"As I Ought to Speak" - Biblical Dynamics for Preaching and Teaching (Part 1)

Just as we seek to discover our hermeneutical method from the pages of Scripture and to apply those principles consistently, we also need to recognize that Scripture has much to say regarding how we should communicate God’s word to others. These principles even go so far as to help us think through the appropriate dynamics of communication.

Keep it as Simple as Possible

In John 16:29 the disciples acknowledged that Jesus was speaking plainly or boldly (parresia), rather than with figures of speech, and they responded, “Now we know…” They were not confused about His message, and understood what He was telling them. While certainly there are appropriate uses of figurative language and illustration, it is generally better to communicate simply and straightforwardly in order to ensure the point is not lost in translation through the use of too many rhetorical devices.

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The Biblical Difference Between Preaching and Teaching

The Greek New Testament uses many different words to describe distinct methods of communicating. There are thirteen hundred and twenty-nine references in the Greek New Testament using forms of the word lego, which is to say or speak. Two hundred and ninety-six times the word laleo is used, denoting saying orspeaking. One hundred and nine times parakaleo is used to reference exhorting, urging, or encouraging. Ninety-seven times didasko or teach is employed. Sixty-one times we find kerusso, which is typically translated as preach or proclaim.

Fifty-four times euangellizo appears, sometimes translated as preach, but referencing specifically the telling of good news. Eighteen times katangello is utilized (all in Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Philippians, and Colossians) to denote speaking out or intently proclaiming. Seventeen times elencho denotes rebuking or correcting. Thirteen times dialegomai is used to describe of a process of engagement and participating in dialogue. Ten times reference is made, with the word apologeomai, to making a defense. Ten times suzeteo is used to reference arguing or disputing. Nine times parresiazomai is used for speaking boldly. Three times diangello communicates a speaking through or giving notice. There are other communication words used in the Greek NT, but these verb roots (and their represented forms) make up the vast majority.

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