“How to use your expertise to illustrate”

Tuesday Teaching Tips, Episode 134

My friend Alex Clegg spoke last Sunday for the Thames Valley churches of Christ (tvcoc.org).
He began his sermon with an illustration claiming that 2=1.  He then proceeded to demonstrate how he arrived at that so-called truth, followed by revealing the algebraic mistakes he had made. In doing so he used an illustration which was authentic, personal and effectively introduced his central concept – that of not overcomplicating things. He used his degree in mathematics to good effect. Do we use our areas of expertise effectively in our sermons and lessons?

There are 127 verses specifically about music in the Bible. As a musician, I wonder if I use my expertise in this area as much as I could? Certainly my experience would mean that a verse like the following could be brought more to life:
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18–20 NIV11)
Then, how about the prophet Amos?  He was a shepherd, and used his background in his teaching.
  • “The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa” (Amos 1:1 NIV11)
  • “the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the top of Carmel withers.”” (Amos 1:2 NIV11)
  • ““As a shepherd rescues from the lion’s mouth only two leg bones or a piece of an ear, so will the Israelites living in Samaria be rescued, with only the head of a bed and a piece of fabric from a couch. ”” (Amos 3:12 NIV11)
  • “Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees.” (Amos 7:14 NIV11)
Questions for us to consider before using our area of expertise:
  1. Will it clarify?
  2. Will it confuse?
Confusion is acceptable as long as it is temporary and resolves helpfully.
Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the YouTube teaching tips playlist.
Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
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Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.
God bless,
Malcolm

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.