Black Preacher as a Student of Words

In the Class Preaching in the Black Tradition, I saw one of my classmates, Rev. John Cox, with a hand held computer. I saw he had a hand held Bible in one hand and one of those computers in the other. He was punching things into it. I asked him after class, what is that computer? He told me that it was a dictionary, thesaurus, and word game program.

He went on to say that every time he sees or hears a word that he doesn’t know the definition of, he looks it up. Over time his vocabulary improves and thus so does his preaching. In another post I wrote about the importance of rhetoric to the black preacher and the Black sermon, but I only hinted at how one improves one’s rhetorical skills. Rev. Cox definitely provides such a way, always look up words you don’t understand.

In addition, I would suggest that one works through some of those vocabulary building books. I am currently using Word Power Made Easy. Black Preaching is about rhetorical power, without a knowledge of words you will not be as effective as you would otherwise be.



Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

Posted in blog, Preaching Methods

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Revised Common Lectionary
Proper 14 (February 26, 2017)
  • OT: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
  • Psalm: Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b
  • Epistle: Romans 10:5-15
  • Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
Af Am Heritage Lectionary
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