Suggest Two, Shoot Down One . . . .

knock down one 1   Adding Emphasis

The pastor said this (in a message on David’s sin with Bathsheba) . . . .


When you read this account and see what has happened, many of us would say that this chapter in the life of David is shocking and sudden!”

It is shocking  —  but it is not sudden.



He then went on to make the point that even though it was indeed shocking for David, a man after God’s own heart, to get caught up in adultery, it was not sudden.


When he said that, it caught my mind.  Obviously, as I listened to that I went “analytical.”  What did he just do?


Now, remember, a speaker does not need to know what he is doing in order to be able to do what they are doing.  The speaker may not be able to explain what he just did, but that does not mean it was unintentional.  Whether it be . . . .

  • the natural creative thinking processes of a speaker’s mind
  • hearing this kind of comment  (even used in a completely different context)
  • passively picking up the idea while reading, listening, or during an informal conversation
  • hearing it up while listening to a message about another biblical character
  • supernaturally given the thought by the Spirit of God
  • hearing this identical comment made by another speaker (another whole other question as to whether this would then be considered “plagiarism” or not)

. . . . the thought came to his/her mind during preparation or delivery.  It was said intentionally, but perhaps not consciously.

It is by understanding a rhetorical technique that one can use it intentionally, consciously, and repeatedly.


Once we understand the rhetorical pattern, we can

  • use the same statement were we to preach this same passage
  • use the same statement when preaching about other biblical characters which reflect the same downward progression
  • use the same technique, but with other words (other than “sudden” and “shocking”)


The Rhetorical Pattern:

The pattern is simple and involves two steps . . . .

  1. characterize a statement, action, reaction, response, activity, decision, etc. with two terms
  2. knock down one of those two characterizations or terms


Rhetorical Technique: Suggest Two – Shoot Down One


Other Mind Generating Templates (The examples below these will help):

Some might read those words and conclude — That was a ____ and ______ statement.  It was ____, but it was not _____.

You might see (biblical character) as _____  and  ______.  He/she was ______, but he/she was not ______.  Rather he/she was ________.

As you read the account, it may seem that (biblical character) is _______.  He/she is ______, but he/she is not ______ and the proof is seen in the fact that ________

(biblical character) comes across as a _____adj______   _____noun_____.  The (adj) is (true-clear-obvious-there), but the (noun) is in serious question.

This may seem to be a daring example of great faith.  It is daring, but it is not great faith.

Some Other Actual Biblical Examples Using These Templates:

Here goes . . . .

Some might read those words and conclude, That was a bold and convicting statement which Samuel made to Saul.  It was bold, but it was not convicting.  Saul quickly deflects the potentially convicting nature of Samuel’s words and says . . .

You might see Jonah as disobedient and stubborn.  He was disobedient, but he was not stubborn.  He was prejudiced

As you read the account, it may seem that Orpah is committed to Naomi and only turns around because she is persuaded by the words of Naomi.  She is persuaded, but not committed.  The proof is seen in the fact that Ruth heard the same words from the mouth of Nami and was not persuaded because Ruth was the only one really committed.

Simon, the sorcerer, comes across as a carnal believer.  The carnality is obvious, but the word “believer” is in serious question.

When you read those words, you think Saul was desperate and irrational — going to the house of the witch of Endor!  It was an act of desperation, but Saul did not see it as irrational.  In his mind this was rational.  When we get desperate, the irrational becomes rational to us.

This may seem to be a daring example of great faith.  It is daring, but it is not great faith.



The speaker then when on to say . . . .


There was a progression which led David down this path which first began with not being where you are supposed to be – “when kings go forth to battle” (II Samuel 11:1),

to idleness,

to seeing,

to an inquiry,

to ignoring sobering words (“the wife of Uriah”),

to the request,

to adultery,

to cover up,

to murder.

It was shocking, but it was not sudden.

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