Teaching 1 Samuel is a 360 page book written by Andrew Reid and published in 2020 by Christian Focus. Andrew received his ThD in Ridley College and has pastored several churches in three States of Australia. He is the founding Principal of Evangelical Theological College of Asia in Singapore.
1. Purpose of Teaching 1 Samuel
This book was not written primarily to serve as a commentary. Although it is based on sermons preached by Reid, the book is not a collection of pre-packated outlines and sermons. Reid's two primary goals are (1) to help readers think through how to teach the entire book of 1 Samuel and (2) to understand the individual parts of the book when they are taught.
2. Content of Teaching 1 Samuel
Part I introduces the book of 1 Samuel. The first section provides a basic discussion on the book's name and origin, its placement in the Jewish canon and Christian canon, and its genre. A brief discussion on its purpose, biblical theology, and text reliability is also provided. The second section gives reasons why teaching through 1 Samuel is a worthwhile endeavor. The third section gives several tactical suggestions on how to teaching through the lengthy book of Samuel in a limited number of teachings.
Part II covers 1 Samuel 1–8 with Samuel as the main character. Reid divides this section of Scripture into seven parts, and each part is covered by its own chapter. In each chapter, observations of the text are summarized, and its biblical theology is briefly reviewed. The text is then analyzed within the grand storyline of the entire Bible. Finally, suggestions are made on how to teach the section of Scripture reviewed in one or two sermons (teachings).
Part III covers the remainder of 1 Samuel (chapters 9–31) which covers the life of Saul until his death. This larger portion of 1 Samuel is divided into ten smaller sections following the same organization and formatting as Part II. A brief bibiliography is given in the last two pages of the book which can be used as suggested resources for further study.
3. Commentary of Teaching 1 Samuel
Having read through one other book in this series, Teaching Deuteronomy, I believe Part I of each book is the most valuable. It is the author's attempt to introduce the book and how to consider teaching a larger book of the Bible when the sequential preaching (teaching) method is not possible due to time constraints. Although most pastors and Bible teachers will likely not follow any one plan without personal modifications, books in this series including Teaching 1 Samuel provide a terrific starting point which is helpful.
The discussions of the individual parts of 1 Samuel contained in the "Text to Message" heading suggesting several approaches on how to teach 1–3 chapters into a 45 minute sermon are also helpful. The introductory material to 1 Samuel is a little more detailed than most study Bibles, so many Sunday school teachers with limited time and resources will find this book sufficient.
This book was published in 2020, but as of this review, a second book on 2 Samuel has not been published. This is unfortunate since the book of Samuel is originally one book, and many pastors and teachers will want to cover both books.
Many teachers will often want to approach a larger book like Samuel and teach through it through representative passages. In other words, it's common to want to teacher through the most important four to eight chapters of 1 Samuel. The author provides no guidance on how to do this.
4. Comparison Analysis
The Teach the Text Bible Commentaries by Baker Books serves a similar purpose to this series and has a single volume written by Robert Chisholm covering First and Second Samuel. That volume serves more like a basic theological commentary (text explanation and theological implications) and adds a few suggested illustrations for teachers. It does not provide any guidance on suggested ways one can teach through the entire book of Samuel in a limited time.
5. Final Thoughts
Teaching 1 Samuel is a unique resource for Bible teachers and pastors who desire to teach through the book of 1 Samuel. It is not a replacement for an exegetical commentary, but it is a helpful guide that assists pastors as they consider and plan a new teaching series on the book. I recommended this book to anyone planning to teach through 1 Samuel.
Teaching Deuteronomy: From Text to Message
by Andrew Reid | Christian Focus (2020)