Interpreting the Prophetic Books: An Exegetical Handbook  -     By: Gary Smith
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Interpreting the Prophetic Books: An Exegetical Handbook

Kregel Academic / 2014 / Paperback

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A guide for students and pastors to interpret and communicate the messages of the prophetic books well

Preaching from a prophetic text can be daunting because it can be difficult to place these prophecies in their proper historical setting. The prophets used different literary genres and they often wrote using metaphorical poetry that is unfamiliar to the modern reader. This handbook offers an organized method of approaching a prophecy and preparing a persuasive, biblically based sermon that will draw modern application from the theological principle embedded in the prophetic text.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Kregel Academic
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0825443636
ISBN-13: 9780825443633
Series: Handbooks for Old Testament Exegesis

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  1. Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Worthwhile Handbook
    May 19, 2015
    Pastor Jim
    Maricopa, AZ
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is another volume of the Handbooks for Old Testament Exegesis series. Like the earlier works in the series we find the same helpful layout is found. It has the same basic features:

    1. Each chapter begins with an overview and ends with a summary of the chapter. This aids the reader in knowing where the chapter is going.

    2. There are very usable charts within the chapters that are understandable.

    3. A selected bibliography at the end.

    4. He also has a glossary at the end for terms an average reader may not understand.

    5. Indexes of scriptures and subjects.

    The author states his purpose is to help with the proper interpretation of biblical texts from the prophets based on an appreciation of their historical setting and an understanding of the characteristics of prophetic literature (p. 18). He fulfills this by 6 main chapters that guide the reader from the nature of prophetic literature; major themes; preparing for interpretation; proclaiming prophetic texts; and test to application. He does well in fulfilling his purposed, and gives us a very satisfactory handbook.

    I found it helpful in three ways:

    1. It helps in understanding and clarifying the nature of prophecy or prophetic literature. This is important in light the popular understanding of prophecy simply as foretelling the future. Smith does a good job of showing the different aspects of prophecy. However, in chapter 4 he deals with interpretive issues within prophetic text that should be considered in conjunction of understanding prophecy.

    2. One of the best features is on the major themes of the prophetic books. In it he gives the overall theme of each prophetic book. Included in some areas he gives the overall purpose of the themes.

    3. From taking it from text to application will be helpful to any preacher or teacher that is planning to tackle the subject. It gives sound practical advice on how to teach and preach this complicated subject. I especially like his principles of applicationfind the timeless aspects of the prophecy; go beyond the cultural limitations; be consistent with other scriptures; and be relevant to your audience. He points out that application should include a challenge for people to move from where they are now to where God wants them to be (p. 162).

    Overall, this is a good handbook for the exegesis of Prophecy. I found it an insightful and helpful guide. It is designed for Bible students, Pastors, and teachers. It would make a good textbook on the subject. It is must reading for those who desire an overall grasp of the subject. It is concise and reader friendly. It is a worthwhile handbook for your library.

    I received this book free from Kregel Publications for the purpose of reviewing it. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
  2. London, ON
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Intimidated by preaching from the prophetic books?
    May 15, 2015
    Jude
    London, ON
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    In sports, my experience has been that one of the main causes behind intimidation is simply the unknown. We are intimidated when we dont know about: How good is this team? Will I be able to defend against this player? How will they attack our offence? More often than not, when the reality of things comes to light we realize we didn't really have anything to be intimidated about. They may be good, but theyre not Superman. They put their pants on the same way we did this morning. Knowledge leads to confidence. I find the same is true for interpreting and preaching; some books of the Bible are intimidating but with knowledge comes confidence.

    In Interpreting the Prophetic Books, Gary V. Smith provides helpful information which leads to increased knowledge resulting in a lessening of the intimidation that preaching prophetic books produce.His thorough but concise teaching on understanding and processing biblical, prophetic literature helps preachers, particularly less-than-seasoned preachers such as myself, overcome any inhibitions about preaching this genre. Of course, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, but the Spirit can also use a resource like this as a foundation for future preaching.

    Interpreting the Prophetic Books is a well organized, logically laid out book which fosters learning and makes it easy to return to for review. The series it belongs to-Handbooks for Old Testament Exegesis-follows a predetermined chapter structure which Smiths book follows: the nature of the genres, major themes, preparing for interpretation, proclaiming the text, putting it all together. Structure and organization is facilitated by two table of content; one is brief and the other in-depth. As well, each chapter begins with a very useful chart that provides the chapter at a glance. I really appreciate this aspect of the book. The book finishes with the expected glossary and indexes. Books that are to be used a resources which will be revisited would all benefit from simple yet effective organization as this book has.

    Chapter one discusses the nature of prophecy including a distinguishing of the temporal categories as well as the genres of prophecy. It also considers the poetical aspects of these canonical books. For me, this was the most helpful chapter and I learned enough to ease some of that intimidation I was feeling. Chapter two investigates the major themes of all 17 prophetic books and encapsulates these ideas with an overall thematic summary. I will definitely be returning to this section of the book regularly. The third chapter aims at aiding one in preparing for interpretation. Included are concepts revolving around the historical setting, other ancient prophetic literature, textual criticism, and working with commentaries. This chapter ends with suggested commentaries and electronic resources on each book of the bible; this is a great bonus to the chapter.Chapter four addresses interpretive issues in the texts which include issues such as literal/metaphorical considerations, contextual topics, and various other difficulties. The fifth chapter delves into the actual preaching of the text with an almost step-by-step approach to dealing with proclaiming these Scriptures. Reflections on applications for this genre completes the chapter and these points were helpful. The final chapter offers some concrete examples of specific prophetic passages that have been dealt with by the author in light of preaching.This walk-throughis a very practical demonstration of much of the books contents.

    As mentioned, this book is a very helpful aid to those intimidated with preaching the prophetic books. Im sure even experienced preachers will also find benefits through out. It tight organization strengthens its usefulness as a resource which one can return to. I will certainly be accessing this book for years to come.

    One aspect of preaching that was not addressed was that of preaching Christ from these books. Though this may be a topic outside of the aim of the series, I feel that this issue is one that many preachers, experienced or not, will struggle with in the prophetic books of Scripture. Addressing this issue would have been a great finishing touch to a very helpful book.

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of review.
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