Interpreting the Major Prophets for Preaching: A Renewed Emphasis on the Prophetic Call and the Prophetic Voice -- By: Gary A. Galeotti

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 13:1 (Fall 1995)
Article: Interpreting the Major Prophets for Preaching: A Renewed Emphasis on the Prophetic Call and the Prophetic Voice
Author: Gary A. Galeotti


Interpreting the Major Prophets for Preaching:
A Renewed Emphasis on the Prophetic Call
and the Prophetic Voice

Gary A. Galeotti

Professor of Old Testament
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC 27587

When one considers the major prophets1 and how one should preach their prophetic message, the question of what has happened to the prophetic voice comes forth. The prophetic voice was a voice that trumpeted the Word of God with overwhelming clarity and conviction. The prophetic voice was marked by authority and power.2 The true prophets were outnumbered by the false prophets who spoke what the people wanted to hear. The life of a true prophet, according to Heb. 11:32–38, was marked by difficulty and suffering. The prophetic ministry in Judah had become a professional institution which operated in and around the cult. Economics and politics influenced their ministries. In spite of the efforts of the false prophets and priests, the corrupt leaders of government, and the people in the land, the prophetic voice was maintained through God’s faithful servants.

The ministries of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel spanned the time roughly from the last half of the eighth century through the first half of the sixth century B.C. All three were prophets to the Southern Kingdom. Isaiah prophesied to people who refused to see and to hear. Jeremiah faced such strong opposition that he eventually struggled with his calling. Ezekiel endured the hardships of captivity and even the sudden loss of his wife. Through all of their sufferings they faithfully served the Lord. Some of the greatest messages of hope recorded in Scripture were written by these men. How did they do what they did? The answer to this question in many ways serves as the primary key for interpreting and preaching the major prophets. The answer is found in the fact that they were called by God. It is their calling that produced the prophetic voice. The same pressures of their day are present today. The prophets are being preached “on credit” when one’s calling takes second place to one’s professional skills, methodology, and style. This article is written to renew the biblical emphasis upon the prophetic call and the prophetic voice that it produced.

Some Preliminary Concerns for Interpreting and
Preaching the Major Prophets

In order for the importance of the call of the prophet and the prophetic voice that it produced to be appreciated, the prevalent way of interpreting and preaching the prophets must first be considered. Mu...

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