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The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative, 2nd Edition

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A veteran pastor with thirty years of experience guides readers through a ten-step process to preaching Old Testament narratives from text selection to delivery. The first edition received a Christianity Today award of merit and a Preaching magazine Book of the Year award. This edition, now updated and revised throughout for a new generation, includes a new chapter on how to preach Christ from the Old Testament and an exemplary sample sermon from Mathewson.


Foreword to the First Edition by Haddon W. Robinson
Part 1: Preparing to Preach
1. The Challenge of Preaching Old Testament Narratives
2. The Christ-Centered Preaching Debate
Part 2: From Text to Concept
3. The Journey Begins
4. A is for Action
5. C is for Characters
6. T is for Talking
7. S is for Setting
8. Drawing Conclusions
Part 3: From Concept to Sermon
9. Starting the Second Half of the Adventure
10. Adding the Finishing Touches
11. Shaping the Sermon
12. Outlining the Sermon
13. Mastering the Storyteller's Craft
14. Entering and Exiting
15. Delivering the Goods
Appendix A: Sample Sermon on Judges 17-18
Appendix B: Using Hebrew in Narrative Exegesis
Appendix C: Commentaries for Narrative Exegesis


"Mathewson provides preachers with a sensible and practical manual for sermon preparation. Along the way, he also manages to offer an insightful handbook on reading biblical narrative well. I am happy to recommend it to anyone whose desire is to understand Old Testament narratives and communicate them effectively. Your listeners will thank you for taking the time to read and implement these strategies!"

Carmen Joy Imes, associate professor of Old Testament, Biola University; author of Bearing God's Name: Why Sinai Still Matters

"The challenges of preaching from Old Testament narratives are significant. When the cultural gap between us and the biblical world is so great, how do we make sure that the message we are passing on to our congregations is what the stories are designed to communicate? How do we avoid remaking these narratives in our own image? Steve Mathewson has combined the best of Old Testament literary scholarship with his many years of homiletical experience, and he's given us a guidebook on how to faithfully preach from these most important parts of the Bible."

Tim Mackie, cofounder of the BibleProject

"Mathewson provides emerging preachers a crucial guide for moving from the text of Old Testament narratives to faithful, effective sermons. In its second edition, The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative is stronger than ever, offering students and church leaders eminently accessible and practical guidelines for communicating the truths of these narratives in all of their beauty and power."

Michelle Knight, assistant professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Can the art of storytelling be taught--especially when it pertains to ancient biblical narratives? Mathewson not only thinks so, but he gives us a master class, workshop, manual, and handbook all in one in this spirited work. He is a sage guide offering pastors and teachers of God's Word field-tested principles and practices. This book will be the go-to resource for preaching Old Testament narratives for this generation and generations to come. Read this book for yourself and for the sake of God's church, who desperately needs to hear and be reminded of the stories of God and the stories of his people."

Matthew D. Kim, George F. Bennett Professor of Preaching and Practical Theology and director of the Haddon W. Robinson Center for Preaching, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"Mathewson gifts us with a gold mine of insights into Old Testament narrative. He expertly guides pastors on how to approach a text, prepare a message, and deliver a sermon. There are resources for going as deep as one wants or can, from biblical examples and sample sermons to an introduction to Hebrew discourse and select bibliographies for many Old Testament books. Let's bring the Old Testament to life and into lives! Here is an able guide."

M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas), Scripture Press Ministries Professor of Biblical Studies and Pedagogy, Wheaton College

"Just about twenty years ago, Baker Academic wisely published Steve Mathewson's fine book The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative. It has helped to instruct, inspire, and guide at least two generations of preachers on how to handle some of the most engaging portions of God's Word as they speak to God's people. Now we're blessed to have the newly minted second edition, and it's even better than the first. Mathewson has gone the extra mile to skillfully incorporate much of the exegetical and homiletical work that has been done on this biblical genre over the past two decades. The result is a book that is fuller, richer, and even more valuable than the original. I can't recommend it enough to pastors, professors, and preachers who seek to communicate these narratives in an accurate, clear, and compelling way!"

Scott Wenig, professor of applied theology, Haddon Robinson Chair of Biblical Preaching, Denver Seminary

"Mathewson brilliantly delivers the wealth of his experience preaching Old Testament narrative. It's quickly clear you're learning from a master of preaching who loves the biblical text and the hearers of God's Word. Mathewson writes in the same engaging manner in which he preaches, showing and not just telling. He interacts meaningfully with scholarly and literary works on Old Testament narrative literature. Whether you're a novice or highly experienced preacher, Mathewson offers valuable insights, resources, and examples to enhance your effectiveness and invigorate your desire and ability to preach narrative from the Old Testament. A must-read for students, pastors, preachers, and teachers of preaching."

Ingrid Faro, visiting professor of Old Testament, Northern Seminary

"The same passion to communicate that eventually led to the incarnation, first drove God to dress up vast amounts of his self-revelation in the narratives of the Old Testament. This updated edition from Mathewson is a wonderful gift to every preacher: a guide to getting below the surface of these narratives along with coaching on how to preach them engagingly. This book combines exegetical skill, helping us to grasp the meaning of the text, with the wisdom of a seasoned preacher, encouraging us to communicate these texts effectively to others. God is a great communicator. God's heart is for you and your hearers. May this book guide you and those to whom you preach into the rich world of Old Testament narrative--a place where we can know ourselves better, but more importantly, a place where God reveals himself and points us forward toward Christ."

Peter Mead, pastor of Trinity Chippenham (UK); director of Cor Deo

"Steve Mathewson has written the go-to book on interpreting and preaching Old Testament narrative. Clear, insightful, and practical, it deserves a place on every preacher's bookshelf."

Darryl Dash, pastor of Liberty Grace Church, Toronto, Ontario; author of 8 Habits for Growth

The Author

  1. Steven D. Mathewson

    Steven D. Mathewson

    Steven D. Mathewson (PhD, Stellenbosch University; DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves as director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Trinity Evangelical Divinity...

    Continue reading about Steven D. Mathewson


Southwestern Journal of Theology 2021 Book Award (Honorable Mention, Preaching/Ministry/Leadership)