Rhetoric & Homiletics: Adding Clarity & Effectiveness

There are ways to increase clarity and effectiveness to the content of a sermon.  It is rarely taught in a homiletics class, and there may be a reason for that.

“Homiletics” often has a different focus.  That focus usually promotes theological accuracy.  While ensuring the accuracy of the exposition is the first priority, ensuring the communicative effectiveness of that exposition surely must be number two on the list!

Exacting quality without effective distribution is like a premier factory without a shipping dock. While the text is unmistakably understood in the study, the exposition fails to reach the minds and hearts of the listeners.

In fact, that is why some preachers and speakers are more effective than others and why some draw a far broader audience locally and nationally.  It is not that the exposition or sermonic content of this-or-that passage are much different, but that one is far more effective in driving those truths to the listener’s understanding.

There are ways to increase clarity and effectiveness.   One way is through the use of metaphors.  Having a good dictionary of “Idioms,” “Slang,” “Analogies,” or “Figures of Speech” is one of the valuable tools for effective communication.

Purchase one of these “figures of speech” dictionaries (or pull one up on the internet) and leaf through it.  You will find that your mind will spark some different ways to more effectively take that exposition from the pastoral study to the minds and hearts of the listeners.

Then, don’t stop at the metaphor; run with it a little and flesh out the imagery!


  • Tightrope walking requires an immense sense of balance because the path is extremely narrow.  The more narrow the path, the more balance is required.  It doesn’t take exceptional balance to walk across this stage.  But a balance beam takes exceptional ability and practice.
  • In a garden, flowers don’t compete!  They grow alongside each other, only seeking and bending toward the sunlight. — (“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”)
  • A performance car is different from the car you typically drive.  It is called a performance car because it is built to perform at the highest levels. The body and the engine are far different than a “stock car.”
  • Sometimes you just need to pull out a clean sheet of paper if you want to get a new mindset and way of thinking.  Pulling out that sheet of paper puts you into another gear, another mindset.  It says — Forget what you have been thinking and start with fresh ideas.
  • A skating rink with no skaters is just a large ice cube, and having a Bible and not using it is just a large coffee table roadmap.
  • Bible reading & living out its truths are ways to get immunized from today’s world of ideas.  Exposure to today’s world of ideas will not immunize you because its ideas are designed to infect, not protect.

One thought on “Rhetoric & Homiletics: Adding Clarity & Effectiveness

  1. You are back in your wheelhouse Pastor Ted

    This is where you help the dull blades the most

    You are the “wisdom whetstone” for us so keep it right here

    The dull axe!!

    Liked by 1 person

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