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Preaching Christ from Genesis Paperback – June 25, 2007
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— Fuller Theological Seminary
"Sidney Greidanus has been one of the most gifted advocates of 'redemptive historical' preaching, and in this book he provides yet another important resource for bringing that perspective to bear on the life and mission of the church. In a time when there is much confusion about what it means to preach in fidelity to the Scriptures, we very much need the lessons that he offers us here."
— Covenant Theological Seminary
"In his earliest work more than three decades ago, Sidney Greidanus helped revolutionize evangelical homiletics by demonstrating how Genesis 3:15 discloses the theme for all preaching in the Bible's earliest pages. . . Now in a culminating work of his career, Greidanus shows not only how Genesis 3:15 sets the theme of Scripture but also how the entire book of Genesis structures God's agenda and our understanding of Christ's redeeming work. This is a master stroke from one of the seminal thinkers and writers in homiletics."
Calvin Theological Journal
"A book for every preacher's library. Not only will it help you preach many Christ-centered sermons on Genesis, but also its repetition of fundamental insights and skills will help you develop homiletical muscle memory that will hopefully transform you from workman to an artisan, from a duffer to a Tiger."
About the Author
- Publisher : Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; STIFF WRAPWS edition (June 25, 2007)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 536 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0802825869
- ISBN-13 : 978-0802825865
- Item Weight : 1.7 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.14 x 1.1 x 9.21 inches
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The author is professor emeritus of homiletics at Calvin Theo Sem in Grand Rapids, MI. This particular book is the first one by him that I've reviewed. He has other books on Homiletics/OT.
He discusses basic homiletical issues in a readable and succinct method that is a great refresher for most pastors. He lays out seven methods for preaching Christ from Genesis. These methods do have some overlap in some cases (for example-typology can have NT references also), but still they are distinct ways to preach Christ. He fleshes out these ways quite well.
They are 'redemptive-historical', promise-fulfillment, typology, analogy, longitudinal themes, NT references (my favorite), contrast. He gives about a half page on each one of these ways to preach Christ. He then goes on to lay out a case for why pastors should preach from Genesis, noting that it is often avoided. Then he gives about 30 some pages on hermeneutical issues.
After this introductory material (45 pages or so) he goes on to cover 24 passages in Genesis. They are sequential as they appear in the book.
For each story his format is:
1) Summary introduction
3) Literary Features
4) The Plot Line
5) Theocentric Interpretation
6) Textual Theme and Goal (often with ancient historical links to the very most relevant Ancient Near Eastern literature we have)
7) Ways to Preach Christ (with a mini set for each of the seven ways)
8) Sermon Theme & Goal
9) The Sermon Form
10) The Sermon Exegesis (5-10 pages on the pericope)
Please don't let point 7 on that list get past you without grasping it.
Let me illustrate it a bit to drive home the unique and powerful thing he has woven into this 580 page book.
Greidanus works through each of the seven ways to preach Christ from that text, exploring advantages and potential pitfalls for them as they come up. I had expected he would give the best one for each passage, but he gives you up to seven options on ways to preach Christ from each passage. Sometimes a way doesn't work for a passage. For example in Gen 25:19-34 we have a passage on Jacob and Esau. He works through almost a page on Redemptive-Historical Progression, three lines on Promise-fulfillment, states there is no Typology in this passage, gives a paragraph on Analogy, about a half page on Longitudinal Themes, two paragraphs on NT References, and five lines on Contrast. So it seems that the seven ways are customized in their material based on the nuances of using each method (and it's complexities or potential pitfalls) for each particular story (remember he does 24 stories). That is a lot of thinking from a lot of different perspectives! It gives you the pastor/preacher/bible teacher new perspectives on every passage and helps you think through new ways to preach Christ (without getting into the land of scripture twisting and heresy). This is just a GREAT book!
After 24 sections like this, the book ends, but includes some Appendices in the back. The first one has 10 steps from text to sermon. The second one has an exegetical sermon model (this just tells you what to do in each part of the sermon. The last appendices offer actual sermons by the author using his method.
Another thing that this commentary offers, that many I reviewed do not have, is a grasp of many of the chiastic structures in Genesis. For example, he sees a Chiasm in Genesis 2:4 ff, and other chiastic structures. He also identifies ancient historiography in his introduction noting especially the patterns in numbers for various elements of Genesis.
Overall, this is exceptionally readable, a fantastic aid for sermon preparation. The subtitle is accurate "Preaching Christ From Genesis" 'Foundations For Expository Sermons'. He does the best job of laying foundations for exposition that I've seen in any commentary for any book study in my library (I have hundreds of commentaries). It is important to note that this book lays foundations. It doesn't do all the work for you. For example, when looking at the NT references to the Cain/Abel account, Greidanus does not draw the deeper Christological implications out. He simply says that one must make sure the preaching connects to Christ when using the passages. He cites the references, but often does not connect the dots. I would like to see more on this point in the commentary, perhaps a paragraph or two of specific pointers. For example, how does the 'way of Cain' which is referred to in the NT references commenting on the Cain/Abel account, how does the 'way of Cain' interfere with or stand in opposition to the 'way of Christ'. He doesn't get into these sort of details at all. If there is one criticism of this book, I would say it is that he doesn't deal with the implications and contexts of the NT references at all. The problem with that is that the very way to preach Christ sometimes lies in the context. In the Jude 1:11 reference we see that the antidote to the 'way of Cain' is a few verses later when we are told to keep ourselves in the love of God as we wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring us to eternal life. And so there is a direct link between Christ...preaching about Christ with an eye towards His return and the 'way of Cain'. A failure to explore the relatively sparse NT references to each account does lead to a failure to grasp what I would say are the deeper or perhaps more stunning Christological implications of each account in Genesis. Because the theological beauty of these points are so great, it's disappointing to see no effort to go there. But I cannot fault Greidanus for this. His book is about foundations, not advanced implications. Yet I wanted to see something towards these deeper implications.
I think this volume should be seen as a companion to works like Victor Hamilton's NICOT or Bruce Waltke's Commentary on Genesis. See my listmania for Genesis Resources if you want my top five resources on Genesis. This volume is not meant to be a full technical commentary. So with that in mind, I think the author has hit a 'home run'. It goes with me where-ever I am during my Genesis sermon prep. I don't think you'll be sorry if you order this one.
What Sidney Greidanus has done so well is to have boiled the technical bits down to what is useful for preaching and used them to inform his exposition. Put simply, he saves the busy preacher a lot of study time. This is not a book full of sermons like you would expect from 'Preaching the Word' or the 'Reformed Expository Commentary.' Here, much of the relevant information is laid out in an organized way to help us write our own. I find this method refreshing and it does a great job of filling the gap between technical and expository commentaries.
I look forward to using Greidanus' volumes on Daniel and Ecclesiastes in the future.
I will return to fill in this review after I have used the book more thoroughly.