Malachi As A Model For Preachers -- By: Peter Adam
SBJT 20:3 (Fall 2016) p. 27
Malachi As A Model For Preachers
Peter Adam is vicar emeritus at St. Jude’s Church in Carlton, Melbourne, Australia where he served as vicar for twenty years. He is graduate of King’s College, London, UK and Durham University. He was the former principal of Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia. He has written numerous books such as: Speaking God’s Words: A Practical Theology of Expository Preaching (IVP, 1998); Hearing God’s Words: Exploring Biblical Spirituality (IVP, 2004); Written for Us: Receiving God’s Words in the Bible (IVP, 2008); The Message of Malachi (IVP, 2013). Dr. Adam is a founding member of and serves on the Executive Committee of The Gospel Coalition, Australia.
Is it right to look at the prophet Malachi as a model for preachers? His name means, “My messenger,” and Christian preachers today are also God’s messengers. However God has different kinds of messengers, and preachers today do not have the role of Old Testament prophets. So we need to think carefully before treating Malachi as a model preacher.
There are three reasons to follow up this question. The first is that, in the famous words of J. I. Packer, “Scripture is God preaching.”1 This does not mean that every part of Scripture comes in the form of a contemporary sermon, but it does mean that every part of Scripture is a verbal message of God. God has spoken, and the record of his diverse verbal revelation comprises the books of the Bible. God has addressed us by Scripture, and God continues to bring us the same message by the same means. We know the mind of God through the mouth of God in the words of God. There are many literary forms in the Bible, including history, wisdom, prophecy, gospels, and epistles. Prophecy, especially in the form of direct quotation of God’s words by the prophet, is in the same form as a sermon. The messenger speaks the message of God to God’s people. So there may be some things
SBJT 20:3 (Fall 2016) p. 28
we can learn from the Bible as “God preaching.”
The second encouragement to pursue a study of Malachi as a model for preachers is that the Bible includes what we call sermons. Deuteronomy includes sermons that Moses preached to God’s people before they entered the Promised Land. There are sermons in the Gospels and Acts, some preached in synagogues, and others preached in other places. The New Testament book which is most like a sermon is the letter to the Hebrews. It describes itself as “a word of exhortation,” “paraclesis,” and we find the same word “paraclesis” used in Acts of the sermon which Paul preached in the synagogue in Pisidian Ant...
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