Friday, July 25, 2008

Dale Ralph Davis - The Word Became Fresh

Someone apparently said to Vaughan Roberts that the BST commentaries had "gold dust on every page", an assessment with which he seemed to agree. Vaughan's a very good preacher, and a great bloke, but I don't quite agree with him - there are some in that series which seem weak. But his quote is one I would certainly want to appropriate for this book.

Davis sets out to try to explain how to preach Old Testament narrative. It's not quite what the book ends up doing, but this is sill the best book I've read on preaching the Old Testament. I don't especially want to read Richard Pratt's He Gave Us Stories (which is usually heavily recommended for that), for the simple reason that when I heard Pratt preach, he seemed to spend most of his time arguing that the passage taught a spurious form of post-milleniallism which he made no effort whatsoever to reconcile with the many passages of Scripture which don't fit that interpretation. He seemed to be theologising too much from one passage without taking into account the whole counsel of Scripture. But Davis doesn't do that.

What Davis actually does, and does very well, is give lots of examples of different priniciples and techniques for the exegesis and application of Old Testament narrative. He typically spends half a page explaining the technique, then two or three pages giving a pithy and challenging summary of a sermon on a section of OT narrative which uses that technique. And it becomes not so much a textbook as a devotional guide, with the learning being learning by example.

I have one, and only one, major gripe with this book. There is no index of Scriptures used. I might have to spend some time writing one.

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