Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Book Review: Preaching Old Testament Narratives by Benjamin H. Walton

Book Review: Preaching Old Testament Narratives

by Benjamin H. Walton

I was excited to learn Kregel was publishing this book. Belonging to a tradition that usually misuses Old Testament narratives in preaching, I was excited to learn how to do better from now on. With page after page of endorsements by some well-known names in the preaching and theological communities (really, twenty-one of them!) the book promised to be a definitive guide on the subject.
            The book is a step-by-step guide that begins, wonderfully enough, with the topic of Biblical hermeneutics. Skipping this step is what makes most other books on homiletics much less useful. Also quite helpful is the author’s emphasis on choosing a complete unit of thought in order to preach it. So many just choose one verse here or there and forget that the Holy Spirit that inspired the text had a message to convey. Faithfulness to the Word and the Spirit that birthed it demand that we heed this step.
            I also quite enjoyed and agreed with “Write a Manuscript, Then Ditch It.” Reading a sermon in the twenty-first century is a no-no in so many ways, and it quickly alienates Millenials. Talk to people like people. They are not automatons, neither should you be one. Connect. Look them in the eye and preach the Word to them.
            However, the addition of general preaching tips, though useful in the example above, made the book longer than it needed to be. I picked up the book to learn how to preach Old Testament narratives. Nothing more. I already know how to preach, just teach me this one thing, do in concisely, briefly, clearly and then let’s part ways. I have a long list of other things I must learn, and I have many books waiting for my attention.
            Oh, before I forget. One or two acronyms are cute and maybe useful; use too many and you lost me. And the author did.

3/5 Stars

Disclosure: The book was received for free from Kregel Academic & Ministry review program. The program does not require a positive review, only a truthful one.