Ian Paul & David Wenham - Preaching the New Testament Book Review

Excerpt from Book Review :

Preaching the New Testament, is gracefully written collection of 17 essays by preachers who are also evangelical New Testament scholars. Edited by David Wenham and Ian Paul, the book does not just merely focus on 'persuasive communication, instead it concentrates on offering insights on how interpret, personalize and communicate the New Testament. In theological speak, it focuses on the hermeneutical and exegetical foundations of homiletics rather than the mere mechanics of homiletics.

The first 11 essays in the book are arranged in a canonical New testament order, with a special focus on the Gospels in (chapter one), infancy narratives (chapter two), Jesus miracles and parables (chapter 3 and 4), the sermon on the mount (chapter 5), Acts (chapter six), Paul's letters (chapter seven), the pastoral epistles (chapter eight), the book of Hebrews (chapter nine), General epistles (chapter ten), the book of revelation (chapter eleven). The rest of the seventeen essays address specific issues in history and archeology (chapter 12), New Testament ethics (chapter 13), hope and judgment (chapter 14) relational hermeneutics (chapter 15), exegesis and the new homiletic (chapter 16) and finally evangelistic preaching as the last chapter.

If one is a Pentecostal he or she would definitely be interested in the chapters that touch on Jesus' Acts and miracles. Pentecostals often ignore the hermeneutical divide between normative and narrative, and between what we do now compared to what Jesus and the Early Church did. So it will be interesting to any Pentecostal to see how other denominations such as the evangelicals negotiate or handle this divide.

Even though one may not agree with what is written in the aforementioned chapters, he or she will greatly learn from the many inferences and conclusions they can draw from there. Expository pastors who are looking for help in there next sermon will not find here. Preaching the New Testament offers no direct advice for the procrastinating pulpiteers, instead the book should be read long and pondered upon in advance before preparing for a sermon or even a sermon series. The book as I have found out stimulates insights into the significance and meaning of the New Testament for modern audiences. This paper seeks to investigate in the form a critical reflection how Preaching the New Testament affects its reader towards ministry.

The New Testament preachers who wrote this book proclaimed their message persuasively and passionately. This work explores ways in which we can faithfully preach from those texts. The chapters address main genres and issues in the New Testament. Building on sound communication, interpretation and application principles, this book attempts to support the efforts of ministers and Bible teachers to proclaim the Gospel to hearers today. Preaching has for many years had a long history in Christian Churches. From the Early church apostles to today's ministers, preachers have declared the good news that Jesus not only saves, he sanctifies and is soon going to glorify His people for His own praise and possession.

This book edited by David Wenham and Ian Paul, seeks to help ministers to comprehend how to faithfully declare the good news. In the book, Dr. Carson delivers some well-timed and challenging advice to preachers, that gifted expositors have the capability of working through the new testaments books on a line by line basis. In cases that they succeed in this approach, he continues, they are then dealing with discourse material. However for many of us, the Gospels give us a fine opportunity to select longer textual units than the usual half verse[footnoteRef:2]. [2: Ian Paul, and Wenham David, Preaching the New Testament, 2013, 21]

Carson is not disputing the e significance of verse by verse teaching, instead he looking at the bigger picture by pointing out that most of us may not have the ability to pick apart just a verse and then explain it within the context of the passage and apply it. Preaching the New Testament, will enable those scholarly-inclined Christians as well as preachers and ministers a resource that will enable them to study the Gospels afresh.

Early in the last century, proponents of the historical-critical model believed that they could determine with certainty the objective meaning of a text. Now at the start of a post modern era, we are facing an almost exact opposite challenge -- the idea that one interpretation is as good as the other since there is no objectivity in meaning. This particular book is based on the idea that neither proposition is true. No individual can give an infallible and objective interpretation of what the text means.

However, some views about some texts are better at compelling and convincing others, and it is possible to interpret the text with conviction and good reason. The chapters in this work seek to set out those things, and to do them using not only critical judgment but also the consciousness of the writer's own context. There is no infallible pathway to a perfectly objective textual interpretation; however Christians have for the longest time believed that God has revealed himself throughout history and that things can be revealed to them, regardless of the imperfect lenses and the provisionality of some of our judgments.

Preaching the New Testament, does not make claims on infallibility instead it arises out of the belief that there are important things to say about both the good and bad ways to interpret and ultimately apply the New Testament to our current situation. The book is however not exhaustive, some readers may be slightly disappointed that they do not find solutions to specific situations relating to particular new testament text, e.g. In 1 peter on ministering to spirits in prison or on bigger issues, for example, whether the healing ministry of Jesus, which he then gave power to his disciple to implement, can or should be expected to be reproduced our churches. However, it does offer a useful insight into the matter of teaching the New Testament, which motivates and enables Christians to not just follow his moral example, but to also follow Him in becoming effective ambassadors of God's truth, Kingdom and way.[footnoteRef:3] [3: Ian Paul, and Wenham David, Preaching the New Testament, 2013, 16]

The book also addresses the matter of bridging the gap essentially based on the text rather than the listeners. The book is not a work that teaches how to be rhetorically effective or to change preaching techniques, though those are not unimportant questions. Many biblical scholars believe that New Testament authors were quite interested in delivering the message persuasively and we the Christians of today should try to do the same.

The book does not also give tips on persuasive communication, rather it is a contribution of preachers who also happen to be New Testament Scholars, sharing insights on how to interpret and convey the New Testament message in this day and age. It is not structured as a scholarly book for biblical writings or hermeneutics scholars, but as a work informed on scholarship and designed to be of use to preachers and pastors who are at the centre of ministry. It has been said in the past that translating the bible is like translating a language to another.

Effective translation can only be achieved is two conditions are met, i.e. that the translators know (1) the original language of the text they are translating and (2) the language into which they are translating the text. A failure at either of the two ends is dangerous; many of us are familiar with those multilingual product instructions that are humorously wrong. Likewise, faithful interpretations of the Scriptures require a combination of skills-both in understand Biblical texts with the right context and horizon and then the skill of communicating the meaning of that text into our own context and understanding[footnoteRef:4]. [4: Ian Paul, and Wenham David, Preaching the New Testament, 2013, 15]

This work is the result of a meeting that was held in July 2011 by the New Testament Group of Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical and Theological Research[footnoteRef:5]. Although not exhaustive, the papers that were generated from the conference cover many issues pertaining the preaching of the New Testament from both a practical and theoretical standpoint. Readers of this book will also find useful insight on how to teach the New Testament in these five essays. [5: Ian Paul, and Wenham David, Preaching the New Testament, 2013, 16]

Dr. Carson offers his wisdom and thoughts on ways of preaching the New Testament in general. R.T France also writes gracefully in the book on preaching the infancy biblical narratives. Then, Klyne Snodgrass takes us through the parables, while the other two parts miracles and the Sermon on the Mount are written by Stephen Wright and David Wenham. After this the book gets even more insightful and interesting as the book cover preaching from the Acts written by Christoph Stenschke and the Jason Mason and Justin Hardin, who are also evangelical preacher like the rest of the writers, cover preaching Paul.

Howard Marshalls gives insights…

Sources Used in Document:

Bibliography

Paul, Ian, and David Wenham. Preaching the New Testament. 2013. .

O'Reilly, Matt. "Orthodoxy for Everyone: Review: Preaching the New Testament (@ivpacademic)." Orthodoxy for Everyone: Review: Preaching the New Testament (@ivpacademic). Accessed July 22, 2015. http://www.mattoreilly.net/2013/06/review-preaching-new-testament.html.

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