Judges: A Theological Commentary for Preachers by Abraham Kuruvilla

Book cover

Judges: A Theological Commentary for Preachers engages hermeneutics for preaching, employing theological exegesis that enables the preacher to utilize all the units of the book to craft effective sermons.

This commentary unpacks the crucial link between Scripture and application: the theology of each preaching text, i.e., what the author is doing with what he is saying. Judges is divided into fourteen preaching units and the theological focus of each is delineated. The overall theological trajectory or theme of the book deals with the failure of leadership in the community of God’s people. (Since God’s people are all called to be leaders in some arena, to some degree, in some fashion, the lessons of Judges are applicable to all Christians.) The specific theological thrust of each unit is captured in this commentary, making possible a sequential homiletical movement through each pericope of Judges.

While the primary goal of the commentary is to take the preacher from text to theology, it also provides two sermon outlines for each of the fourteen preaching units of Judges. The unique approach of this work results in a theology-for-preaching commentary that promises to be useful for anyone teaching through Judges with an emphasis on application.

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Forty years ago, I suggested that when Western evangelical Christians read the biblical book of Judges they are looking in the mirror. The way Christians have taken on the characteristics of the modern ‘Canaanite’ culture, with its fertility gods and the accompanying gross ethics, in the intervening decades, renders this interpretation even more appropriate today. Abraham Kuruvilla offers a sensitive literary reading of the text of Judges, astute recognition of its theological message for ancient Israel, a frank portrayal of the spiritual and character flaws of the major characters in the book in contrast to the patience and faithfulness of God, and a forceful declaration of the timeless message of each pericope. With his appeal for a christiconic reading of Judges (Christians are called to be Christlike), he shows preachers how to make sense of this book, but especially how to relate its message to the world in which we live and the alternative world Christians are called to represent. Given his clear focus on helping preachers, this is one of the first books anyone preaching through the book of Judges should get.”

Daniel I. Block
Gunther H. Knoedler Professor Emeritus of Old Testament
Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois

Abraham Kuruvilla has provided a wonderful, concise, and very readable commentary. Based on solid exegesis of the original text, this commentary makes the literary form and message of the book of Judges accessible, and demonstrates in clear fashion how to preach the different sections of the book faithfully and effectively. Anyone who wants to preach the book of Judges will want to consult this fine volume.”

K. Lawson Younger, Jr.
Professor of Old Testament, Semitic Languages, and Ancient Near Eastern History
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois

Preachers shy away from the Book of Judges. After all, it is smeared with blood and littered with dead bodies, making one wonder: What relevance does this book have for modern readers? Abraham Kuruvilla takes on the challenge of answering this question. Utilizing a carefully conceived interpretive method, he develops the theological focus of each pericope as a vital step in moving toward the sermon. In the process he demonstrates the book’s relevance for Christians. I heartily recommend this commentary.”

Robert B. Chisholm, Jr.
Chair and Senior Professor, Old Testament Studies
Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas

This innovative theological commentary, organised around pericopes that constitute natural preaching units, is obviously written very much with the expository teacher/preacher in mind. With astute observations about the text that readily lend themselves to homiletical applications, and broad suggested preaching outlines that closely reflect the theology of the text, Kuruvilla’s commentary will prove to be a valuable resource for the expository teacher/preacher.”

Gregory T. K. Wong
Associate Professor of Old Testament
Evangel Seminary, Hong Kong, China

My own experience with Abe’s previous writings—his first-rate scholarship leading to deep and satisfying preaching—made me eager to read this, his latest work. And once again, Abe gives us the combination we want—solid exegetical theology that results in accurate and relevant preaching. We wish Abe good health and God-speed on this ‘long-term endeavor’, so that he may continue to provide us with the kind of commentaries we need.”

Donald R. Sunukjian
Chair and Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership
Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California

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