Monday, August 7, 2017

Persuasive Language

"Jesus Christ and him crucified"
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power 
(1 Corinthians 2: 4 NIV).

The Apostle Paul had determined to know nothing but “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (v. 2).  Some of us use persuasive language based the wisdom of man, instead of the power of God (v. 5).  It is fine to use your eloquence to communicate the Gospel better, but it is not acceptable to use the Gospel to demonstrate your rhetorical skills.

Paul’s message was God-center and not man-centered.  He sought only to glorify Christ.  Some of us in our public speaking like to use ten-dollar words.  Impressive words that may or may not communicate to our audience.  These expressions may indicate that the speaker is smarter than others, but do they actually make those with whom he speaks smarter?  It is not as if Paul was not a skilled speaker.  He “determined” (v.2) to know nothing among them and to not come with “superiority of speech.”  The Greek culture of the day valued philosophy and human wisdom.  Paul valued divine insight.  His enemies, both inside and outside the church spoke contemptuously of him.  For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive, and his speaking amounts to nothing” (2 Corinthians 10:10 NIV).  The strategy of the enemy of the Gospel has never changed.  Smear the messenger to discredit the message.  

What was Paul’s response to these accusations?  He let the truth speak for itself.  He didn’t try to be more eloquent with impressive words.  He proclaimed the simple message of the Gospel and allowed the power of God to validate his message.  In the end, this is the most persuasive of all language.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing

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