Home > Commentary, Kregel > Interpreting the Prophetic Books by Gary V. Smith

Interpreting the Prophetic Books by Gary V. Smith


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. -From the Publisher’s website

Why should you read this book?

The prophetic books of scripture are rich with imagery about how God deals with the nations and His people. If we study these books, we will gain a fuller picture of our great God. Unfortunately, the prophetic books can be difficult for the modern reader to understand. We need to learn how to interpret the difficult prophetic passages.

So we turn to a seasoned interpreter, Gary Smith. Dr. Smith helps us with many of the hurdles that we encounter as we read the prophetic texts. This book addresses such issues as: the genres of prophecies, poetic expression in prophecy, parallelism in prophetic literature, and imagery in prophecy. The author also helps us by pointing out the major themes in the prophetic books.

Dr. Smith  equips the reader by giving us a tool box of interpretation with the goal of proclaiming the text. We are taught how to benefit from learning about the historical setting of each book. The reader is taught how to identify variant readings and choose the best reading. Dr. Smith also includes a listing of useful commentaries on each of the prophetic books. We are also guided through interpretive issues such as: literal or metaphorical, contextual, conditional or unconditional, and terms of fulfillment. The reader is then taught how to bridge the gap between interpreting and proclaiming the text. Dr. Smith illustrates this process by giving us two example texts with their interpretations and applications.

Who will benefit from this book?

Pastors, teachers, and students will all benefit greatly from this handbook. Some handbooks are cumbersome and unwieldy. This book, coming in at around 200 pages, is immediately useful and accessible. I learned much in my first reading and intend to return to this volume as I read and study through the prophetic books. My reading of these passages has gone from apprehension to delight as I have learned how to navigate and interpret these precious writings. I am grateful to Dr. Smith and Kregel for this excellent volume in the Handbooks for Old Testament Exegesis series.

Book Details:

  • Author: Gary V. Smith
  • Publisher: Kregel Academic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Page Count: 224
  • ISBN#: 9780825443633
  • List Price: $22.99

About the Author:

Where to Buy:

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Categories: Commentary, Kregel
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