One of the goals of preaching is to make truths and principles clear.
“A wooden key is not as beautiful as a golden one, but if it can open the door, when the golden one cannot, it is far more useful.” — Augustine
In an article, titled, “Clarity in Your Christmas Preaching,” by Dr. Matthew McKellar, Associate Professor of Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, states, “Preach the Word at all times and preach it with clarity—especially at Christmas!”
At times preachers and Bible teachers need to be reminded about “the simplicity of the Gospel.” — Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so!
Likewise, sermons on any particular passage can become more complicated than is necessary! There are many biblical accounts which present a simple truth which becomes far more complicated than it need be, and for reasons which may be related to the speaker presenting it — but that is a topic for another time.
“Some preachers have the instinct of aviators — they announce a text, taxi for a short distance, then take-off from the earth and disappear in the cloud. After that, only the din of exploding gas is heard, signifying that they are flying high, very high above the heads of their hearers. ” — The Puritan Pastor
Clarity is accomplished in a number of different ways . . . .
- choice of vocabulary
- unity of the message
- the use of conjunctions which are indicators of flow
- restatement and repetition
- explaining terms
Here is another method for adding clarity which can be called “Breakout.” It is a method for defining a term.
Clarity Using “Breakout”
“Breakout” means — “To be separable or classifiable into categories, as data.”
i.e. — We are going to “breakout” into interest groups.”
i.e. — “That is an excellent breakout by cost.”
Another way of saying that, “Let me break it down for you.”
(audio clip of Tony Evans, On The Resurrection For Here & Now — Ephesians 1@ the 18:40 minute mark )
The book of Hebrews says
that when Jesus rose from the dead
and was ascended to heaven,
He sat down – on the right hand of God.
He didn’t sit down cause he was tired.
He sat down because He was finished.
While a speaker could run with that “breakout” or clarifying distinction further than Evans did in this message* . . . .
i.e., “You see, sometime people sit down because they are exhausted; they are tired. They have come a long way and expended a lot of energy, and sitting down looks really good to them at this moment.
At other times, a person sits down, not because he is tired, but because the task is finished. If there was still more to do he or she would continue working because it is not a matter of energy, but of completion. . . .With Jesus, the reason He sat down was because the work was completed fifty days ago on Calvary. Now He is ascended and is seated!”
. . . . the value of such a comment because of the clarity it provides can be grasped immediately.
NOTE that Evans does not contrast to different terms or synonymous words.
Rather, he “breaksout” two possible causes or purposes for the same “action term” — sitting down.
One purpose-cause of sitting down is “weariness.”
Another purpose-cause of sitting down is “completion.”
Evans is clarifying by breaking out the different causes or reasons for an action!
Because the rhetorical technique of Evans can be quantified, a preacher, teacher, or speaker can duplicate it. A speaker can point to other “actions” which are mentioned or highlighted in Scripture and add clarity by addressing the different and distinguishing causes for such an action or actions.
*Tony Evans does take the concept and runs a little further with it as an application. He goes on to exhort THE LISTENERS “to relax” “to sit down” since everything has been done for you.
“Don’t preach above people’s heads; the man who shoots above the target does not prove thereby that he has superior ammunition. He just proves that he can’t shoot.” — James Denney