Interpreting the Prophetic Books: An Exegetical Handbook

Interpreting the Prophetic Books: An Exegetical Handbook


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Interpreting the Prophetic Books: An Exegetical Handbook by Gary Smith

A guide for students and pastors to interpret and communicate the messages of the prophetic books well

Preaching from a prophetic text can be daunting because it can be difficult to place these prophecies in their proper historical setting. The prophets used different literary genres and they often wrote using metaphorical poetry that is unfamiliar to the modern reader. This handbook offers an organized method of approaching a prophecy and preparing a persuasive, biblically based sermon that will draw modern application from the theological principle embedded in the prophetic text.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780825443633
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Publication date: 11/27/2014
Series: Handbooks for Old Testament Exegesis Series
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 980,824
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

David M. Howard, Jr. (Ph.D. University of Michigan) is Professor of Old Testament at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN. He has published seven books and numerous journal articles, book chapters, and essays, and is a past president of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Table of Contents

Series Preface 15

Preface 17

Abbreviations 21

1 The Nature of Prophetic Literature 23

Analyzing Prophecies 24

Distinguishing Between Three Temporal Categories of Prophecy 24

Prophecies Describing Present Events 25

Prophecies about a Future Era 26

Symbolic Apocalyptic Prophecies 27

Genres of Prophecy 28

Judgment Speech 29

Covenant Lawsuit 31

Trial Speech 32

Disputation 33

Oracle against Foreign Nations 35

Woe Oracle 37

Summons to Repent 38

Salvation Oracle 39

Proclamation of Salvation 41

Sign Acts 42

Hymn 43

Visions (Prophetic and Apocalyptic) 44

The Poetry of Prophecy 46

Notice the Parallelism 46

Synonymous Parallelism 47

Antithetical Parallelism 47

Synthetic Parallelism 48

Notice the Development of Parallelism 49

Deciphering the Imagery 51

Prophetic Figures of Speech 52

Apocalyptic Figures of Speech 55

The Persuasive Power of Prophecy 56

2 Major Themes in the Prophetic Books 59

Isaiah 60

Primary Themes 60

Trust and Exalt God, for the Proud Will Be Humbled 60

Israel's True God Will Restore His People, so Put Your Trust in Him 62

The Destiny of God's Trusting Servants 63

Overall Purpose 64

Jeremiah 64

Primary themes 65

Don't Be Deceived, Repent or God Will Judge You 65

God Will Judge Evil Leaders and Deceptive Prophets 66

Restoration and a New Covenant 66

God's Judgment of the Foreign Nations 67

Overall Purpose 67

Lamentations 68

Primary Themes 68

Ezekiel 68

Primary Themes 69

Acknowledge That God Will Destroy Jerusalem 69

Acknowledge That God Will Destroy the Nations 69

Acknowledge, the God Who Will Restore His People 70

Overall Purpose 71

Daniel 71

Primary Themes 71

Hosea 73

Primary Themes 73

Joel 74

Primary Themes 74

Amos 75

Primary Themes 75

Obadiah 76

Primary Themes 76

Jonah 77

Primary Themes 77

Micah 77

Primary Themes 78

Nahum 79

Primary Themes 79

Habakkuk 79

Primary Themes 80

Zephaniah 80

Primary Themes 80

Haggai 81

Primary Themes 81

Zechariah 82

Primary Themes 82

Malachi 83

Primary Themes 83

Thematic Summary 84

3 Preparing for Interpretation 85

Know the Historical Setting 86

The Setting of the Pre-exilic Prophets to Israel 88

Jonah 88

Amos 88

Hosea 88

The Setting of the Pre-exilic Prophets to Judah 89

Isaiah 89

Micah 89

Nahum 90

Zephaniah 90

Jeremiah 90

Habakkuk 91

Joel 92

The Setting of the Exilic Prophets 92

Obadiah 92

Ezekiel 92

Daniel 93

The Setting of the Post-exilic Prophets 93

Haggai and Zechariah 93

Malachi 94

Be Aware of Ancient Near Eastern Prophecy 94

Know How to Use Textual Criticism 98

The Need for Textual Criticism 98

Identify Variant Readings 99

Identify the Best Reading 101

Know Where to Find Help from Commentaries 103

Introductions to the Prophetic Books 104

Ancient Near Eastern Prophecy 104

Commentaries 104

Preaching from the Prophets 109

Computer Resources 109

4 Interpretive Issues in Prophetic Texts 113

Prophecy: Is It Literal or Metaphorical? 114

The Literal Interpretation of Prophecy 114

The Metaphorical Interpretation of Prophecy 116

Prophecy: Is It Limited by Its Context? 120

Prophecy: Is It Conditional or Unconditional? 124

Prophecy: Is It about the Near or Far Future? 127

Difficulties Between a Prophecy and its New Testament Fulfillment 131

Double Fulfillment 132

Sensus Plenior (Fuller Sense) 133

Pesher Interpretation 134

Typology 134

Exegetical Resolution of Difficulties 135

Prophecy: Is It Always Fulfilled? 136

5 Proclaiming Prophetic Texts 141

Getting Oriented 144

Reading the Text 144

Defining the Setting 146

Appreciating the Literary Context 148

Developing a Descriptive Outline 151

Filling in the Details 153

Shaping the Presentation 155

Knowing the Audience 155

Developing a Thematic Outline 156

Identify the Main Idea 156

Introductions and Illustrations 157

Determining the Principle 159

Reflecting on the Application 160

Fit the Application to the Audience 160

Make It Theological and Practical 161

Call for Change in Thinking and Action 162

6 From Text to Application 163

Interpretation and Application: A Near Future Prophecy 164

Getting Oriented 164

Reading the Text 164

Defining the Setting 165

Appreciating the Literary Context 167

Developing a Descriptive Outline 168

Filling in the Details 170

Shaping the Presentation 173

Developing a Thematic Outline 173

Identifying the Main Idea 174

Introduction and Illustrations 175

Determining the Principles 176

Reflecting on the Application 176

Fit the Application to the Audience 176

Make It Theological and Practical 177

Call for Change in Thinking and Action 178

Interpretation and Application: A Distant Future Prophecy 178

Getting Oriented 178

Reading the Text 178

Defining the Setting 180

Appreciating the Literary Context 181

Developing a Descriptive Outline 183

Filling in the Details 184

Shaping the Presentation 186

Developing a Thematic Outline 187

Identifying the Main Idea 188

Introduction and Illustrations 189

Determining the Principles 189

Reflecting on the Application 190

Fit the Application to the Audience 190

Make It Theological and Practical 192

Call for Change in Thinking and Action 192

Glossary 193

Scripture Index 197

Subject Index 211

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