The Art Of Preaching Old Testament Narrative

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by swaimj, Mar 28, 2002.

  1. swaimj

    swaimj
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    The Art Of Preaching Old Testament Narrative by Steven D. Mathewson is just off the press from Baker academic books. I read it in two days and thought I'd post a review. (Moderators, given the specific subject I thought I'd post it here rather than in the book forum).

    First a personal word as to my interest in this subject. I became acquainted with narrative preaching while in college (Piedmont Baptist College, Winston-Salem, NC www.pbc.edu) when John Reed of Dallas seminary came and did a first person narrative on Gideon. I became interested in doing narrative (and not necessarily first-person narratives) while teaching a Bible class in a christian school. I found that thrilling Bible stories became incredibly dull when arranged according to a traditional deductive homiletical form. I've also gotten great instruction and an excellent model for narrative preaching at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA ( www. cbs.edu ). Their preaching faculty is 1st class! Narrative preaching enables one to retain the form of the story with its inherent tension and drama and allows the speaker to use that tension to make the natural point of the story with great impact. It is a thrill to preach this way!!!

    The Four Parts of the Book

    Part One is entitled "From Text To Concept" and contains seven chapters. This section helps the reader understand how stories work and how to recognize the plot of the story and the important characters in the story and how they affect one another. This section will make you rethink, for instance, the story of David & Goliath. You'll see it in a different light and you will immediately go and purge your files of any previous outline you have preached on this story! It will be obsolete! ;)

    The section also gives tips on how to study the context effectively and to discover its impact on the story. It gives very concrete ways to do this so that, after studying a passage, you can go through a checklist to help you determine if you have gotten all the meat off the bones.

    The section also gives you concrete steps for determing the main point of the story and what its focus should be for your listeners.

    Part Two is entitled "From Concept to Sermon" and contains 8 chpaters. This part borrows quite a bit from Haddon Robinson as he is a mentor and friend to Mathewson. However he includes a step in outlining that Robinson does not (unless it is in the updated verson of his book Biblical Preaching , which I have not read). He also gives lots of specific advice on outlining for narrative sermons, writing manuscripts (though he strongly advocates delivering sermons without notes), honing your storytelling skills, and giving strong introductions and conclusions.

    Part Three is entitled "Sermon Manuscripts" and contains five sermon manuscripts of narrative sermons from the author, Robinson, Donald Sunukjian (of Talbott Seminary), Paul Borden, and Alice Matthews (well never mind, that ruins the whole thing!!! :D ). The sermons are riveting, convicting, and...you'll be surprised at the at practical point of the sermons. The sermon on Gen 22:1-19 had me skeptical as to how the author applied the story, but at the end I had to say, "He nailed it!" Best of all, the sermons are doable. After reading the book, you see how the preacher developed his thought and you see the exciting result and say, "I could do that, or a reasonable facsimile thereof".

    Each sermon also contains an introduction by Mathewson and an interview at the end with the speaker in which he discusses the sermon and narrative preaching in general.

    Part Four Well, there really is no part four. But there is an appendix in which Mathewson gives valuable instruction on using Hebrew grammar to help you interpret narrative stories and to identify and develop the critical features of the story (and to avoid majoring and moralizing on minor points and incidentals). Wiht this information and a Bible program like Hermenuetika (sp?) you may actually find Hebrew to be useful. Imagine that!!! :eek: But, don't worry if you do not know Hebrew. It is not essential to know it to be able to use the info in this book.

    Finally, there is an appendix which gives recomendations for commentaries for each book of the OT. Commentaries which will assist you in developing narrative sermons.

    Well, here's hoping this review whets somebody's appetite for narrative preaching and points you to a great resource for doing it effectively. And as they say on the TV commercial for the new T-Bird, "Let the stories begin!"

    [ March 28, 2002, 06:28 PM: Message edited by: swaimj ]
     
  2. BPM

    BPM
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    Thanks for the info I will go and find this book it sounds great.
    Mike
     
  3. swaimj

    swaimj
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    Great! I hope you enjoy it and find it to be helpful. I'll look forward to any comments you have on it.
     

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