Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Review: Walter Kaiser Jr., Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament

026105: Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament: A Guide for the ChurchPreaching and Teaching from the Old Testament: A Guide for the Church

By Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. / Baker

Preaching from the Old Testament receives short shrift in many pulpits. Kaiser shows you why and how  you should preach from the OT. Emphasizing the relevance of the First Testament, this reliable guide offers practical insight into expository preaching and concrete suggestions on teaching the narrative texts, wisdom books, prophets, laments, and more. 222 pages, softcover from Baker.

I purchased this book assuming that it might offer some helpful perspectives on the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament since it claims to be "a guide for the Church". I figured that in addition to helping me in my current study focus it might also contain some practical advice on presenting the Old Testament in teaching contexts. Although it didn't address my first expectation as deeply as it might have it provided much valuable information in other areas.
Over the years I have found Dr. Kaiser's work to be very helpful particularly in the areas of Old Testament study and hermeneutics. In this book he brings both of these expertise's to bear upon his subject. He points out that although there are many people who are using a biblical text as the basis of their sermons this isn't the same thing as delivering an exegetical sermon. He sees the lack of real expository preaching (and teaching) as one of the reasons for the significant disconnect between what many people who go to church claim to believe and how they often think and behave. In addition to the lack of expository preaching in general he points specifically to a lack of Old Testament teaching as leading to an anemic view of God and an incomplete understanding of the bible in general.
Unlike many other scholars and pundits, however, Dr. Kaiser isn't content to engage in a disconnected examination the problem. He continues in the book to describe the process of how to prepare expository sermons or exegetical class notes for each of the major literary forms found in the Old Testament. He does a great job of addressing important aspects of breaking down a text including the grammatical and literary forms etc. in a very accessible and understandable way. Although the book is written primarily for preachers and teachers I think it would be a valuable resource for any student planning to study in the Old Testament. The process that he describes in the book and the advice he gives include many of the same things that a student needs to take into consideration when studying Old Testament passages.I recommend the book for both teachers and students looking for an introduction in an inductive or expository approach to the Old Testament.

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