Preaching Old Testament Narratives

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This article was originally published as:

Kent, G. J. (2011). Preaching Old Testament narratives. Southeastern Theological Review, 2(1), 11-24. Retrieved from http://str.sebts.edu/index.php/volumes/str-2-1-summer-2011/



220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)


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.


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