Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament.
Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003. Paper, 222 pages
$14.99. ISBN 0-8010-2610-5.
The Old Testament was the Bible of the early Christian church, and makes it approximately three-quarters of God’s written revelation to humanity. Yet most contemporary preaching does little to reflect the significance of the Old Testament.
Old Testament scholar and seminary president Walter Kaiser seeks to remedy that situation in his valuable new book Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament. This readable volume is a helpful guide to preachers who want to nourish their people from the richness of the Old Testament scriptures.
Kaiser begins by making the case for preaching from the Old Testament. He argues that we should preach from these texts because it is God’s powerful Word, because the Old Testament guides us to Jesus the Messiah, because it deals with the important questions of life, and because it was the “scriptures” used by Jesus and the apostles.
As Kaiser observes, “The value of the Old Testament is immeasurable for all believers. To avoid it is to miss approximately three-fourths of what our Lord has to say to us today, whether we will hear it or not!”
Kaiser proceeds to deal with several interpretive issues relating to the Old Testament, then deals with some of the communication challenges of Old Testament preaching today. Then he discusses some of the hermeneutical and homiletical issues involved in expository preaching from the Old Testament.
In the second major section of the book, “How to Preach and Teach from the Old Testament,” Kaiser takes on what he sees as the various literary genres of Old Testament scripture (narrative, wisdom, prophetic, laments, Torah, praise and apocalyptic), and discusses the particular issues and challenges involved in interpreting and communicating God’s truth from such biblical material.
In a final call to faithful biblical preaching, Kaiser asserts, “What is called for is not a rote bag of wind that is pirated from some self-help book or someone’s four or five easy steps to be this or that in life! The Book of Acts gives us precedence to expect that where the Word of God is preached faithfully – both in its replication of the exact content of the passage and in its structure – there we can expect to see the power of the Holy Spirit joining the Word of God and having a profound effect not only on the speaker, but on the hearer as well . . . Only diligent exposition of the text under the mighty hand of God’s Holy Spirit will fill the vacuum of our day.”
Preaching and Teaching from the Old Testament is a powerful and practical mandate for preaching that properly reflects the whole counsel of God.