Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible

By Thomas G. Long | Go to book overview

preface

There are constraints which shadow interpretation;
and the first is genre.

Frank Kermode, The Genesis of Secrecy

This investigation into the relationship between the literary genres in the Bible and Christian preaching has carried me deep into the territories of biblical and literary criticism, lands for which I carry no portfolio and where I can barely speak the native tongues. Experts will instantly spot me as a tourist, and I can only hope that they will tolerate my blunders while enjoying my appreciative wonder over what I have seen.

I am especially mindful of how deeply those who preach have always depended upon the labors of biblical scholars. Serious preaching simply could not occur were it not for their work. I am bold enough to believe, though, that biblical scholarship gains both energy and focus through the urgings and promptings of preachers. The preacher does not merely sit in the waiting room of the biblical scholar, patiently biding time until the door finally opens and the latest batch of findings is announced. The issue raised by preaching is not how to use, in a popular way, the gleanings of biblical study but the more central issue of how to approach the Bible in the first place. The act of preaching in and for the church presents exegetical and hermeneutical questions in pointed and urgent ways, and these questions are sometimes different and, in a way, more demanding than those raised by the academy. The best biblical scholarship, I am convinced, is done by those who work while hearing the sound of the

-7-

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Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 7
  • Part 1 - The Approach 9
  • 1 - Learning How to Read 11
  • 2 - Moving from Text to Sermon 23
  • Part 2 - The Literary Forms 41
  • 3 - Preaching on the Psalms 43
  • 4 - Preaching on Proverbs 53
  • 5 - Preaching on Narratives 66
  • 6 - Preaching on the Parables of Jesus 87
  • 7 - Preaching on Epistles 107
  • 8 - Sermon Notes 127
  • Notes 136
  • Index of Names and Subjects 141
  • Index of Biblical Texts 143
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