STR 2.1 (Summer 2011)

Introduction: This volume is devoted to Preaching the Old Testament as Christian Scripture.

This volume is devoted to Preaching the Old Testament as Christian Scripture. It is the final edition of Dr. David Hogg as editor of STR. We are grateful to David for his service to STR and wish him well in his post at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University.

Abstract: This essay explores one of the key figures in preaching and teaching of the Christian church: King David. David’s story may well be an exciting one, but it is above all else theological literature and David is never the hero. Rather, although we know through the story how David becomes king, the focus throughout is on what Yahweh is doing. If we are true to the text in which we find David’s story, then our preaching will find its goal in helping our congregations understand Yahweh and how he is at work throughout. This essay will expose two false paths to preaching the David story and then a productive approach to preaching the Old Testament narrative that deals with the life of David.

Abstract: This essay recognizes the challenges associated with preaching biblical narratives, particularly Old Testament narratives. Old Testament narratives have often been under-utilized in Christian preaching and teaching. Biblical narrative itself has been considered light and simple, better left to children while sophisticated minds analyze epistles or prophecy. Then again, some Bible stories explicitly portray such violent or sexual themes that some have practically excluded them from the canon of preaching, finding them sub-Christian or just too hard to explain. Yet perhaps they are designed to cut through apathy and provoke passionate moral questioning at an adult level. Some may have considered OT stories part of the old covenant, forgetting that Jesus and the apostles used them as Scripture. Further, some scholarly approaches have theorized about various sources behind the OT narratives, and have attempted to break texts into various voices and authors. Interesting though this speculation may be to some, it does not consider that at least the final form was intended by somebody and works effectively as a unified work of literature. This essay attempts to provide a means to preach Old Testament narratives with attention to their literary quality and theological teaching. It will do so with attention to 1 Samuel 25, and it will provide practical strategies for constructing a sermon informed by Old Testament narrative. A sample sermon outline is also provided.

Abstract: Determining the biblical perspective on divine change is a complicated issue. It requires examination of many relevant texts within their contexts to discover the pattern of why God is described as changing or not. This essay will accomplish this task. To do this I will examine texts that use the word for change in the Old Testament (Hebrew nacham) to describe YHWH both as not changing and as changing (section 3), as well as three relevant texts that do not use this terminology (section 4). But first it will be necessary to survey scholarly opinion on the topic to see how they resolve the problem of these apparently contradictory texts (section 2). From this investigation, conclusions will be made as to the nature of the “mutability” of YHWH in the biblical texts of the Old Testament.

Abstract: This article is a retrospective in some ways. The author spent considerable time looking at Deuteronomy in an academic setting, and then upon his move to the pulpit he soon undertook the task of preaching through Deuteronomy in the evening services. Standing in front of a congregation whose concerns and struggles he knew—from struggles in marriage to personal addictions, and from grief over loss to joy over blessings—provided a new context for reading Deuteronomy. And his general was that Deuteronomy must be able to address the Christian church as it actually is: the church as she stands, gathered on any given Sunday in any given Christian church—the “church as a hospital” as old preachers would say. In what follows he does not offer a defense of Deuteronomy as Christian Scripture, nor does the author attempt to answer all the questions associated with such a proposal. Much is assumed or simply touched upon. Instead the author offers a suggestion—a way into the preaching of Deuteronomy in its integrity as Christian Scripture. If Deuteronomy is at the heartbeat of the Old Testament, then neglect in Christian pulpits and the general faith and practice of the congregation means that the church is neglecting a vitally important work. This essay attempts in part to redress this neglect.

Abstract: The underlying assumption of this article is that Augustine’s doctrine of wisdom is readily at work in his exegetical and theological method. The case could be made that from his reading of Hortensius to his death, Augustine’s pursuit of wisdom fundamentally drove his life and work. Assuming this sapiential approach, it will provide the lens through which we will read Augustine’s preaching of the Psalms and evaluate how wisdom affects his sermons. This will be accomplished by considering Augustine as preacher, Augustine’s doctrine of wisdom, his exegetical method, key sermons from the Psalms, and finally a concluding critique of and appreciation for Augustine’s wise preaching. Augustine’s preaching of the Psalms is both expositional and profoundly theological, and, as will be seen, is full of wisdom to be gleaned by preachers today.

The volume concludes with a series of book reviews.