Book-Level Meaning: A Neglected but Essential Tool for Preaching

In the realm of homiletics, much attention is given to the understanding of the particular details of a passage, as well as how that passage speaks Christologically, within its canonical context. While these are needful elements of the hermeneutical and homiletical enterprise, one must also understand a passage within the context of the book it is contained in. Book-level meaning allows authorial intent to be guarded at the macro-level, considering not merely a passage or chapter, but how such a unit of thought fits within the entirety of the author’s distinctive approach and argumentation. This article will contend that book-level meaning serves as a key hermeneutical tool that should be used in preaching in ways that are exegetically faithful and witness to Messiah and our calling to follow him in accordance with the author’s intent