Since the rise of the “New Homiletic” a generation ago, it has been recognized that sermons not only say something to listeners, they also do something. A truly expository sermon will seek not merely to say what the biblical text said, but also to do what the biblical text did in the lives of its original audience.
In Preaching the New Testament as Rhetoric, MacBride looks how at the discipline of rhetorical criticism can help preachers discern the function of a New Testament text in its original setting as a means of crafting a sermon that can function similarly in contemporary contexts. Focusing on the letters of Paul, he shows how understanding them in light of Greco-Roman speech conventions can suggest ways by which preachers can communicate not just the content of the letters, but also their function. In this way, the power of the text itself can be harnessed, leading to sermons that inform and, most importantly, transform.