The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative Paperback – 1 Mar 2002
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From the Back Cover
"Steve Mathewson has a passion for the Old Testament, a passion for the craft of preaching, and a passion for the art of story. This volume doesn't just call the preacher to greater effectiveness, it helps her or him achieve it."
-John Ortberg, pastor, Willow Creek Community Church
"The Old Testament houses a wealth of powerful preaching material for those who know how to mine its depths and communicate its truth in an effective, relevant way. Steve Mathewson has provided the serious preacher and teacher of Old Testament narrative literature with an awesome guide on how to communicate the truths from the Old Testament to our contemporary generation."
-Tony Evans, president, The Urban Alternative
"This is a great book for preachers who want to take seriously our obligation to preach 'the whole counsel of God, ' including the wisdom of the Old Testament. . . . [This] book is a great resource for biblical preaching from some of the most challenging and revealing parts of Scripture."
-William H. Willimon, Duke Divinity School
"Too often our narrative sermons consist of 'telling the story' and then offering 'some practical applications' at the end. . . . Steve Mathewson shows how to discern the specific theological truth of a biblical story and then how to apply it to contemporary life in a penetrating way."
-Donald R. Sunukjian, Talbot School of Theology
"Blessed is the congregation whose pastor can preach Old Testament narrative without allegorizing or moralizing! If you want to mine the riches of the Old Testament and share that treasure with your people, this book will show you how."
-Warren W. Wiersbe, author, The Dynamics of Preaching
"Steve Mathewson knows why we don't preach Old Testament narratives; he tells us why we should; and he describes how we can. His method is clear and inviting. He displays the highest standards of biblical scholarship without a hint of smugness."
-David Hansen, author, The Art of Pastoring --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
About the Author
Steven D. Mathewson (D. Min., Gardon Conwell Theological Seminary) taught at Montana Bible College and currently serves as senior pastor of Dry Creek Bible Church, Belgrade, Montana. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Several weeks ago in PreachingNow (our weekly e-mail newsletter), we ran a survey asking preachers what they are reading these days. The list was long, but I was surprised to see a particular book show up frequently. When we went back to take a look, we weren�t surprised any more.
In a year when many outstanding titles have been published in preaching, one book jumped to the top of the list as our Preaching Magazine Book of the Year for 2002: The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative, written by Steven D. Mathewson and published by Baker Academic.
This is a book by a well-trained pastor who preaches in his own local church Sunday after Sunday. (The author is senior pastor of Dry Creek Bible Church in Belgrade, Montana, as well as an instructor in preaching and Old Testament at Montana Bible College.) In contrast to some books which seem better suited to the classroom than the pulpit, this volume combines outstanding scholarship with a passionate and practical heart for ministry.
The book has three major sections. In the first, Mathewson takes you through the hermeneutical task of understanding Old Testament narratives. The second part deals with the homiletical task of moving from exegesis to a �sermon that bristles with accuracy, clarity, interest and relevance.� The final section offers model sermons from Haddon Robison, Paul Sunukjian, the author and others.
In the foreward, Robinson calls Mathewson �a thoughtful guide to help us get a handle on the great stories of the Bible.� William Willimon calls the book �a great resource for biblical preaching from some of the most challenging and revealing parts of Scripture.� Tony Evans describes the book as �an awesome guide on how to communicate the truth from the Old Testament to our contemporary generation.�
We are proud to recognize The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative by Steven D. Mathewson as our Preaching Book of the Year.
Michael Duduit, Editor
We can see this in our everyday lives with movies (which are visual narratives). In the recent movie version of Pride and Prejudice, the plot line (loosely) is that Lizzy Bennett grows to hate Darcy, only to realize she loves him, especially after Darcy proves his love. The point of the movie, however, according to the director in the audio commentary, is that it is hard to fall in love.
If Pride and Prejudice were a Biblical Narrative, Matthewson would suggest that the point of the movie would be set up as follows: How do you get a girl to marry you when she mistakenly thinks you are a jerk? You win her over by clearing up misconceptions about you and sacrificially proving your love. This is all well and nice, but it's not the point of the movie.
Biblical narratives are about God, not about teaching how God will respond to you if you do the same things that the characters in the Bible story do. This is the interpretation error of inappropriate universalizing.
Readers will do themselves and their congregation well by purchasing instead Sidney Greidanus' Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text, the recognized book on how to accurately interpret and faithfully apply Biblical narratives.
He also says that you can't preach an OT narrative verse by verse, you often have to summarizes paragraphs in one or two action packed sentences.
He discusses watershed texts such as Genesis 13, Genesis 22, 1 Samuel 17, and 2 Samuel 11-12. The last part of the book is most helpful, for it contains manuscripts of Old Testament narrative sermons by some of the best homileticians on the planet: Paul Borden, Don Sunukjian, Alice Mathews, and Haddon Robinson.
I should say that I didn't always agree with how certain texts were handled. For example, making Genesis 22 into a sermon about how fathers should worship God rather than their children is not the direction I would have gone. This approach ignores the main point of the text, Abraham's faith that God would provide the lamb. It would be better to trace this theme of God's provision through the rest of scripture.
Similarly, the discussion of the David and Goliath story ignored the main point of how David had faith in God's promise to drive the enemy from the land. The passage is about how faith in God's holy promises gives us the courage to face the challenges God places before us. I wished again that there was more of a connection with the promises of Exodus 3 and Deuteronomy 6 and Joshua 1 and other texts which promises that God would drive out the enemy and how this ties in with David's faith.
I also think that understanding the theology of each book or section of the OT should shed light on the meaning and purpose of a particular passage. Mathewson does a great job of giving us the tools to expound the text and the examples to practice with, but he does not deal so much with the theology of each book, which helps us to identify the big idea of a given passage.
But on the whole, this is one of the better books on preaching that I have read. In spite of my reservations regarding the lack of theological reflection, I still think that this is a five star book.
Mathewson's greatest strength was helping the preacher get the main idea out of the biblical text. To do this, he helps the reader find the five main elements of a story: Exposition, Crisis, Rising Tension, Resolution, Conclusion. He also helps readers learn about the cultural and literary setting to help understand the significance of the narrative. Another helpful idea came when developing the big idea. Mathewson suggested looking at two clues in a passage to find it's significance: a Vision of God and Depravity Factor. He then walks through a few examples and helps the preacher not settle for moralizing the narrative. Overall, this section was very helpful.
Mathewson does give some tips to help preach the narratives, but many preachers I know, don't preach narratives well. I still feel like I lack effective skills to make a narrative engaging to my audience. I believe that just reading the narrative can be boring, especially if it is a long text. I was hoping to gain a few more tools to help my preach narratives effectively. Mathewson does give some tools. He helps us consider first person narratives and gave some ideas for reducing the words you use and strategically picking other words. This is especially true if one decides to manuscript this message, as Mathewson recommends. Mathewson also recommended practicing every message a couple times before Sunday comes. Overall, I found Mathewson's expectations of the time each pastor could devote to a message a little high.
There were many ideas I found useful from the book, but the most significant was the idea of preaching a narrative inductively. Mathews states, "Main outline points in an inductive sermon serve as endings, not beginnings." He walks through a couple examples to show how a story can lead into a point instead of stating, "This next section shows us..." By preaching this way, the listener is learning from the story as it's told and following along as the points develop. I also like the idea of preaching in Sermon movements. "Buttrick advocates developing sermon moves, lasting about four minutes each, to form, image, and explore a conceptual idea." Lastly, I gained many new insights into helping me develop the big idea of the message. As mentioned earlier, "Determining the big idea resembles splitting wood: sometimes you get stuck in a knot. The way to get out of the knot is to identify the story's vision of God and the depravity factor that works against this vision." Another tip to help in this process: quit when you're stuck. "Your preconscious mind keeps working on the sermon and wrestling with the problem point." These ideas, and many others, from Mathewson's book have helped me feel more prepared to preach Old Testament Narratives.
***In the book, Steve expresses the joy and adventure of not only studying the Old Testament, but also preparing the message of OT historical narratives so that their practical relevance comes through to us today.
***In actuality, this work demonstrates a combination of art and skill in the preparation and delivery of sermons from narrative literature. It establishes the validity of studying the Hebrew text, if one is familiar with biblical Hebrew. If one isn’t adept in biblical Hebrew, Steve’s work may be a motivation to become skilled in it. The work also demonstrates how to correlate the concepts found in narrative literature so as to effectively communicate God’s message to an audience.
***This is a very worthwhile book for those who have wanted to improve their preaching of the Old Testament, but were afraid to ask!
Anthony B. Badger, Th.D.
***Compare my book: http://www.amazon.com/Confronting-Calvinism-Refutation-Resolution-Soteriology/dp/1484138112/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415025815&sr=1-1&keywords=Anthony+B.+Badger
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