Another Topoi: Here, But Not There . . . .

Not here

In a couple of messages by Clay Smith, two interesting rhetorical techniques can be illustrated.  The first one was . . .

#1) Creating A Useful Shorthand Expression

#2) Topoi: “Here, But Not There.”

In another message, Clay Smith highlights another “topoi” which we could call — “Here, But Not There.”

The transcribed portion illustrates the actual “topoi” — (the audio clip is slightly longer so that you can hear the context of the transcription below).

(audio clip link) — From “Two Mile Growth by Clay Smith — this clip begins at the 15-minute mark of the full message.


Now think about it.  If you go down to our nursery – you see a bunch of cute little babies drinking out of a bottle – and it is cute.


If you saw a twenty-year-old drinking out of a bottle — it is creepy — Amen


Same substance, but you’re twenty years old!



P.S. — The last statement (“Same substance, but you’re twenty years old!”) is also a great additional variation that can be used to frame this “topos” — (We will illustrate that particular variation in example #2 below).

Now, what Clay could have done is “run with it”* a little more!  Nevertheless, the “topos” is illustrated and once it is quantified or “templated,” it can be used over and over at different times and with different passages of Scripture.

Remember, “Topoi” work as mental “places” (which is what the word means) where your mind can go to add content, develop an idea, create a Big Idea, drive a point, frame a point, etc.


The Template:

Here it is _____, But NOT there!


Here it is ______, But there it is _____.



Here it is cute, But not there!

Here it is cute.  There  — It is creepy!

Here it is cute.  There it is NOT!

There it is understandable, but not here (flipping the “here-there”)

Here it is cute, Not then / when / if!

It works (here / when / if), but it does not work (there / when / if)

It is right and proper in this setting, but not when . . . .

Then, Not Later

Then, Not Now

When ____ it is what we do.  But that is not what we do when . . .

In this (setting / person / circumstances) it is (good, appropriate, proper, expected, normal, moral, understood), but not in this (setting / person / circumstances)


Examples:  Let’s give it a try off the cuff!

#1) Jealousy is good when it comes to the things of God (here), not when it comes to recognition of others (not there).  Saul was jealous because David’s name was where he wanted his to be . . . .

#2) Anger which is righteous is acceptable (here), but not anger over a personal slight (not there).  It is the same emotion, but not the same motivation* (same substance).

#3) For Abraham to struggle in his trust of the Lord in the early years of his sojourn is understandable (then), but not when he goes back down to Egypt again and states that his wife is his sister (then-later).  And for you, in the early years of your Christian life, to struggle . . . .

#4) Contentment would be a hard word for Paul when you look at all the situations he had to endure and navigate through (there), but not for us who are Christians in 2018, living in America (here).

#5) It was completely new for the Jews to think that the Gentiles would be part of the program in light of their religious prejudices (there), but prejudices after 2000 years are not only sinful but incomprehensible (here).**

**Now each and any of these can be fleshed out further, exemplified by one or two examples from the Scriptures, illustrated in real life, etc.   You can run with the content further than my purposefully short examples above.



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