One of my favorite genres to read within pastoral theology is books on preaching. This should come as no surprise to my readers because I love to preach and teach the Word of God. When I saw a new book Recapturing The Voice of God: Shaping Sermons Like Scripture by Dr. Steven Smith, I was excited to learn how to preach genre-sensitive, text-driven sermons that allow the structure of the text to be the structure of the sermon.
This book explores pitch, rate, and volume, text-driven preaching: substance, structure, and spirit, along with preaching and the genre of Scripture: story, poem, and letter. The rest of the book is broken up into three parts. In part one from chapters four to seven, the author considers how to recapture the voice of God in Old Testament narrative, law, Gospels,/Acts, and in the parables. In section two titled poem/wisdom, the author considers how to recapture the voice of God in Psalms, wisdom literature, and prophecy. The final section explains how to recapture the voice of God in the epistles and revelation.
The first three chapters in my opinion are the best in the book. The remaining chapters fill in the details of the first three chapters. In chapter one the author notes, “expository, text-driven preaching is not a style but a theologically driven philosophy of preaching whose purpose is to get as close to the text as possible” (1). “We speak for God because he has already revealed himself in his Son and his Son has revealed himself in his Word” (1). “This is about preaching that not only identifies what it is in the text, but re-presents it in the same way the text presented it” (7). It’s often said that the point of the sermon should be the point of the passage. I like what Dr. Smith has to say on this point when he notes the following: “Sermon shape is determined by text shape” (20). “The structure of the text determines the structure of the sermon” (21).
Recapturing The Voice of God is an excellent tool that will help seminary students learning how to preach the Word understand the relationship between hermeneutics and homiletics. This is also an excellent book for new or seasoned pastors to read to strengthen their preaching skills. Reading this book will help new and seasoned teachers of the Word to learn to handle the Word of God with care and precision. I highly recommend this book and believe it will help preachers of every age and ability to learn how to the structure of a biblical text should shape the substance and structure of the sermon.
I received this book for free from B&H Academic for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”