The prophets of the Old Testament times were among the most persuasive preachers in all of history. Smith uses communication theory and the sociology of knowledge to analyze how the preaching of the Old Testament prophets were able to change individual lives, influence the world’s greatest leaders, and cause entire nations to repent. He reaches beyond the traditional presentations of Scripture and historical data to look through the eyes of the Old Testament prophets, see their worldviews, examine their historical/social contexts, and explore the communications process and the dynamics of persuasion. Each chapter includes discussion questions concerning theological and social implications.
“Persuasion was one of the key tools Old Testament prophets used to transform the way people acted.” (Page 6)
“Aristotle believed that rhetoric brought persuasion through ethos, pathos, and logos.25 Ethos relates to the credibility of the person speaking; pathos refers to the emotional appeal of the speaker; while logos describes the logical nature of the argumentation.” (Page 21)
“The central theological perspective of prophetic preaching was that Israel’s God was in control of all people, nature, and power in heaven and earth.” (Page 340)
“Culture is defined as ‘the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, meanings, beliefs, values, attitudes, religions, concepts of self, the universe … hierarchies of status, expectations, spacial relations, and time concepts acquired by a large group of people.’13 Culture is the learned behavior and thought patterns shared by a group of people.” (Page 11)
“Successful communication involves the reception of the intended idea from the source person.” (Page 9)
Gary V. Smith, Ph.D. was a member of the translation teams for both the NLT and HCSB Bible translation projects and has written numerous articles, reviews, and books on the Old Testament. These include Hosea, Amos, and Micah for the NIV Application Commentary series and Isaiah in the New American Commentary series. He has taught Old Testament at Bethel Theological Seminary in Minnesota and was Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Missouri. In 2004 he began teaching at Union University, where he is currently Professor of Christian Studies.