When it comes to understanding a passage in the Bible, context is everything. What historical events surround a book’s composition? What larger literary unit is a given passage part of? What central themes explored by the book touch on the verses in question? If we don’t know the answer to questions like these, we are ill-prepared to speak to–and especially preach about–a passage’s meaning. The Preacher’s Bible Handbook aims to meet this need for extra help in preparing the sermon. Essays on each of the biblical books introduce the most relevant historical, literary, and theological facts about the book. Each is designed to aid the preacher in setting the stage for a sermon on any passage in the Bible.
“Preachers have needed a book like this for years, and at last here it is! The first element in any preaching process is getting acquainted with the book from which the preacher’s text is taken. Now this process can be streamlined each week, allowing the preacher to move more quickly to the particulars of the text at hand. Top scholars have been recruited for this task, and the results are not only useful but inspiring.”–John S. McClure, Charles G. Finney Professor of Preaching and Worship, Vanderbilt Divinity School
“Wesley Allen has assembled an impressive cast of scripture interpreters who are imaginative, well-informed, and accessible. Together these colleagues have produced a series of book-by-book essays on the Bible with fresh resources for the preaching task. Preachers who turn to this collection of essays will find rich suggestions for their work. These several writers move with grace and ease from critical learning to homiletical rendering. I anticipate that this book may greatly enliven and empower those who take the Bible with deep seriousness.” –Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
Sometimes when a preacher selects a text for a sermon, whether from the lectionary or elsewhere, it is like tearing off a piece of wallpaper. The preacher has the swatch, but the overall pattern can be lost. The succinct, wise, and informative essays in this volume on each book of the Bible allow preachers to place biblical texts quickly back into their literary, historical, and theological contexts. One gets a sense of how themes and issues in the larger biblical book radiate through particular texts. This is an invaluable resource for preaching. –Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor Emeritus of Preaching, Candler School of Theology