Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Book Review: Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament

I recently read Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament: A Guide for the Church by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. In this book the author addresses a critical issue needed to be heard by today's church leaders: the importance of Old Testament to believers and they manner in which the Old Testament should be taught to the people of God.

Kaiser begins his book with the need to preach and teach from the Old Testament. Too many times pastors either skim over the Old Testament material or they simply neglect it. When, for example, was the last time you heard a sermon in Zephaniah, Micah, or Obadiah? How does 1 Chronicles impact the 21st century Christian? How are we to apply the Song of Solomon in the body of Christ? Kaiser spends four chapters convincing his readers the need to recapture the importance of the Old Testament. He argues for the value of the Old Testament and then defines the problem which the Old Testament provides today's exegete. He speaks a little on preaching the Old Testament and moves into the importance of expository preaching as it relates to the first 39 books of the bible.

After this section of the book, Kaiser moves to the practical section of the book in which he puts forth the mechanics of how to preach and teach different genres from the Old Testament. He provides instructions on how to preach through narrative sections of the Old Testament, Hebrew wisdom literature, and the Prophets. He addresses the lament found throughout the Old Testament and give a guidance on teaching through the Torah. He spends time discussing the praise psalm and finally he writes on apocalyptic literature. In each of these sections, the author provides a sample sermon to show how one can move from exegesis to homiletics and provide a challenging exhortation to today's believers.

Kaiser concludes the book with chapter which encourages Christian leaders to change the world with the Word of God. The whole of the author's argument throughout the entire book is that Scripture is the Word of God and the Old Testament is part of Scripture and therefore the Old Testament should be taught regularly so believers can receive the whole counsel of God. In this concluding chapter, he says,

So let us mark it down as a principle: Where the preaching of God's Word is thin or abandoned for more "relevant" issues and encouragements, the growth, power, and effectiveness of the church wanes and ultimately is extinguished. But where the Word of God multiplies, spreads, and is sought after by all, the body of Christ demonstrates a resourcefulness and a power that goes forward despite all modern or ancient barriers, oppositions, or persecutions.

This is what the book is about. Recovering ALL of the Word of God and making it a priority to be preached and taught throughout the churches of the world.

The book has two small appendices. Both are useful for the serious reader. Appendix A is a worksheet for doing syntatical-tehological exegesis. It is worksheet the author uses and provided it to the readers as a helpful tool in doing studies in the Old Testament. Appendix B is reproduction of an article entitled, Biblical Integrity in an age of Theological Pluralism (Evangelical Journal 18 (2000) 19-28). The author of this article says that in 1946, W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsly wrote an article in the Swanee Review entitled "The Intential Fallacy" which began the thought which denies meaning is found in what the author intended to say but instead what the reader thinks is said. Biblical Integrity in an Age of Theological Pluralism is an article worth reading to show the importance of the concept of "authorial intent" and how that plays a part in biblical interpretation.

This book combines two of my favorite interests: the Old Testament and preaching. I think it is must read for anyone who want to preach the whole counsel of Scripture faithfully. The principles put forth in this book will help the bible student not only reclaim this part of Scripture in the life of the church, but will renew in them a passion for the Old Testament.

2t22 rating: