Clarity is all about bridging a gap!
Teaching is about bridging the gap between the audience’s current understanding or knowledge of the subject matter, and the new ideas/applications you’re presenting.
This gap exists in all teaching, but the gap is especially difficult in preaching.
The Bible has several unique difficulties:
- Cultural – It was written 2,000 to 3,000 years ago in the Near Middle East.
- Translation – It was written in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic.
- Big Picture – Most people don’t understand the larger story of scripture. Therefore, to some extent everything is understood outsider of the greater context
- Preconceived Notions – Since Christianity is common in our culture, people hear a sermon with preconceived notions about the subject. They interpret and misinterpret what you say based on these notions.
The role of the preacher is to find a way to sort through all of these difficulties and bring clarity to the new content and ideas.
Listen to Others
One of the reasons I frequently listen to other preachers when developing a sermon is that I want to know how they articulate ideas. A well crafted phrases is not only memorable but gives new insight and clarity.
The danger of poor clarity is misunderstanding
When we do a poor job of being clear, people leave confused and with misunderstandings. Sometimes this is fairly harmless, but other times you can send people down the entirely wrong path theologically.
The Good News
While we need to strive for clarity, we’re not all alone.
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.