Appeal To All Senses

Just a quick quote today, again taken from Jay Adams, Preaching With Purpose:

Most homiletics books speak about “illustrating” truth and making it “vivid.”  But those terms refer to communication by means of appeal to but a single sense: the sense of sight.  That failure, so inherent in the very single sense vocabulary of homiletics, has led to dull, lifeless preaching.  Of course, there are many dull, lifeless preachers for whom it is difficult to “paint word pictures” that appeal to the sense of sight, let alone learn to help congregations to taste, touch, smell, and even hear with the ear.

I think this is a helpful point.  Listeners have five sense and preachers can communicate to every sense by means of carefully chosen words and well-crafted delivery. I remember sitting under the teaching of David Needham, a master of using words and emotion that caused us to salivate as he described the taste, smell and sound of the golden delicious apples of his Californian childhood!

Adams goes on in the same paragraph to make the same point I want to make today.  When we appeal to the full range of human senses, we only do what the Bible does so often.  Be sure to look carefully in your preaching text for any sense appeal that is already there.  Then think carefully about your message, each detail, and how it can deliberately target various senses as you preach.

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