The Apostle Paul is a prime example of preaching in the New Testament (the best outside of the Lord Jesus Christ). In his famous letter to the Corinthians he writes, “[We] Preach Christ crucified” and that the message of the cross is a stumbling block. Why did Paul choose to write this? Why did Paul word this passage in this manner? This gets to the heart of Paul’s rhetoric in the ancient church. This rhetoric is also the heart of Paul’s theology of preaching.
Duane Litfin’s book Paul’s Theology of Preaching guides the reader through the development of rhetoric in the ancient Greco-Roman world and how Paul employed it in his sermons and writings. This is part one of the book; the discovery of a [brief] history of rhetoric. The second part discusses the passage assigned in this book which is 1 Corinthians 1-4. Finally, the third part concludes with Paul’s method and model for ministry and preaching. Following the conclusion are a few appendices which include the broader implications of preaching and Paul’s epistemology.
This is a tough book to read if you are not prepared to focus. I do not have experience in reading about the development of rhetoric in the ancient world, so I enjoyed reading this information and gaining new knowledge. However, if I did not focus, I did not retain what I read. This book is also dense. To provide sufficient knowledge and conclusions for Paul’s theology of preaching, Litfin must likewise do the same for rhetoric. I do appreciate this treatment of the development of Paul’s preaching and theology of preaching because the reader is allowed a glimpse into the ancient world and can learn to apply those principles today.
If you have time to read this book, I recommend you do. I think you will find it enjoyable. It is worth the money and I hope you will add it to your library.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from InterVarsity Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and a positive review was not required. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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