Rhetoric & Homiletics: Adding Clarity & More Than That . . . .

toolsetAnother Useful Tool

Tools matter!

And having a name for a tool matters . . . .

“Grab that thing-a-ma-jig” over there.”
What “thing-a-ma-jig
The one with the claw teeth — looks like pliers.
     This one?
No — next to it
No, the one on the other ‘next to’ side — on the right of that one
     Oh, these — the vise-grips?
Yea — those thing-a-ma-jigs.
     Why didn’t you just say the vise-grips?

Been there?

At times I have even said something like this, “Let’s call this ‘the exhaust outlet fan‘ —  so we are both on the same page as we work this repair.

Without labels or names, it is hard to effectively communicate, — and even think clearly.

That is why we learn the names of tools in high school woodshop / metal / automotive  class.

Names help us know the difference between objects — and even ideas and concepts.


For similar reasons, you will find that the naming of “rhetorical tools” are very necessary.  There are good and persuasive reasons for establishing and using rhetorical labeling.

Aristotle wrote three books on public speaking, and he attaches all kinds of “names” and labels to rhetorical tools he introduces and/or explains — “that ‘topoi’ is the argument from the greater to the lesser.”


Here is another useful “rhetorical tool.”
We can name or label it several ways . . .

•  “It Is That, But It Is More Than That.” 
•  “More Th>n” 
•  “Part, But Not The Whole”

While working on your message or speech, you may want to . . . . .

  • add content
  • clarify
  • develop
  • illustrate
  • magnify
  • revamp
  • change-it-up
  • modify
  • reword
  • add variety

In order to do that, there are some useful “categories of thought,” which can help you do that.

Some of the previous “categories of thought”1 which have been named & delineated are . . . .

Related To, But Not Synonymous With.” 


That is necessary, but it is not sufficient.”


Here is another “useful category of thought” . . . . 

It is that, but it is More Than > That. 2

In order to make sure that the audience understands that you are not saying — what it may seem you are saying, it is useful to use the general phrase — “It is that — BUT it is more — and maybe even far more —  than that.”


For Example:


“Too often, there are those who narrow the Gospel down to the work of Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.  They focus on the idea that the Gospel is the message of God’s work of redemption on Calvary.  Their attention of some is focusedon the “penal substitution” of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.

The Gospel is that, but it is more — far more than that.  The Gospel is also about a changed life and living differently!  Sanctification or holiness is also part of the Gospel.



Calling into play this “category of thought” can help in several ways . . . .

√  It can quiet the concerns of those who are zealous to make sure that we do not ignore or lessen the message of the penal substitution of Christ. 3

√ It can give clarity to a truth.

√ It balances out truths.  It paints a fuller picture.

√ It can be used as a means of laying out how and why you are going to approach the “subject” the way you will.

√ It adds variety to the way you may often make that same point.

√ It magnifies and/or highlights the fullness of a truth

√  It is rhetorical “short-hand” for a much longer disclaimer.4


Some Alternate Wordings:

“We can agree on that, but let us also realize that it is more than that.”
“While it is that, it is far more than only that.”
“It is that, and more than that singular aspect.”
“That is clearly part of the picture, but it is not the whole painting.” 


More Than




1. Note: Such categories of thought may be seen as subsets of “differentiation.”

2. It is similar to Aristotle’s “From The Whole To One Of Its Parts” (Topoi 19)

3. I have also seen those who purposefully give the impression that they are going to seriously disagree with this-or-that viewpoint . . . . . and then say, . . . .

“I am not in disagreement with that truth.
It is that.  Let’s not miss that truth.  But it is more than that.


“There are those who are strong when it comes to pointing out that the whole purpose of Scripture is the Gospel, the work of Jesus on Calvary, the message of salvation from Genesis to Revelation, and point to examples of the work of Christ throughout the Old Testament  . . . . . — and that is needed . . . . and His atoning work and person can be seen in far more passages that we often consider.

The Gospel and the work of Christ are found throughout the Scriptures.  It is there, but there is more than that there.  The Bible is about Christ’s atoning work, but it is about more than that!”


4. Many times a “disclaimer” is used to make sure that the audience does not think you are saying . . . . .

“I can easily be misunderstood at this point in the message — on this truth and how I am stating it,”

Rather than providing extensive  “rhetorical disclaimers,” which attempt to prevent push-back, a speaker can introduce this category of thinking about it.



1 2 3 4 5 6 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.