This helpful guide to 1 Kings is part of a series published by Christian Focus in conjunction with the Proclamation Trust. It is mainly designed for expository preachers or small group leaders intending to teach the book consecutively. It would also be useful for any intending to use it in daily devotions.
There is a much smaller introductory volume, Introducing 1 & 2 Kings, which is reproduced almost word for word in this larger book. The author, Bob Fyall, trains preachers with the Scottish Cornhill training course.
The book is well organised. After an introduction, the author divides 1 Kings into manageable units. Each unit is explained and followed by ideas for application, possible sermon outlines and questions for discussion. This is bound to be helpful for anyone planning to preach through this often neglected book.
There are several pitfalls when preaching on the books of Kings. One is that we just pick out our favourite passages. This book, however, encourages us to take the whole of 1 Kings seriously.
Another hazard is to fall into simple moralising (‘David did well, so imitate him’ or ‘David did badly, so don’t imitate him’). The opposite danger is that, in our eagerness to point to Christ, we fail to apply the teaching to ourselves at all. The result can be a series of almost identical sermons (‘This king did badly, but the good king is coming’ or ‘This king didn’t do so badly, but an even better king is coming’). The author seems to steer a middle path between these two extremes.
This is a helpful book to read alongside the excellent commentaries by Dale Ralph Davis. However, the wise words in the introduction of the book need to be taken seriously: ‘We are great believers in every preacher constructing his own outlines, because they need to flow from our personal encounter with God in the text’ (p.14).