule.
The two nations are Judah (aka Jews, Jerusalem) and Ephraim (aka Samaria, Jeshurun).
Israel started out with twelve tribes, but from the beginning, 2 dominated - Judah and Ephraim. Israel himself (Jacob) had two wives, and Judah carries the banner for one, while Ephraim for the other. The other tribes fall in line behind them, in two factions, from Genesis on down to Kings.
The two factions were united when Saul was proclaimed king and captain of the army. David and Solomon ruled after him over the united kingdom. When Solomon died, the two split back apart, with Solomon's son retaining Judah, and Ephraim seceding, with most of the tribes following him. You can read the story in 1Kings 11.
Most importantly, though - God sanctioned the split. God treated the two separately. He dealt with them separately. The two are separate in both history and prophecy.
Ephraim was judged by God for unfaithfulness, divorced (Jer 3), and God brought the Assyrians to destroy the nation, in roughly 900BC.
Judah was chastened by God for unfaithfulness many times, notably when God brought the Babylonians to exile her for a time, but God has brought them back to Jerusalem again and again. They were neither divorced, nor destroyed, as Israel was.
When the prophets speak, they prophesy of one, or the other. In prophesy, Ephraim is dead, dried bones, she is "not my people" and "not a people." But she is prophesied to be revived, resurrected, and re-married to God. Judah, by contrast, is God's perpetually-unfaithful wife, whom he sends away, but brings back.
Who, then, is being written about? OR to whom is Scripture addressed?
I find that all of Scripture falls in line, and makes sense, once these two questions are asked and answered.