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Preaching from the Old Testament Prophets

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The Bibles of many preachers are well-worn and underlined except for the section between the Song of Solomon and Matthew, which remains in mint condition, gilded edges still gleaming. How can we bring the Old Testament prophets into the pulpit?

Traditionally, two paths have been taken most frequently.

First, we might trace an OT prophecy from its origins to its eventual fulfillment in history (see figure 1). The lesson is usually that the Bible is true, or that God keeps his Word. Occasionally, fanciful guesses and speculative end-times scenarios haunt this road. Another drawback is that some hearers may not see any relevance for their lives today.

Figure 1

Second, more commonly, we might focus on the sections that tell a story about the prophet's life. Here the preacher draws parallels between the life of the prophet and the lives of the hearers (see figure 2).

Figure 2

But this approach also suffers from disadvantages. In the first place, it can be overly individualistic. The Holy Spirit ...

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