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The Word Became Fresh
How to Preach from Old Testament Narrative Texts
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"...I still believe that traditional Old Testament criticism has had the effect of killing the Old Testament for the church. This little tome can hardly reverse that, but it is meant as an exercise in reading the Old Testament for fun and profit. As my mother-in-law used to say, 'It's different anyway.' And maybe it will help. Most of what I do in the following pages involves discussing examples of Old Testament narratives. I have tried to select examples from a broad range of possibilities. By the way, I assume that you have the biblical text handy in order to carry on your 'Berean' work." Dale Ralph Davis
Dale Ralph Davis is Minister in Residence, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina. Prior to that he was pastor of Woodland Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi.
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I think Davis succeeds admirably in his goal. I found myself stirred up reading the book. He writes well and shows how, even though there are difficult and confusing parts of Scripture, it is not that difficult to find key truths. This is a very encouraging and helpful book.
Ray Van Neste, Director, R. C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee
"Davis maintains that avoidance of difficult texts ‘gets us and nowhere and impoverishes the church'. His excellent chapter on appropriation/application includes the damming sentence: ‘ I hold a reader who does not appropriate and/or a teacher who will not apply Scripture is practising abortion on the Bible' You may or may not want to imitate Davis Style but if you read this book you will want to lift his structures and insights straight off the page. And that is no bad thing for the church."
Ann Benton, Author and family conference speaker, Guildford, England
"There is no more gifted expositor of the Old Testament in our day than Ralph Davis. His book not only brings scholarly research to bear on the subject, but also reflects his many years of preaching week after week through the Old Testament. What a gift to the church to have such a fine book."
Richard Pratt, President, Third Millennium Ministries, Orlando, Florida
This is vintage Dale Ralph Davis - accessible and practical scholarship in a readable and stimulating Style. The Subtitle of the book is 'How to preach from Old Testament narrative and that's exactly what Davis describes. With many examples, and that's exactly what Davis describes. With many examples, and interesting illustrations, he teaches us how to grapple honestly with what sometimes can be intimidating, difficult and uncomfortable portions of Scripture.
"Dale Ralph Davis has written a wonderfully straightforward, readable book entitled, The Word Became Fresh: How to Preach from Old Testament Narrative Texts (Christian Focus; pb., 154 pp.). Davis, like Goldsworthy, laments how complicated we have sometimes made biblical interpretation and instead outlines a basic approach to careful, sensible reading which opens up the theology of Old Testament narratives. This is one of those books that makes you want to preach after reading it!"
Preaching.com Bible and Bible Survey Review 2007
"With many examples, and that's exactly what Davis describes. With many examples, and interesting illustrations, he teaches us how to grapple honestly with what sometimes can be intimidating, difficult and uncomfortable portions of Scripture...This book is not only suitable for preachers and teachers, but can be read with great profit by all Christians who want to get more of a handle on Old Testament narrative."
You don't have to read all of Dale Ralph Davis' six Old Testament commentaries (although you'd enjoy them, I'm sure). In 2006 Davis produced a book called The Word Became Fresh: How to Preach from Old Testament Narrative Texts. While this book focuses on preaching the OT, it also gives a clear outline of Davis' approach to studying the OT, and I believe you'd be hard pressed to find a better overview of OT Bible study anywhere. The book is only 154 pages long, it's easy to read, but it doesn't lack depth. Check it out.
Posted by Mike Crowl at 09:13 on Monday 02 June 2008