Biblical Preaching – Appeal to Curiosity

The next appeal that Koller speaks of in his book How To Preach Without Notes is the appeal to Curiosity. This is a “susceptibility to that which appears novel, unfamiliar, or mysterious.”

Koller sees it as primarily an appeal to the imagination. Because of this, it has “suspense and anticipation” built into it. Koller notes that even Jesus used this appeal. For example, when Jesus told Zacchaeus, “I must stay at your house.” (Luke 19:5). Or when Jesus told Nathanael, “I saw thee before you were under the fig tree.” (John 1:47).

Koller notes that this appeal is susceptible to abuse. This abuse may come from “irreverance” or “dishonesty.” Examples of this can be seen in our recent post on sermon titles. Part of the problem with some of these is both irreverence. But a more fundamental problem is the dishonesty of some of the titles. These titles often have nothing to do with the sermon and thus are dishonest about the sermon contents.

Preachers must take caution not to fall into the traps, but after having done that, preachers should make use of this very effective appeal that even Jesus used.

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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.

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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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