While you are working on your message or speech, you will find some “creative” help by listening to a good-great speaker, and the message you are listening to does not need to be even remotely related to your passage or even topic. In fact, it is best that you do not listen to such because you will be tempted to make what they are saying part of your message!
As a college and university public address professor, I can assure you that if you can pick up “plagiarism” fairly easy. With students, they are using phraseology which is beyond most beginning speech students. The form, substance, or insightfulness is just not typical of those taking “Fundamentals of Speech 101.”
When it comes to some others, if you are familiar with their speaking patterns and phraseology, you will hear them inject some “unique to them” ways of saying something. You may even say as you are listening – “That was a great statement to make – Insightful! – It really catches the mind in that it reflects the truth being taught there.” Then that may be followed by, “Great statement, but so “not typically them” in form, substance, or insight.”
If you believe that your audience does not know your typical pattern in form, phrasing, or insightful framing of an idea you would probably be mistaken. An audience who has listened to you over any period of time may consciously or subconsciously suspect – “That illustration,* insightfully stated principle**, the way of stating that point, the alliteration of the points, the term or terminology, etc. is not typically them. -??”
That is the danger of reading and/or listening to other messages on the same passage you are preaching or teaching. You may grab a terminology, a Big Idea,** a series of alliterated points, the actual wording of an illustration,* the phraseology, etc. and misrepresent it as your own.***
Nevertheless, as you are working on a message or speech, multitask! Listen to a good-great speaker on a passage which is totally unrelated to what you are speaking on.
(I know – “on which you are speaking” — You will pick up my “speaking” patterns as well and that is one of them. I do I think that “not ending a sentence with a preposition” should even matter when it comes to the rules of grammar! Likewise, I do not care about using “he” when it could be or should be “he/she.”)
As you listen to that message or speech, your mind will be stimulated to think “out-of-the-box.” You will be stimulated to think about how that speaker is approaching the passage he is speaking on. You can do “the how” – what he did – but with a completely different passage or topic — your passage or topic.
That is really what “rhetorical techniques” are all about! Listening to speakers, teachers, or preachers and grasping what they are doing — NOT what they are saying, but what they are doing with that topic or verse. The interest is not in mimicking a speaker’s words, but the thought process which he/she exemplifies, exhibits, or “exhausts” / exudes.”
It does not matter what they are talking about or what passage of Scripture they are preaching or teaching from. What matters is “the how”. How do they go about working with that passage or verse? Can I go about what I am talking about like they are? As you multitask, you will find your mind “generating” others ideas and methods of developing content on a passage which has nothing to do with his/her’s subject, theme, topic, or passage.
*There are illustrations that others have used and which you yourself might want to use. You can make your own if you will research out the details of the illustration yourself. Just recently I heard an illustration concerning Jack Eckert, of Ekert Drugs. After I heard it, I began doing some research on him and have learned a lot more than was used in the illustration. I fully intend to use his life and testimony in a message some time in the future, but after my research in reading newspaper articles, material from his foundation, etc. I have made it mine!
** BigIdeasDaily is my twitter account, which contains over 500 BigIdeas which are all my way of stating a BigIdea and passages which teach that BigIdea. There are one or two which are not mine, and I have so identified them accordingly. Now there may be a better way and surely a different way of stating any one of these BigIdeas. Feel free to do that and by so doing, make it yours. But stating it a different way does not mean going to a thesaurus and changing that one word.
i.e., Andy Stanley: “Direction Determines Destination” — That is not your Big Idea. That “phrasing” is Andy Stanley’s. You can’t just change “destination” to “destiny” and call it yours.
*** Seemingly there will always be a grey area when it comes to the use of commentaries and Bible study aids. Indeed, I imagine that all teachers and pastors reflect some of the thinking, phraseology, principles, and statements of their past seminary professors, teachers, or pastors. I certainly do. I think I would be surprised at how much I absorbed from Dr. John Whitcomb at Grace Theological Seminary. Many times one may not even remember where he heard something, but it stuck with him and in a sense has become his thinking as well.