Rhetoric & Homiletics: The Topoi Of Fullness

old phonograph

One of the most valuable classical concepts is called “topoi.”  Much has been said about this concept already. [1]



There is an interesting trend today to go back to “phonograph records.”  Why go back?  The record player seemingly enriches.  It offers a fuller and more real sound . . . . 

“To music purists, the next best thing to attending a live concert is to hear music on vinyl records. It may be outdated to most people, but vinyl possesses a more “real” sound than CDs or digital downloads. . . Despite being easily scuffed, scratched, warped and a bit costly nowadays, vinyl’s analog imperfections add warmth and crackle to sound, making it “more real” for some listeners. . . . The charm of vinyl records, for aficionados, lies in the return to a “live feeling,” thanks to the traditional recording method. Sound is spread by vibration of air and simulated as current, which drives the magnetic head on a record.”

Likewise, in developing a biblical concept, “fullness” crowds the reality with yet other examples. It paints in yet other elements and/or examples in order to flesh out the listener’s understanding. As you work your way through a passage of Scripture, this is another one of those mental-mind generating-rhetorical-homiletical concepts that need to be considered a potential means of sermonic development.

The topoi of fullness is a way to drive home, amplify, and hammer home a simple concept, truth, or principle. When you do this, the truth is not merely repeated, the truth is not only clearer, but it is augmented and heightened. The concept or truth is colored in and brightened so that it is heard and seen in all of its fullness.

Here is an audio and video clip of Dr. Steven Smith (an outstanding preacher and speaker).  He exemplifies the “Topoi of Fullness.”

Audio Clip Link:  Emmanuel 10-25-2018
Video Clip Link:  
Full Message YouTube Video Link – About 25 minute mark

the one that takes the
most vulnerable ones and takes the
expectant mothers and takes the most
vulnerable sheep and he lifts them up
and it draws him to himself and he
protects them
now notice something very
interesting it’s it’s the same arm
is the same arm
there’s an arm in verse 10
and an arm in verse 11
so that same arm
that fights for us is that same arm that
picks us up and draws us to himself and
his heart
the same arm that holds the
sword is the same arm that holds the
it’s the same arm the same little
chubby arm that squirted out of the
swaddling clothes and
making the involuntary
movements of a baby
it is the same arm that
would come and put its finger in the
face of the Pharisees and tell them to
back off in defense of those who were
the same arm that reached
out and took a cup of water for a woman
who had been sexually involved with six
different men and he said to her look
your sins are forgiven
it’s that same arm that would go to the
cross and die for her was the same arm
the same arm that holds the sword is the
same arm that holds the sheep
it’s the same Jesus
it’s the same arm 


1. Other previous posts on topoi:

Topoi:  Becoming An Idea Generator
Topoi: The Topoi of “Place”
Topoi: In It Alone
Topoi: A Critical  Concept Part #1
Topoi: A Critical Concept Part #2
Topoi: Topoi of Process
Topoi: Topoi of Responsibility
Topoi: Vertical & Horizontal
Topoi: Another Topoi: The Missing Link
Topoi: Another Topoi: Contributed or Caused
Topoi: Another Topoi
Topoi: Another Topoi: Definition
Topoi: Here But Not There
Topoi: The Extremes
Topoi: Reality
Topoi:  AnotherUseful Topoi
Topoi: Critical To Options
Topoi: The Motive
Topoi: Intentional or Accidental
Topoi: Degrees
Topoi: Where
Topoi: What
Topoi: Unless

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