Recapturing the Voice of God: Shaping Sermons Like Scripture

by Dr. Steven W. Smith. B&H Academic, 2015.

God reveals God’s self through a variety of genres in the Bible. This book by a veteran preacher discusses three: Story, Poetry, and Letters, and explains how to shape a sermon that honors each one’s particular voice. For example, when preaching on a biblical story, one asks how it fits into the larger story, and why it was written. A sermon based on a story makes the most of the narrative form that saves the ending for, well, the end. On the other hand, the Psalms and other poetry are “micro-expressions of deep, inexhaustible truths” that defy easy interpretation. Smith counsels the preacher to let the listener engage the emotions of the Psalms rather than attempt to tie up loose ends. Preachers who want to explore the potential of using the text’s literary genre as a framework for sermon preparation will appreciate the insights and guidance Smith provides.