Puzzling Over Word Puzzles
“Dave, I just read an article about preaching that says that we need to be simpler and clearer than Jesus. He used too many stories and riddles. This method is too tough for audiences today and stories and parables obscure our message. What do you think?”
Steve Nicholes, the director of the Word of Life Bible Institute in South Korea, asked me this question as we were eating lunch together when I was teaching Ecclesiastes on Jeju Island. I haven’t been able to get his question and the article pushing a “keep it simple and clear” method of preaching out of my mind.
Captivating intro, big idea, three points, and a close—isn’t this a lot better for audiences today than Jesus’ tough figures of speech and parables?
As I read Solomon’s introduction to his book on wise living, I notice that he agrees with Jesus. Right up front he tells us we are going to have to put on our thinking caps if we are going to figure out his proverbs and the tough word puzzles he’s going to throw at us.
“To understand a proverb and figurative expressions, the words of the wise and their tough word puzzles.” - Proverbs 1:6
LORD, I need your Spirit to give me insight to solve the word puzzles presented in Proverbs and help me to realize when I’m teaching that my students are smarter than I think. They need to be captivated by some tough word pictures and puzzles. It’s the word pictures that get under our skin and into our lives.
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