Thursday, 14 October 2010

Steven D. Mathewson on Understanding and Proclaiming Old Testament Narratives

Steven D. Mathewson, ‘Guidelines for Understanding and Proclaiming Old Testament Narratives’, Bibliotheca Sacra 154, 616 (1997), 410-435.

Mathewson has written more fully on Old Testament narrative elsewhere, so it is helpful to have his salient points gathered together in this essay in two main sections:

Hermeneutical Guidelines

• Interact with a story’s literary art to determine its meaning

• Follow the plot development and shape

• Observe the pace at which the story unfolds

• Focus on the dialogue embedded in the story

• Give attention to the development of characters

• Consider the significance of descriptive details

• Notice how the story uses the technique of repetition

Homiletical Guidelines

• Preach blocks of narrative large enough to communicate a big idea

• Develop an outline that will highlight the story line of the narrative

• Select the vantage point from which to tell the story

• Turn the biblical scenes into pictures that capture the listeners’ imaginations

• Hone storytelling skills

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