The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative

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"Steve Mathewson has a passion for the Old Testament, a passion for the craft of preaching, and a passion for the art of story. This volume doesn't just call the preacher to greater effectiveness, it helps her or him achieve it." -John Ortberg, pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

"The Old Testament houses a wealth of powerful preaching material for those who know how to mine its depths and communicate its truth in an effective, relevant way. Steve Mathewson has provided the serious preacher and teacher of Old Testament narrative literature with an awesome guide on how to communicate the truths from the Old Testament to our contemporary generation." -Tony Evans, president, The Urban Alternative

"This is a great book for preachers who want to take seriously our obligation to preach 'the whole counsel of God,' including the wisdom of the Old Testament. . . . [This] book is a great resource for biblical preaching from some of the most challenging and revealing parts of Scripture." -William H. Willimon, Duke Divinity School

"Too often our narrative sermons consist of 'telling the story' and then offering 'some practical applications' at the end. . . . Steve Mathewson shows how to discern the specific theological truth of a biblical story and then how to apply it to contemporary life in a penetrating way." -Donald R. Sunukjian, Talbot School of Theology

"Blessed is the congregation whose pastor can preach Old Testament narrative without allegorizing or moralizing! If you want to mine the riches of the Old Testament and share that treasure with your people, this book will show you how." -Warren W. Wiersbe, author, The Dynamics of Preaching

"Steve Mathewson knows why we don't preach Old Testament narratives; he tells us why we should; and he describes how we can. His method is clear and inviting. He displays the highest standards of biblical scholarship without a hint of smugness." -David Hansen, author, The Art of Pastoring


Endorsements

"Blessed is the congregation whose pastor can preach Old Testament narrative without allegorizing or moralizing! If you want to mine the riches of the Old Testament and share that treasure with your people, this book will show you how. Younger preachers and seasoned pulpiteers will both benefit by reading Steve Mathewson's book carefully and putting its wise scholarship into practice."--Warren W. Wiersbe, author and conference speaker

"What makes this book helpful? Steve Mathewson has a passion for the Old Testament, a passion for the craft of preaching, and a passion for the art of story. This volume doesn't just call the preacher to greater effectiveness, it helps her or him achieve it."--John Ortberg, author and Teaching Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

"The Old Testament houses a wealth of powerful preaching material for those who know how to mine its depths and communicate its truth in an effective, relevant way. Steven D. Mathewson has provided the serious preacher and teacher of Old Testament narrative literature with an awesome guide in how to communicate the truths from the Old Testament to our contemporary generation."--Tony Evans, President of the Urban Alternative

"This is a great book for preachers who want to take seriously our obligation to preach 'the whole counsel of God,' including the wisdom of the Old Testament. Working at the task of preaching from the narratives in the Hebrew Scriptures, Steve Mathewson considers the task from a number of different angles, warning us of the pitfalls and encouraging us in the possibilities. His book is a great resource for biblical preaching from some of the most challenging and revealing parts of Scripture."--William H. Willimon, Duke Divinity School

"Too often our narrative sermons consist of 'telling the story' and then offering 'some practical applications' at the end. Unfortunately these applications are usually both disconnected from each other and unrelated to the writer's true intent. Steve Mathewson shows how to discern the specific theological truth of a biblical story, and then how to apply it to contemporary life in a penetrating way."--Donald R. Sunukjian, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

"Steve Mathewson knows why we don't preach Old Testament narratives; he tells us why we should; and he describes how we can. His method is clear and inviting. He displays the highest standards of Biblical scholarship without a hint of smugness. Steve pastors a rural church bursting at the seams and short on staff, yet he refuses to skimp on sermon preparation--which may be precisely why his church is bursting at the seams."--David Hansen, Senior Pastor of Kenwood Baptist Church,
author of The Art of Pastoring

"Steve Mathewson's book is one of the clearest presentations I have read on how to get at the 'big idea' of a text and how to move from the exegetical thrust to the homiletical thrust. With the rare skills of a Hebrew exegete, he has the passion of an 'out in the trenches' pastor who is doing it every Sunday. He makes the Old Testament stories live for the 21st century. But more importantly, he helps us as pastors and teachers to make them live for our congregations."--David Wyrtzen, senior pastor of Midlothian Bible Church

"A writer who aims to teach how to communicate should write in a way that communicates. Mathewson does, showing he knows his stuff. My mind and soul feasted on this book as though it were my favorite pasta with four cheese red sauce. I read every word. I read because I wanted to, not because I ought. I learned much from it. Frequent sermon examples from heavy lifters like Haddon Robinson and Paul Borden are some of the book's bulging muscles. Mathewson shows how to preach stories--and more."--Craig Brian Larson, editor of PreachingToday.com and Preaching Today audio


The Author

  1. Steven D. Mathewson

    Steven D. Mathewson

    Steven D. Mathewson (DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of the Evangelical Free Church of Libertyville, Illinois. He is an adjunct faculty member at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Moody Bible Institute and also teaches in the Doctor...

    Continue reading about Steven D. Mathewson

Reviews

Christianity Today 2003 Book Award Winner
Preaching Magazine's 2002 Book of the Year
One of the 25 Most Influential Preaching Books of the Past 25 Years, Preaching Magazine (2010)

"This book ought to be read by those unconvinced of the value of preaching as well as those who feel they have gone stale in the task, and those whose preaching seldom tackles narrative. It is engagingly written and the author has a light touch and an infectious enjoyment of the subject matter."--Bob Fyall, Themelios

"An excellent title that has just been released. . . . This volume will be of real value to preachers who want to be faithful to the biblical text while also creating sermons that are interesting and relevant to contemporary hearers."--Preaching

"This book should prove to be very helpful to those who would like to improve their preaching on Old Testament narrative and, thus, communicate more effectively to [a] postmodern culture. . . . I would recommend this book to preachers who are trained in the redemptive-historical school of homiletics. It will provide valuable help, especially in the crucial matters of making that all important move from exegetical discovery to dynamic sermon, developing sermons according to the shape of the (narrative) texts, and applying the key theological message of these stories in ways that are text specific and relevant."--Steve Mast, Calvin Theological Journal

"I strongly recommend this solid evangelical work as a valuable contribution to the field. Scholarly, yet easy to read, its thorough contents can and will help the diligent preacher."--Rock LaGioia, Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society

"Smart in look and design, this book is solid content and will find its rightful place in a small cluster of books that are truly helpful works for today's Bible expositors. Mathewson has a passion for effective preaching; moreover he has a desire to practice and to teach excellence in the preaching of the narrative portions of the Hebrew Bible. . . . His content shows wide reading and research, and much original thought; notes swim with data, and the bibliography invites readers to keep at the happy task of effective preaching."--Ronald B. Allen, Bibliotheca Sacra

"Lively and enthusiastic. . . . This is a wise, creative and well-written guide that is warmly commended to preachers and anyone concerned with interpreting and communicating the OT for today."--A. K. Jenkins, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

"Any book which sets out to encourage preachers to proclaim the message of the text of the Bible has my attention. Any book which extols the benefits of a careful study of the Hebrew text, in the light of the best linguistic tools before preaching OT narrative, has me hooked. . . . It is refreshing to find a book on preaching which advocates, above all else, diligence in the exegetical and hermeneutical process. . . . Mathewson is an accomplished evangelical practitioner of the craft of preaching and a competent exponent of the task of reading OT narrative texts."--John Davies, Reformed Theological Review

"Steve Mathewson is a pastor who has a passion for the Old Testament, a passion for preaching, and a passion for stories. . . . The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative is an extremely practical book. The author succeeds admirably in guiding the preacher through the whole process of turning an Old Testament story into an effective sermon that will impact on the lives of its listeners. It is a stimulating read for anyone connected with the task of preaching. . . . Highly recommended to preachers and academics alike."--L. P. Maré, Old Testament Essays

"The first part of the book gives a useful brief introduction to the work of modern literary critics of the last twenty years. . . . The second part on homiletics is helpful for its specific suggestions on preaching narrative sermons."--David Bostock, Review of Biblical Literature

"As a class text for homiletics I would rate this volume quite highly. In fact, I intend to use it as required reading in my 'Preaching from the Old Testament' master's-level course. The author is aware of the contemporary (American) intellectual climate in general, and his biblical and homiletical scholarship is up to date. He writes in a user-friendly style, regularly providing helpful summaries in tabular form. The numerous examples from Scripture make it extremely practical. . . . For the novice evangelical preacher, especially one without a knowledge of Biblical Hebrew, Mathewson provides under one cover a coherent, profusely illustrated, user-friendly guide to preaching OT narrative that is likely to become a standard text for some time to come."--Laurence Turner, Andrews University Seminary Studies

"This work contains an extensive bibliography and it is well indexed. . . . If you are committed to evangelical principles and expository preaching, you will find this book full of practical help."--Tracy Hartman, Perspectives in Religious Studies

"The book and its approach can be used effectively by working pastors or by students in seminary classrooms. . . . No knowledge of Hebrew is needed to use the book, but the more Hebrew one knows, the more useful it will be. I recommend it highly."--Terrance A. Clarke, Presbyterion

"Mathewson displays pedagogical skill in summarizing the exegetical steps a preacher needs to follow in his study of OT narrative. These steps are listed in one of the helpful charts. . . . He does a good job of reminding the expositor of the basics of sermon preparation. . . . The expositor will find this discussion stimulating and challenging. . . . Mathewson is to be commended for introducing the biblical expositor to the challenge of preaching OT narrative. He has issued a challenge that no evangelical pastor can ignore. This is a book that all expositors should read. There is much that is of value in its pages."--Keith Essex, Master's Seminary Journal