Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative, The
S D Mathewson
A foreword by Haddon Robinson and the tantalising prospect of ushering the reader into the neglected world of preaching biblical narrative, offers a mouth-watering incentive to read this book. Broadly speaking, it doesn't disappoint!

The need is obvious. Mathewson comments correctly: 'As evangelicals we've taken Old Testament stories seriously enough to defend their historicity. Now it's time to learn to preach them effectively' (p.20). This he seeks to undertake in three, very practical stages: the examination of interpretative issues specific to the genre and homiletics of Old Testament narrative (parts 1 and 2) and the presentation and discussion of some examples of narrative preaching (part 3).

Part 1 provides an excellent and up-to-date introduction to the hermeneutical principles that should guide evangelical interpretation (chapter 2) before proceeding to address genre-specific principles. This includes the more traditional disciplines of cultural and historical background (chapter 5) as well as the more contemporary insights offered by literary approaches (chapter 3). It concludes with a discussion on how to identify the 'big idea' in a biblical narrative in the light of such analyses. Overall, this section is a must for all expositors of Old Testament narrative.

Part 2 is a stimulating discussion whose central focus lies in the author's belief that narrative texts should be preached narratively (and ideally, without notes). In my view, this sometimes obscures the value of the section. On the one hand, it contains much sage and valuable advice, and encourages experiment and a recognition that genre inevitably affects the way in which a passage is best communicated. On the other, it never quite convincingly establishes why it is not possible to effectively 'transpose' a narrative into another form so that the force of the original is retained.

The same criticism applies to part 3 where it would have been interesting to have had an example of such a 'transposed' approach rather than all being different forms of the narrative preaching of narrative. However, the examples offered are very stimulating and the critiques well worth consulting.

Nevertheless, this is a magisterial book that every preacher should read and digest. There is little doubt that properly accomplished, the preaching of Old Testament

ISBN: 9781842271384
Catalogue code: N/A
Publisher: PATERNOSTER PRESS - published 22/05/2002
Format: Paperback