A speaker can use prepositions to change-up or frame the way an idea is communicated.
I was reminded of this as I was listening to a speaker, who made a mistake in what he was saying. He quickly corrected himself because what he said was not what he wanted to say.
We all know that is true when it comes to the definite article “the.” Jesus is not “a” way, but “the” way.
Likewise, a preposition can change the meaning of a sentence and therefore it can also be used to frame an idea, make a point, push an illustration, or establish or state the Big Idea.
Prepositions Defined*: “A preposition sits before a noun or a pronoun to show that word’s relationship to another nearby word.”
“Preposition: shows a relationship between its object and another word in a sentence”
“A preposition introduces a prepositional phrase. . . . ‘He was sitting on the chair.'”
There are 150 different prepositions of which the list below includes some of the most common used in the English language.
aboard about above across after against along amid among around as at behind below beneath beside between beyond but by concerning considering despite down during except excluding following for from in inside into like near of on / onto opposite outside over past regarding round save since than through to / toward under unlike until up upon with within without
Just like conjunctions, these words have been purposefully “added” to our language (and other languages as well) to speak of a relationship. With conjunctions, you highlight a flow of thought — “But” speaks of apposition, whereas “Rather” speaks of a choice.
With prepositions, when you change the preposition, you change the relationship. That change can be used to drive, illustrate, frame, contrast a thought, build a Big Idea, or make a Big Idea stickier.
Let me give you an example of how you can inject some variety, change, punch, color, or attention in a speech using prepositions.
You can walk away from that, or you can walk away with that. You can walk away from what God is saying in the only book He has written, or you can walk away with that truth and let it beginning changing your life.
“You can walk away from that truth today — or you can walk away with that truth today. If you walk away from it _____, but if you walk away with it, it can / will change your life.”
Another example using “trials” as the object/”subject”
— using prepositions of place – “in & under” —
You can be in a trial, or you can be under a trial
You can be in a trial – between trials – or in front of a trial.
Another example is from Paul Sheppard (to and for). . . .
“You need friends not who are go to you, but who are good for you”
Another example from Andy Stanley (through and by). . . .
“Every single people group, or every ethnic group, would be blessed through you — not conquered — that’s what everybody else would try to do — but would be blessed — and not blessed by you — because Abraham was an old man and he knew he did not have enough time to get around and personally bless everyone — but God said, Abraham through you everyone one will be blessed — through you.”
Andy Stanley: Right In The Eye — Can Anyone Be That Stupid
The Big Idea: “God is not trying to keep something good from you, but to give something good to you.”
Stephen Rummage Message on Acts 20 – “How To Make Your Life Matter”
The Big Idea: Your Life Matters To God, But Not Every Life Matters For God (@ 7: 45-minute mark)
“If you can’t thank Him FOR it, then thank Him IN it.”
“Every life matters TO God and Every Life Should Matter FOR God”
“Discipline isn’t what you do to a child. It is what you do for a child.”
“There is a constant battle IN my heart, FOR my heart” – Jim Cashwell
“You may be knocked DOWN, but not knocked OUT.” — Tony Evans
“Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego were not delivered FROM, but He came IN”
“Don’t run FROM God, run TO God.”
“You may be going INTO it, or you may be IN it, or you are coming OUT of it.”
“He is a comfort TO you, so you can be a comfort THROUGH you.” — Tony Evans
“Affliction — Some caused BY us — Some done TO us.” — Tony Evans
“God must be free — to work IN us — before He can work FOR us.
Our prayer is, God work for me — change my situation.
Go says, I hear you, but I can’t work FOR you — Until you let me work IN you.
Because I’m trying to do something IN you, so that what I am doing IN you can show up OUT of you.
But if I can’t work IN you, then I have nothing to produce OUT OF you.
So If I let it pass through my fingers, and get to you — then let me do what I’m trying to do IN you, so that it’ll show up out of you, when I have worked through you.”
— Tony Evans — “The Purpose of Pain”