Book Review: Toward an Exegetical Theology

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Kaiser, Walter. C. Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1981. 268pp. $30.00

Introduction
Being one of the most respected scholars in evangelical circles, Walter C. Kaiser Jr. is uniquely qualified to write a book on biblical exegesis for preaching and teaching. He is the Coleman M. Mockler distinguished professor of Old Testament and president emeritus of Gordon Conwell. He also served as president of this institution from 1997-2006. He has taught at Wheaton College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has authored over 30 books and has contributed to many publications and journals. He has been recognized within the evangelical community as one of the leading proponents of the necessity of proper exegesis. His passion for preaching and biblical exegesis are brought to bear in this volume that promises to be a referred to resource for years to come. Readers of this book will appreciate the practical guidance received from reading it. Summary

There are two main sections to this book along with an introduction and conclusion. In the first two chapters he introduces the work with an overview of current issues in exegesis. In this overview he looks at various writers from the 17th up to the middle of the 20th century. The main question he is seeking to answer is, "Can we as interpreters understand the writer better than he understood himself" (34). In chapter 2 he provides a definition and history of exegesis. In this chapter he shows the importance of exegesis as a method but also the importance of carrying that exegesis through to its logical conclusion which is the preparation and delivery of the sermon. Chapter 3 begins the first major section dealing with the syntactical-theological method. He breaks this syntactical-theological method into five areas of analysis. These are contextual, syntactical, verbal, theological, and homiletical. The chapter on context analysis deals with four levels of context. These are sectional, book, canonical, and immediate. The chapter on syntactical analysis focuses on the grammatico- historical method of interpretation. This means the text should be interpreted based upon the laws of grammar and the facts of history (87). Chapter five deals with verbal analysis and the importance of interpreting the word meanings according to the idioms of the day in which the author was writing them. Chapter six focuses upon theological analysis and argues the point that only material written before the passage under consideration can be used in interpreting that particular passage. This according to Kaiser is a key element in the syntactical-theological method. His discussion of homiletical analysis in chapter seven deals with what he calls "principlization." Here he shows how what has been gathered in the former stages of analysis should be arranged for understanding by the intended audience. In the second section of his book he deals with three types of literature. These are prophecy, narrative, and poetry. His concern is how to use each genre in expository preaching. He gives abuses and features of each type of literature. He also offers advice that is helpful in discerning relevant implication for the modern day that does not do harm to the original intention of the author. His conclusion draws attention to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the exegetical process. He mentions four powerful aids the Holy Spirit provides if preachers are to prepare and preach with power. We need the spirit of knowledge, wisdom, freedom of utterance, and supplication and holiness. Critical Evaluation

There are many helpful portions of this book. His section in chapter four dealing with what he calls, The Syntactical Display of a paragraph is extremely beneficial. He advocates the use of a "block diagram." The text is written out in natural order with each syntactical unit isolated on a separate...
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