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WHEN: A Second Method Of Magnification

There are a number of ways to magnify a point, a concept, the use of a word, or an event within a passage.  As we have seen, Pastor Paul Tripp illustrates how to do this by pointing to “who.”

That is not the only way to rhetorically magnify.

One can also go “when” . . . .

Sample Statements:  These statements are designed to highlight “the when” technique of rhetorical magnification.

  • “Do you realize when this is happening?”
  • “When this is happening – will make all the difference!”
  • “Dismiss “the when” – and you lose the strength of what is being said.”
  • “Why are these words so startling?  It is because of when they are being said.”
  • “This decision to do this is remarkable.  Not because others have not made the same decision, but because of what is happening when the decision is made.”
  • “This is not the word I would have used if you consider when it is being used.”
  • “It is easy to apply this truth in our lives, but when you are experiencing the actual storm on the sea, it is more difficult to say this.”

A simple example of magnifying by “the when” could be illustrated if one were preaching on the book of Ruth.  The book of Ruth takes place “when”?

√  during the days of the judges

√  when there was no king over Israel

√  when every man did what was right in his own eyes

“The decision that Boaz made –  and many other made — and Elimelech did not make – was to trust God and stay in Bethlehem.  That decision to stay was made when few would have judged others for doing what Elimelech did.  It was the days of the judges.  Leaving was an easy decision.  Staying and trusting through a famine was not.”

Another simple example of magnifying by “the when” could be illustrated if one were preaching from the life of Joseph – or Daniel.

√  during the teen years of life

√  when he was away from the influences of family

√  when he had been treated unjustly

“Not giving in to the temptations of the day can be advantaged by a good family, a local church, a youth group, godly companions, a proper attitude about the trials of life.  But when Joseph made his decision about Mrs. Potiphar, he had none of those.”

It is not that speakers do not already use this technique, but they may not use it consciously, understanding that they are magnifying an event, word, truth, application, passage, or person.

It is as one is consciously aware of what they are doing that they are able to purposefully apply the concept at times, other than when it just happens to come to mind!

Other Sample Applications:

“Job is saying this when he has already lost his wealth, his children, his health!”

“Peter is saying this, not when he was walking with Jesus and pledged that he would die before he would allow anyone to hurt, harm, or kill his Lord.  He is saying this on the shores of the sea of Galilee, after the resurrection.”

“Peter has different words from those on the Mt. of  Transfiguration.  When he was on the mount he said ______, now he says in II Peter1:16-17.”

“When Jonah was in the Great Fish he finally admitted that, “salvation was of the Lord,” but now in chapter four it is much like it was when it all began.”

In An Application: “You may say this now, but the real test will be when you are in the trial — can you say it then.  Will the when be then?”

“When does God’s grace come?  When you are weak, not when you are strong.  The when matters when it comes to grace.  Don’t try to imagine if you could make it when the when has not arrived.”

A preacher/teacher can interject “when” and thereby magnify . . . .

  • the importance, or
  • the gravity, or
  • the urgency, or
  • the passion, or
  • the inconsistency, or
  • the irony

. . . . of a person’s words or actions, the use or importance of that word, the strength of that verse, etc.

This rhetorical technique is designed to add “weight.”

The speaker is rhetorically . . . .

  • highlighting
  • underlining
  • laying out in bold print
  • capitalizing
  • accenting
  • intensifying

a “point,” a truth, an action, a person, a time, a need to, the inclusion of this word, etc.



Note: We have looked at — magnifying by “who” and “when.”  Obviously, one might well anticipate that there is a “what” and “where.”  Sometimes these words overlap in a particular context . . . .

“Notice what is happening as Joseph flees immorality.  Joseph is made the household manager.  What has happened is that he has become a trusted servant of Potiphar.   What has happened is that he has found himself in a position of trust . . . .”

This could be considered is very close to “when” — “Notice when Joseph makes this decision to flee in his life.  When he has been appointed the manager over all  of Potiphar’s household.”

“Look at when it is happening”       vs.      “Look at what is happening”

Nevertheless, there is a difference and all four can be used both in “wording” and should be considered in “thought” as one works on a message.  Sometimes “what” or “where” works better in verbally pointing to it, and/or seeing it, as well as in generating the content easier.

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