Improving Storytelling in Preaching Step 1 – Sensory Exegesis

African American Preaching is about encouraging the people to have an encounter with the Bible story. How do you do this? How do you strengthen your storytelling ability specifically for preaching? In the next 5 posts, I will present Rev. Martha Simmons’ steps to help preachers “tell the story.” These steps are from her and Henry Mitchell’s book entitled Study Guide to Accompany Celebration and Experience in Preaching.

The first step is to look at the passage of scripture as if you were walking in the text. Look at it like a movie. Be sure to look at the parts that have to do with the senses.

In your exegesis, you should exegete it using your senses. You do that by looking at the text for these different characteristics.

  1. Color – What are the colors in the text?
  2. Size – What are the sizes of things? How tall and big was Goliath really? How can you incorporate that fact into your storytelling?
  3. Shape – Mitchell and Simmons note that the tares and the wheat have the exact same shape, thus it is very difficult to tell the difference. Are there other shapes in the text.
  4. Smells – Can you smell the pig stie that the prodigal son was about to eat in? If not, then you are not ready to preach it.
  5. Textures – Does the fact that the cross that Jesus was placed on was rugged and not smooth make any difference in your preaching of the text?
  6. Sound – Listen to what is happening in the text. Listen to the roosters crowing. Listen to the calls in the text.
  7. Tastes – Think about the different taste of wine from the beginning of the Marriage feast and at the end.
  8. Other Sensory Data – Recognize, for example, distance. You also might be able to recognize temperature and humidity.
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