Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 20, 1968

The Way They Said It

Cecil B. Douthitt

Not only the things spoken will make believers, but also the way those things are spoken.

In lconium Paul "so spake that a great multitude both of Jews and Greeks believed (Acts 14: 1). He "SO spake". This shows that his speaking in the right way had much to do with the number of believers made.

The way Jesus spoke, as well as what he said, caused the officers to fail to arrest Jesus as they had been ordered to do. They said, "Never man so spake" (John 7:46). The manner in which he spoke could cause men to fall backward to the ground as well as what he said (John 18:6). "He taught as one having authority"; the Jewish scribes did not. (Matt. 7:29).

In order to make believers in the word of the Lord, preachers should speak with certainty and conviction. If they speak in a way that indicates they themselves are not quite sure they are right in what they are preaching, they may create doubt instead of conviction in the minds of the listeners.

"The Way That Is Right and Cannot Be Wrong", was a favorite subject of gospel preachers a few decades ago, and nobody concluded that they thought something else might do as well as the things they were advocating, and they made many believers.

Soon after finishing high school a young man began to preach and his progress was manifest to all (I Tim. 4:15) throughout his first four years in college. But by the time he had acquired his Ph.D degree he had read so many theories, opinions and philosophies of men he was not right sure about anything and his lack of conviction showed in his sermons, and he was no longer able to lead as many people to the Lord as when he first began. His preaching had become too much like the man whose subject was "Repentance." After reading his text, Luke 13:3, he said: "This passage seems to indicate that the Lord would like for men to repent in a measure, or they might to some degree be lost so to speak and perhaps go to torment to some extent." That kind of preaching does not create very much fear of hell.

Paul preached and wrote with conviction and certainty. He said: "I know him whom I have believed" (II Tim. 1:12). Again, "And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good" (Rom. 8:28). Also, "For we know that if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God" (II Cor. 5:1).

After receiving his first letter or treatise from Luke, Theophilus could know the certainty concerning the things wherein he had been instructed (Luke 1:1-4).

A preacher should speak loudly enough to be heard clearly under all circumstances. This does not mean that as soon as the preacher gets in the pulpit he should pitch his voice four octaves above high C and continue to yell at the audience in that monotone like he was calling hogs or driving a yoke of oxen. If he would give more thought to his delivery and learn to modulate his voice, he would not tire his audience out in ten minutes. A failure to do this may be the reason why some churchgoers are requesting sermonettes.

The truth always must be spoken or written in love (Eph. 4:15). Love is more than a mere sentiment or emotional attitude; it is a philosophy — a rule of life that urges a person to do that which is best for the object of his love rather than what might be the most pleasant. A mother sometimes spanks her child, not because that is the most delightful thing she could do, but because she thinks it is best for the child whom she loves.

Jesus always spoke in love. He sometimes rebuked because the good of men whom he loved required it. He loved the scribes and Pharisees, and therefore he said what they needed to hear in the manner in which they needed to hear it (Matt. 23).

In our study of what to say, let us remember that how we say it is of no little importance.

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