The Sermon as Symphony: Preaching the Literary Forms of the New Testament

by Mike Graves. Judson Press, 1997.

Examining ten literary forms in the New Testament (including parables, aphorisms, and pronouncement stories), the author proposes that sermons be prepared as “regenerations of the textual event.” Mike Graves uses the metaphor of a symphony to discuss how preaching can be shaped in light of the New Testament’s literary forms and their moods. The thesis: form-sensitive sermons, unlike traditional sermons, should seek to be more experiential than expository. Key questions: What is the text saying? What is the text doing? How can the sermon 'say' and 'do' the same thing? Replete with exercises, the volume illustrates the use of literary forms in sample sermons by some of today’s best-known preachers: Eugene Lowry, Barbara Brown Taylor, Thomas Long, William Willimon, Frederick Buechner, Thomas Troeger, and Donald Musser. A substantive 289-page book with notes, this work will serve those seriously interested in creative and faithful biblical preaching.