Many Christians share the assumption that preaching the word of God is at the heart of God’s plans for the gospel in our age, that it is vital for the church’s health, and that it is the central task of the pastor-teacher. Many helpful books on preaching are available. The vast majority are concerned with “how-to,” but relatively few focus primarily on the character and theology of preaching according to Scripture.
Two key, interrelated questions need to be addressed. First, is there such a thing as “preaching” that is mandated in the post-apostolic context—and, if there is, how is it defined and characterized? Second, how does post-apostolic “preaching” relate to the preaching of the Old Testament prophets and of Jesus and his apostles?
In this New Studies in Biblical Theology volume Jonathan Griffiths seeks answers to these questions in the New Testament. In Part One he gives an overview of the theology of the Word of God, surveys Greek terms related to preaching, and looks at teaching concerning the scope and character of other word ministries in the life of the church. In Part Two his exegetical studies concentrate on teaching that relates especially to the post-apostolic context. In Part Three he summarizes the exegetical findings, sets them within the context of biblical theology, and proposes a number of broader theological implications.
Griffiths’s accessible, scholarly investigation will be of value to scholars, pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers.
Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship, and to point the way ahead.
“According to Scripture, is there such a thing as ‘preaching’ that is mandated in the post-apostolic context; and, if there is, how is it characterized and defined?” (Page 3)
“First, according to Scripture, is there actually such a thing as ‘preaching’ that can be differentiated in any way from other forms of word ministry?” (Page 2)
“preaching’ is needed, and we will use the following: preaching is a public proclamation of God’s word.” (Page 17)
“If it is the word of God that preachers preach, then insofar as they are saying what the Bible passage is saying, it follows that God is speaking and his voice is heard. This truth may be so familiar that it has lost something of its wonder, but it is an extraordinary thing to consider. When preachers open up God’s word and say what it says, God is speaking, and the congregation is hearing his own voice.” (Page 10)
“How would post-apostolic ‘preaching’ relate to the preaching of the Old Testament prophets and of Jesus and his apostles?” (Page 3)
This volume addresses the need for a biblical theology of preaching by focusing on some foundational matters before closely studying a handful of passages in Paul and in Hebrews. Considering how much preaching is done week by week around the world, it is good to have a study that requires us to reflect on what we are doing.
—D. A. Carson
Jonathan Griffiths is lead pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Church in Ottawa, Canada. Previously he served on the staff of the Proclamation Trust in London, England, where he taught the Cornhill Training Course. He is editor of The Perfect Saviour: Key Themes in Hebrews.