Apr 9, 2011
Apr 8, 2011
The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below.
Die Konfessionen Jeremias: Eine redaktionsgeschichtliche Studie
Reviewed by John Engle
Dereck Daschke and Andrew Kille, eds.
A Cry Instead of Justice: The Bible and Cultures of Violence in Psychological Perspective
Reviewed by J. Dwayne Howell
Gary N. Knoppers and Lester L. Grabbe, with Deirdre N. Fulton, eds.
Exile and Restoration Revisited: Essays on the Babylonian and Persian Periods in Memory of Peter R. Ackroyd
Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer
Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, ed.
Between Author and Audience in Mark: Narration, Characterization, Interpretation
Reviewed by Tom Shepherd
Scott B. Noegel and Gary A. Rendsburg
Solomon's Vineyard: Literary and Linguistic Studies in the Song of Songs
Reviewed by George Athas
Reviewed by Jonathan Kaplan
Barbara Nevling Porter, ed.
What Is a God? Anthropomorphic and Non-anthropomorphic Aspects of Deity in Ancient Mesopotamia
Reviewed by Aren M. Maeir
Parables and Conflict in the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by George Savran
Jérusalem centre du monde: Développements et contestations d'une tradition biblique
Reviewed by Jeffrey L. Morrow
Mark M. Yarbrough
Paul's Utilization of Preformed Traditions in 1 Timothy: An Evaluation of the Apostle's Literary, Rhetorical, and Theological Tactics
Reviewed by Korinna Zamfir
Apr 7, 2011
Apr 6, 2011
Apr 5, 2011
Apr 4, 2011
Apr 3, 2011
I think that the answer to the question is “yes.” Just to be clear, I am not talking about collections of sermons of well-known preachers (these have a value in their own right). Rather I am talking about preaching or homiletic textbooks. I would suggest that a congregation in general, or at least the lay leadership in particular, would benefit from such reading even if they never preach a sermon themselves. In fact, I suggest that there are at least four benefits of non-preachers gaining insight into the work that goes into the preparation and delivery of sermons.
(1) A non-preacher, reading a good textbook on preaching would often address an area of ignorance. Most people have little clue as to how a preacher moves from text to sermon to delivery. If you don’t believe me, just ask around.
(2) Insight into the work of preaching could lead to greater appreciation of the work of the preacher. Many congregants wonder why it takes ten to twenty hours to prepare a sermon. A preaching textbook would help to explain why well-crafted messages take so much time. Unfortunately some preachers are forced to justify their time in the study. Having an informed congregation would help to make the preacher’s case. In the best case, congregations would insist that their preacher spend sufficient time in the study, even if that meant delegating some common pastoral functions to others.
(3) Understanding what preaching involves can help those in the pew to pray more specifically for those tasked with preaching. While God can honor uninformed prayers, informed prayers would seem to be preferable. By the way, people that have been praying for the preaching process are more likely to be engaged in listening to that which they have prayed for.
(4) An informed congregation would provide additional stimulus to the preacher who might be less than diligent in their task. While I believe that most preachers work hard at their preaching, even the best of us can sometimes become complacent. An informed congregation might not allow that complacency to go unchallenged for any length of time.
Having made the case for non-preachers reading preaching books, I would be remiss to acknowledge that there is always the possibility that some would take this new-found knowledge and use it as a weapon to unfairly criticize or intimidate less accomplished preachers. I have been around long enough to know that this possibility is real. Nonetheless, I think the potential benefits outweigh the potential hazards.