Do you remember the last time you heard a sermon from a passage in the Old Testament? It could possibly be that you have never heard one, at least not from the pastor of your church. Preaching from the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) is not an easy task, and should not be thought of as an easy task. However, there are numerous resources to help preachers of God’s Word (which includes the Old Testament!) preach the Old Testament faithfully.
“Reclaiming the Old Testament for Christian Preaching” edited by Grenville Kent, Paul Kissling, and Laurence Turner is one of those “numerous resources.” The purpose of this book is simple: for scholarship in this book to be “accessible” (11) and to offer “practical suggestions on how to understand the message of the Old Testament texts” (ibid.). Note, this is not a commentary. This is, as stated in the introduction, a scholarly book with practical suggestions for Christian preaching.
As one prepares to preach on a text from the Old Testament, an understanding of the genre of the book is demanded. Whether it be narrative, law, prophetic, or apocalyptic, these genres and others are discussed. Found within each chapter is a discussion on literary and theological aspects of the text you are preparing. For example, if you are preparing to preach from the book of Isaiah, you will find a chapter specifically dedicated to Isaiah. If lament is the topic or concern, there is a chapter on lament. The genres found in the Old Testament are covered in this work. The contributors conclude with two chapters addressing the difficult texts of the Old Testament and preaching Christ from the Old Testament. I found both chapters imperative to understanding how to preach from the Old Testament.
I also appreciate the bibliography at the end of each chapter. Sometimes it is labeled as “further reading” which is also helpful. Regardless, at the end of each chapter, the reader is provided a list of resources for further study into a particular text. Along with the bibliography, each chapter concludes with a sample sermon. As one who does not preach from the Old Testament often enough, I found this to be invaluable to the book. The book is worth it simply for these sample sermons.
If you preach every Sunday or once in a blue moon, I hope you pick up this book if anything as a guide to assist you in preparing sermons on the Old Testament. This book will certainly change the lack of preaching from the Old Testament in the pulpit.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from InterVarsity Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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