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For the experienced or novice preachers who either avoid the Hebrew Bible altogether or want to improve their preaching from the Old Testament, Dr. Benjamin H. Walton's Preaching Old Testament Narratives provides an invaluable resource for biblical preaching. Walton demonstrates how to select a narrative text that is a complete unit of thought, uncover its theological content, and convey its message in a powerful, meaningful fashion. With clear, well-designed, and thoughtful guidance, this book will equip preachers to put all the pieces together, have confidence in what they're imparting, and maximize their preaching potential for Old Testament narratives.
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Kregel Ministry
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)|
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acts2424 Stars Out Of 5Preaching Old Testament NarrativesFebruary 8, 2017acts242Quality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Why a book on teaching Old Testament narratives? Mostly because it has become a challenge for Pastors in a Church culture that expects teaching that is practical to provide honest reflection on the Old Testament text. Rather than gleaning from the high content already provided by Old Testament narratives the popular practice is to treat the Old Testament narratives as something like Aesops Fables. Instead of unfolding the history of redemption, it is assumed that the Old Testament narratives are there to show us some moral or practical life lesson. This isnt to say that moral or life lessons arent helpful. However, for Pastors the primary function is to Shepard Gods people with Gods Word and here in lies the challenge.
This way of preaching is what Walton calls Preaching with Biblical authority he goes on to say that this type of preaching means that our sermons accurately proclaim and apply the message of their biblical preaching text(29). Such an understanding realizes that our conception of reality is construed by finite understanding and thus requires an infinite God to explain His will to us. Therefore, unless the message comes from the text, we run the risk of misrepresenting God. What Walton wants to speak to is preaching whose authority is not derived from the pastor but from Gods word.
Preaching Old Testament Narratives is a comprehensive treatment of its subject matter. The 254 pages are broken up into two sections, Discover The Message and Deliver The Message. In Discover The Message, Walton provides a 5 step methodology beginning with selecting a complete unit of thought or what Walton calls CUT(47). As the name implies this is simply choosing the preaching text. This is very helpful for obvious reasons. For Waltons approach the objective in this stage of sermon preparation is to select a complete unit of thought so that the original theological message or OTM can be identified.
Steps 2 and 3 involve identifying the theological and historical contexts (45) and plot. Here Walton observes that Old Testament Narratives teach about God, hence the theological context. However, one further important step for Walton is the historical. Since we are looking at a different time period or era the thoughts and feelings of the people of Israel are different than those in 21st century America. Thus a proper understanding of the text looks and both these contexts of theological and historical. This leads Walton into Step 3 which is to study the plot. In order to provide thoughtful reflection on Old Testament narratives one should have a thorough understanding of the plot found in the CUT.
After arriving at the proper contexts and understanding the plot the next step seems fairly logical, discover the original theological message (OTM) and craft the take home truth. Discovering the original theological message for Walton. A complete unit of thought will have an original theological message that was intended for its original audience. The tenancy is to by pass the step and fabricate a message familiar to 21st century American experience. The problem is created when we dont first seek to find out what that message communicated to Old Testament hearers. Once the original theological message is understood we can then move on to the next step in crafting the take home truth (THT).
The second part of the book deals specifically with delivering the message. Here Walton lays out the process of sermon preparation consisting of topics such as: creating the introduction, preaching through the complete unit of thought, stating and getting listeners to buy the take home truth, picture painting, making the move to Christ, and the conclusion. Each of these topics are well thought out and given a thorough treatment. Waltons goal here is to give the reader the tools to execute on what he calls the four pillars of excellent preaching: accuracy, relevance, clarity, and inspiring.
Overall this is a pretty important book. This is an area that many pastors struggle with and Walton provides more than a foundation from which to build. Rather he walks the reader carefully through each step. There are some sections that have more to do with personal style which isnt necessary for preaching Old Testament narratives. However the section on making the move to Christ is very well done and would prove to be helpful . I highly recommend this book for those still trying to navigate Old Testament narrative preaching or even for those who are quite comfortable with preaching Old Testament narrative and would just like a different perspective on the matter.
RATING 4 out of 5
sheep23St. Charles, MOAge: 25-34Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Preaching Old Testament NarrativesJanuary 28, 2017sheep23St. Charles, MOAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Preaching Old Testament Narratives by Benjamin Walton
How does a minister faithfully preach Gods Word from the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament? How must he be faithful to the original intent of the text but bring it to todays audience? These questions are answered in Dr.Benjamin Waltons new book, Preaching Old Testament Narratives. Walton, president of PreachingWorks, a company designed to help pastors faithfully and consistently preach Gods Word, delivers the goods in this book by carefully bringing us along in his journey.
One of the aspects of this book that is very valuable is Benjamins insistence that we preach CUTs or Complete Units of Thought, identify historical and theological contexts, and finally at the end craft the take home truth (steps 3-4 include studying the plot and the original theological message). Why is it important first to preach complete unit of thoughts? For one, a poorly chose preaching text can doom the sermon before it begins. In general, we need to preach an entire CUT, because OT narratives teach few theological principles and because it takes an entire CUT to convey an OTM (original theological message). Thus, preaching partial CUTs typically results in misapplication. (47) Preachers misapply Gods Word because they combine too many units of thought and thematic concerns that often are very different from each other or carry with them disparate themes. Further, preaching complete units of thought give the preacher a focused narrative section that brings to surface the primary message of the text, rather than secondary or tertiary concerns.
The section in chapter 7 was most helpful for my preaching because I often wonder if I bore my listeners if I re-read the whole text too many times. Walton gives us wisdom here by writing, When we summarize-without-reading, its often best to keep it under fifty wordsAll we need to do is capture the gist of the verses. (140) The succinctness of the reading is helpful because it helps give our listeners a good idea of whats going on in the text without being bogged down by the details. Further, one advantage of the summarize-without- reading is that we are able to put the biblical text in an modern idiom that conveys the meaning in a listener friendly way, often getting into the characters minds.
Overall, this was a very helpful book and aid to the preaching of Old Testament narratives.
Thanks to Kregel Ministry for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
PASTOR JIM GRAY4 Stars Out Of 5WorthwhileJanuary 7, 2017PASTOR JIM GRAYQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5You hear very few sermons on the Old Testament anymore. Here is a book that will help a Pastor to feel more confident in doing so.
Walton begins where preaching should begin with hermeneutics. This is fundamental to preaching, specially to preach with authority. He is correct that preaching with authority is to preach the Word. However, he seems to overlook the job of the Holy Spirit and what used to be called the unction of the Spirit in preaching. He emphasizes genre as an essential unit the Old Testament text and must be preached in that light. He is correct in indicating Old Testament text differs from the New Testament epistles, not being as direct or as understandable. Be careful. Walton, uses his own jargon in this book (example: CUT, meaning complete unit of. THT take home truth, OTM; original Theological message, among others). These are generally useful. He uses this jargon in giving an overview of the steps of his hermeneutical process.
The second part of the book is on delivering the message. He starts this with the four pillars of excellent preachingAccuracy, relevance, clarity, and inspiring. He briefly writes on the common ways of preaching text (verse by verse, alliteration, principlization, etc., but does not appear to be a fan of any of these). He rather gives his own method, explaining it section by section, which takes up most of the book. This is the heart of the book, where he gives the nitty-gritty of putting together the sermon. In a nutshell, his method involves:
Create an Introduction (Chapter 5). Included in this is what I call the basic ingredients of an introduction that he brings outidentification, relevance, and setting the stage. Somewhat simple, but necessary ingredients.
Preach through the CUT (compete units of thought) movement (Part 1: Chapter 6). He says these movements are effective and illuminate the text. He warns not to make these main points; they are only to keep the sermon on focus. Make the connections to real life.
Preach through the CUT (Part 2: Chapter 7). This is a continuation of chapter 6. He says the CUT movements can simply be summarized, read and explaine, or used as lead-ins. Movements are not the same as main ideas.
State the Take-Home truth (Chapter 8). What he refers to Take-Home truth, I would classify as application. He defines it as a timeless or contemporary expression of the OTM (the original Theological Message).
Help listeners buy the Take-Home truth (Chapter 9). This is to overcome objections listeners may have with the Take-Home truth. This is a helpful chapter.
Develop Picture-Painting Applications (Chapter 10). He states preaching is about life. Painting life pictures from the sermon gives it added meaning.
Move to Christ (Chapter 11). He deals with the meaning of preaching Christ in the Old Testament narrative that the sermon must reflect New Covenant reality about by Christ (a definition not all will agree with).
Finishing well in the conclusion (Chapter 12).
From good to excellent (Chapter 13). He gives us elements both outside the pulpit and inside to makes us better.
In an appendix, he gives some example sermons.
My overall evaluation is that this will be helpful in preaching the Old Testament. Preaching from the Old Testament is a common struggle among preachers, in which this can help. He gives good detail of this method of preaching, which some would equally apply to other types of sermons. However, everyone will not agree with the overall method which is presented in a rigid manner. At times, he seems too narrow. However, these will be overlooked by most experienced preachers. This is a good solid work that will be a benefit to preachers on Old Testament narratives.
Thanks to Kregel for the free provision of work for my review.
Jimmy ReaganWest Union, OHAge: 35-44Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5Help for PreachersDecember 28, 2016Jimmy ReaganWest Union, OHAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Benjamin Walton has been teaching preaching for some time as well as having pastored himself in the past. He begins his book explaining the need of accuracy in preaching. He argues that most do not do so, even some who imagine they do.
He next distinguishes OT narrative from other biblical genres. I personally believe he misses on the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 10:1-22 and too narrowly limits OT narratives because of it.
He uses his own jargon. CUT (complete unit of thought) and THT (Take-Home Truth) are his two main emphases. He deals with what most every such volume would, even if he uses his own words.
On the plus side, the book really gives the nuts and bolts. It ever reminds us that our listeners deserve the word of God, not the word of man. It explains thoroughly everything it suggests.
On the negative side, he sometimes makes it sound like that anyone who doesnt follow him down the line completely is off the mark. Again, his method can be too rigid at times.
This book will be the greatest asset to those with less experience in faithfully giving out the text. It could, though, be a help to anyone.
I received this book free from the publisher. 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 Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
Author: Benjamin H. Walton
Located in: Phoenix, AZ
Submitted: June 16, 2016
Tell us a little about yourself. Benjamin H. Walton (D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is president of PreachingWorks, an organization dedicated to helping pastors maximize their preaching potential. A respected homiletician and former pastor, Ben has taught or lectured at several colleges and seminaries. His work centers on the fusion of biblical interpretation and communication for the purpose of excellent preaching.
What was your motivation behind this project? Preachers desire to preach both accurately and powerfully, but a need existed for a user-friendly book that helped them do that from OT Narratives.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? Many things. How to faithfully interpret and apply OT narratives; an understanding of the four pillars of excellent sermons, and how to deliver them from OT narratives; how to develop concrete applications; what the Bible teaches about "preaching Christ," and how that affects the sermon; deeper faith; a more appreciative congregation.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? I was blessed by the pastors who tested and provided feedback on the book as it developed. Their feedback inspired me daily to convey the book's concepts in a practical, user-friendly manner.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? My influences begin with Jesus Christ. It is he who saved me, and he who called me to proclaim his Word. My wife and three boys--Sara, Colin, Lucas, and Landon--provide the love and emotional support so helpful for a writing project such as this. Professionally, I am indebted most to two of the finest teachers of preaching in the U.S. today: Donald Sunukjian and Jeffery Arthurs of Talbot School of Theology and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, respectively. Naturally, there are many others, who are either mentioned in the Preface or cited in the book. Twenty-one scholars and pastors wrote endorsements for the book, and though I don't know most of them personally, I only sent the manuscript to those who God has used to influence me.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: I wrote the book for you, to serve you and those you minister to. It was written with pastors in mind, and has many transferable concepts that can enhance the ministry effectiveness of even volunteer ministry leaders and the spiritual life of any Christian.
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