Book Review: How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth, by Christopher J. H. Wright

How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its WorthI have yet to read anything by Christopher J. H. Wright that I didn’t like and couldn’t recommend. His The Mission of God and The Mission of God’s People continue to be my most recommended texts. I now add How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth to that list for seminary students and those already in Bible preaching and teaching roles. Practical to its core, Wright guides the reader in approaching and handling the Old Testament with pastoral care, keeping his writing accessible to a broad range of readers while maintaining the same quality of method and depth for which he’s known.

The book is written in two parts. Wright begins by arguing for the importance of preaching and teaching the Old Testament and encourages the reader to do so, noting its increasingly limited exposure and the pitfalls that lie therein. He also corrects some commonly held misconceptions and sayings about the OT that are perpetuated by poor reading, exegesis, and sloppy books (e.g., the OT is not “all about Jesus,” as we often hear; it “points to Jesus”). We need to remember that the OT is comprised of different types of writing for different purposes, and that they each have their place and importance within the greater narrative. We should preach and teach them for what they are as they are and refrain from attempts at making them all fit into a simple “Jesus message,” which does not help others actually understand the OT—and thus rightly understand the New Testament—and is likely indicative of a preacher or teacher who does not properly understand the OT. The second part of the book—the bulk of the text—helps the reader to understand the different sections of the OT and then how to preach and teach from them. Wright offers many helpful checklists for sermon and lesson prep throughout the text, and he even includes easy-to-follow outlines and notes for several key Bible passages at the end of relevant chapters.

I highly recommend this for any and all preachers and teachers of the Bible. I imagine it will quickly find its way into Bible college and seminary syllabi everywhere.

 

*I received a temporary digital copy for review from Zondervan via NetGalley.

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