Original Research

The preaching of the Greek church fathers

Abraham van de Beek
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 1 | a2650 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i1.2650 | © 2020 Abraham van de Beek | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 June 2020 | Published: 17 November 2020

About the author(s)

Abraham van de Beek, Department of Beliefs and Practices, Faculty of Theology, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and Department of Systematic Theology, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa


This article deals with the preaching of the Greek church fathers. Genres, themes and hermeneutics are discussed. It appears that not only the biblical text, but also historical events are considered as messages from God and have to be interpreted in order to understand their meaning. A remarkable paradigm shift occurred in the 4th century when the church became a dominant cultural and political factor. In the early period, the preaching focused on Christ, glorious in his suffering. After the transformation under Constantine, themes of worldview and even submission to the emperor became the subject of preaching. Preaching, which supported existing political powers, replaced the early Christian view of life as strangers on earth. In the last section, the relevance of this for preaching in the 21st century is discussed.


preaching; Greek church fathers; Christology; context; paradigm.


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