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The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature [Paperback]

By Sidney Greidanus (Author)
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Relativism; 2 - Full Series Preview
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Item description for The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature by Sidney Greidanus...

How to choose and isolate a coherent section of Scripture, outline the main points, decide on a universal principle, choose alternate ways to preach the material (e.g., didactive, narrative, or textual), and deliver it in a creative, imaginative fashion.

Publishers Description
A fusion of biblical hermeneutics and homiletics, this thorough and well-researched book offers a holistic contemporary approach to the interpretation and preaching of biblical texts, using all the scholarly tools available and focusing especially on literary features. Greidanus develops hermeneutical and homiletical principles and then applies them to four specific genres: Hebrew narratives, prophetic literature, the Gospels, and the Epistles.

Awards and Recognitions
The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature by Sidney Greidanus has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • Preaching Book of the Year - 1990 Winner - Book of the Year category

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   390
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 1999
ISBN  0802803601  
ISBN13  9780802803603  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 26, 2016 05:52.
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More About Sidney Greidanus

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Sidney Greidanus is professor emeritus of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary and author of several books, including Preaching Christ from the Old Testament and Preaching Christ from Daniel.

Sidney Greidanus was born in 1935.

Sidney Greidanus has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Relativism; 2

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Preaching
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Sermons
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Concordances

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > General Studies > Exegesis & Hermeneutics

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature?

a much needed work  Sep 18, 2006
the bible is God's word, yes, but it did not fall out of the sky all at once and it is not a personal love letter from God in order to help us be more psychologically healthy. This book is a very well thought out and scripture honoring study in several issues relating to not only understanding what the bible is and what it's about, but also how to use it for teaching and preaching purposes. To truly honor the bible's message, the bible should be handled with intelligence and careful thought. This book will go a good distance towards that goal. It is written with serious readers in mind, it is not a feel good devotional type work. Also be sure to check out, Biblical Interpretation by Blomberg, Klein and Hubbard as well as How to Read The Bible For All It's Worth by Fee and Stewart and finally, Preaching The Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Graeme Goldsworthy. These are some of the most helpful and sane works on the subject that I have come across yet.
Tough going but worth it  Aug 21, 2006
A significant, scholarly review of approaches to interpreting the Bible -- complete with a suggested holistic approach. While arduous reading (including so many quotes of primary sources that it was annoying to me!), this was an eminently worthwhile read for me as a teacher & preacher. I'd like to give it 5 stars, but...shoot, it was just too tough going. But if you want to understand the history of Bible interpretation -- learning from your forebears, and strengthening your own convictions -- buck up and read it.
Complete and then some  Jun 19, 2006
This is one of the most exhaustive looks at translating the biblical text into the preached word. It steps a bit out of homiletics and into hermeneutics. The scope is almost too much for one book.

Greidanus does a cursory introduction to expository preaching before launching into a full-blown critique of the historical-critical methods of biblical analysis. While his calm prose and scholarly foundations calmed my initial expectation that this would be a work of defensive fundamentalism, I was still shocked to see such a dubious review of the techniques that biblical scholars have been developing for a couple of centuries. I think Greidanus might have trouble getting a hearing in some circles of biblical scholarship today.

Chapters 3-5 are a unit, a look at the means of literary, historical, and theological interpretation of a text. I like the fact that in his subsequent study of each of the genres of biblical literature, Greidanus systematically returns to each of these three methods (e.g. how each of these three apply to prophetic literature, gospels, etc.).

Chapters 6-8 are also a unit, though not so tightly bound. Six deals with the selection of a text for preaching, a subject to which Greidanus returns in each of his studies of the genres of biblical literature. Seven looks more specifically at homiletics and the didactic and narrative forms of the sermon. Here, I feel a bit as though the text has wandered from its original purpose, or rather that the book needs to either focus on issues of biblical analysis or of sermon preparation. As I said, he takes on a lot here. Eight talks about the appropriate application of ancient texts to the modern world, the translation of the meaning and purpose of the original text and readers to the congregation.

Chapters 9-12 are really the substance of the book. The too-short critique of historical-critical methods with which it began almost detracts from what is really a rewarding conclusion. Here the book walks through Hebrew narratives, prophetic literature, gospels, and epistles and applies all of what came before. For each, it tells us how to apply literary, historical, and theological interpretation. For each, it tells us how to apply the text to modern preaching.

In the end, the text is so thoroughly analytical that it is almost impractical. It takes what is probably an entire course that Greidanus teaches (the table of contents even looks like a course syllabus) and puts it in a single work. It will take some time to digest this text.
Valuable Guide to Preaching on Biblical Genres  May 10, 2005
Greidanus provides a useful tool for the modern preacher. In this book Greidanus gives the preacher what is essentially a handbook on how to handle the various biblical genres. I feel the book is more suited to be used as a reference rather than a book you would read through and let sit. Although at times, the book felt repetitive and seemed to be a collection of parts rather than a fluid text, the book remains both insightful and useful to the modern preacher. There were numerous times where Greinadus' insights opened up biblical passages I had previously scanned over.

Overall this work will prove to be useful to biblical preachers everywhere and even the established student of the Bible should take something new away from it.
Good book for preachers  Apr 8, 2005
Reviewed by Rev. George van Popta

The author strives to fill two needs: to provide a tool that bridges the gap between the departments of biblical studies and that of homiletics; to provide busy pastors and aspiring preachers access to the fruit of biblical scholarship which is so often buried away in scholarly journals and far away libraries. This books has surprising breadth: in it the author deals with issues in history, hermeneutics, homiletics, Hebrew narrative, prophecy, the Gospels and the Epistles. Despite that surprising breadth, the reader will not be disappointed by a lack of depth. This study is not superficial.

In the first chapter Greidanus explores the connection between the Bible and contemporary preaching. He emphasizes the need for expository preaching where the text is master of the sermon, rather than topical preaching.

In chapter two he discusses the radical naturalistic historical-critical methods of approaching scripture that deny the historical reliability of the Bible. His conclusion is that there is sufficient reason for approaching the biblical text with confidence, even as the very Word of God. Greidanus accepts what the Bible says about its inspiration (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:21). The Bible is trustworthy. He argues for working with a "holistic" historical-critical method that permits one to recognize historical narrative in the scriptures for what it is and to interpret it accordingly rather than to interpret it as myth, legend or mere story.

In chapter three the author presents a very helpful survey and assessment of the various forms of literary interpretation of scripture analyzing how they relate to preaching, and how they are either preaching's death knell or of some or much aid to the preacher.

The next chapter discuss the place of historical interpretation. The text must be understood in terms of its own time, place and culture. To understand what the text means, we need to seek to understand what the author meant. Greidanus also writes about the history of God's kingdom spanning creation to new creation, and works with the theme of creation, fall and redemption.

Chapter five is entitled: "Theological Interpretation." The Bible is not man-centred but has a God-centred focus: it reveals God's sovereignty and relates everything to God. The Bible requires preaching to be Christocentric. Neither the people in the Bible nor in the pew are central to the sermon; rather, Christ is central.

In the view of this reviewer, this chapter could have been strengthened if Greidanus had included a paragraph or two on confessional interpretation. A preacher preaches within a confessional context. His sermons ought not to collide with his church's confession(s). This is not to take the position that the confessions rule over the Word. This does not mean that the preacher would need to round off his sermons with footnotes to his confessions-or that his sermons would be nothing more than footnotes to his church's confessions. The message of the text must always sounds the clear tones of the Word of God. The peculiarities of a given text must be boldly pronounced. At the same time, if a preacher belongs to a confessional church, the confessions will function as he fulfills his task of preaching. The author's thoughts on this would have been appreciated.

After laying groundwork for five chapters, Greidanus gets to nitty-gritty material in chapter six, "Textual-Thematic Preaching." By this he means preaching in which the theme of the sermon is rooted in the text. A sermon must have a text, rather than just a topic. He discusses what a text is and how one delineates a text, and the difference between the theme of the text and the theme of the sermon (sometimes but not always these will be the same). The sermon must have a theme which will help to keep the sermon on track, unified, provide necessary movement, and direct the application.

Chapter seven covers the form of the sermon. In this very interesting chapter he discusses deductive and inductive development, and didactic and narrative forms. Each has advantages and potential pitfalls. The deductive and didactic forms can be good teaching vehicles but can also lead to boredom in the pew whereas the inductive and narrative can be exciting but can also mystify a congregation which has no idea what journey the preacher has taken it on. The nature of the text needs to determine the form of the sermon. This does not call for slavish imitation of the form of the text but for respect for the textual form so that its spirit is not violated by the sermonic form.

In chapter eight the author discuss the relevance of the sermon. The question here is: how does the preacher bridge the historical-cultural gap and show that the ancient text is relevant (not made relevant) to its modern audience? He discusses four improper methods: allegorizing, spiritualizing, imitating Bible characters, and moralizing. In discussing how properly to bridge the gap, we must begin by concentrating on the original message. What did the author intend to convey to the first audience? We need then to recognize the elements of discontinuity between the ancient pre-Christ audience and us, and at the same time recognize the overarching continuity (one faithful God and one covenant people). The preacher must realize that he is not making the text relevant but is coming with a relevant proclamation about God and his Christ. Application ought not to be tacked on to explication. Explication and application must be integrated so that the whole sermon comes across as relevant communication. The preacher needs to address the needs of his congregation, to address the whole person, use dialogue in his sermon, and make use of concrete and vivid language.

In the remaining chapters Greidanus applies the contents of the first eight chapters to preaching Hebrew narratives (ch. 9), preaching prophetic literature (ch. 10), preaching the gospels (ch. 11), and preaching the epistles (ch. 12). These chapters provide a wealth of very helpful insight that will aid a preacher in preaching almost every genre of the Bible.

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