The final source of Biblical Preaching is imagination. Charles Koller notes that imagination alone can turn a dull sermon into one that comes alive. Imagination helps you create connections between the past and the present in interesting ways. Koller notes that while it is powerful, one should take pains not to abuse it with attempts to be clever. In addtion, any conjectures or additions to the text should be identified as such to the people.
Expression of Imagination
Koller notes that imagination is expressed in a few ways:
- Visualization – This is the portrayal of insicdents in a dramatic way. You can often find details in the text which people often overlook. One might look at our series on preaching with stories.
- Supposition – Here you create a incident to illustrate the point rather than attempting to find a true one. Once again, Koller says that we must make clear to the people what we are doing.
- Parable – Jesus used this very frequently. Koller notes that we must be sure to make clear the difference between facts and fiction.
- Figures of Speech – Koller notes a few of these that we can make better use of. Simile Here you make a comparison using the imagination. Instead of the Hudson River is like the Rhine you could say the Hudson Rivers flows like the march of time. Analogy this is an extended simile that looks at the resemblance between the things. Metaphor Here you say something is the thing that it is compared to. So we are the salt of the earth. We are not literally salt, but we have characteristics of it. Personification – This is an interesting one. Here you apply characteristics of humanity to objects that are not a part of the human family. For example when the “stones cry out.”
Preachers must use their imaginations in sermons. God has called us to worship him with our whole being, certainly it includes the imagination. I agree that merely appealing to it will make any sermon more effective.