Jun 15, 2012

Interview with Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla on Preaching Mark

On Monday I introduced Mark: A Theological Commentary for Preachers. Today I want to share an interview with the book’s author, Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla. Abe is Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministries, at Dallas Theological Seminary and has a particular passion for the art and science of preaching. He has served as the President of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and as interim preacher of Houston International Christian Fellowship (TX), Watertown Evangelical Church (MA), Plano Bible Chapel (TX), Sherman Bible Church (TX), and Scofield Memorial Church (TX). Abe also blogs regularly at www.homiletix.com.

Question: How did Mark: A Theological Commentary for Preachers come about?

I firmly believe that biblical writers are not only giving us information, but are exhorting us to change our lives in particular ways for the glory of God. My goal in life is to grapple with the text to discover not only what is written, but how. Because the what + how combo invariably points us to the life-change intended by the author. And since I had taught Mark for several semesters and been intrigued by his style, I thought I’d give this Gospel a shot. It also helped that it was the shortest!

Question: Who do you think should read Mark: A Theological Commentary for Preachers?

It is primarily geared for preachers. But for any layperson interested in how valid application can be derived from the various portions of Mark’s Gospel—this includes Bible teachers, Sunday school teachers, and everyone keen on applying the biblical text—I think this book will prove to be helpful. Yes, it is somewhat technical, with Greek (and some Hebrew), but every foreign word is translated and transliterated, so even those without Greek/Hebrew can engage the work.

Hey, I’d love to get your readers’ feedback on it. Feel free to go to my website (www.homiletix.com) and comment, or shoot me an email.

Question:What do you hope to accomplish through this book?

I think that, unlike most commentaries, this one dissects out the how of the text—how the text is structured, how it says what it says. All to the goal of figuring out what Mark (with some help from the Holy Spirit!) is doing with what he is saying. Readers of the Gospel will note that it is a unique piece of writing, structured as a journey: Jesus and his company begin in Galilee and end in Jerusalem. It’s just one straight movement, all the way to the cross. Mark, then, is essentially a handbook of discipleship, teaching believers what it means to follow Jesus. Bit by bit, passage by passage, Mark unfolds facets of discipleship. And I’ve tried to track with Mark in the same fashion in my commentary, moving from one text to the next (or, to be technical, from one pericope to the next).

Question: Other than your book, what are some other resources that might help those who are interested in preaching or teaching Mark?

To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t find a whole lot of good resources to help me preach through Mark. That’s another reason I began this project (which will, God willing, continue on to other books; I’m already half way through the next one). One work that opened my eyes to the concepts I’ve written about was Mark As Story: An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel by David Rhoads, Joanna Dewey, and Donald Michie. Not very theologically conservative, but in terms of looking at narrative, terrific. Of course, there are a number of commentaries on Mark to help one teach it: those by Robert Stein, R. T. France, Adela Collins, and others. Not a whole lot of help in these for those preaching pericope by pericope, though.


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