USING ILLUSTRATIONS TO PREACH WITH POWER Paperback – 2 Jun 2001
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About the Author
Bryan Chapell (PhD, Southern Illinois University) is senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Peoria, Illinois. He is also president emeritus and adjunct professor of practical theology at Covenant Theological Seminary, as well as distinguished professor of preaching at Knox Theological Seminary. Chapell has authored numerous books, including Christ-Centered Preaching and Holiness by Grace.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Chapell demonstrates how effective illustrations can revitalize traditional preaching forms, thus negating the current emphasis on narrative and drama as a replacement for the sermon. His observations that intellectualism alone cannot move the human heart is a message every pastor needs to hear and understand. It is interesting to note that Chapell obverses that our preaching is more influenced by Plato than it is by Jesus, the use of illustrations is a biblical practice.
This is an excellent book at helped me in finding, preparing and using illustrations. In just reading this book and applying its principles to my preaching, the response from my congregation was evident. They liked what they heard.
Bryan Chapell says "That's wrong. Stories that amplify and bring home the truth of the Bible help ministers to preach with power. Chapell contends that we don't have to follow inductive or life situation models of preaching. We can preach expository, Christ-centered sermons and bring them to life with penetrating, life situation narratives.
He shows how there are examples of illustration all through the Bible: The rainbow illustrating God's remembrance of His covenant, the bronze snake signifying the source of pain as well as the place of healing, etc. He also shows how Jesus told arresting stories: The Prodigal Son in Luke 15, the parable of the sower in Matthew 8, and many others.
Chapell says that each move in the sermon needs an illustration. He also says that there are potential illustrations of spiritual truth in all of life.
As far as handling illustrative material, he stresses that we need to isolate a particular life experience and associate it with a truth. he says on page 94 that "If an historical event is used for illustration, it too should be presented as a slice of life with enough description of setting, drama, and persons that today's listeners can yet find themselves in that event."
He says that we should use story telling techniques, and that an illustration needs a strong introduction and conclusion just like the sermon itself.
Chapell gives a number of great examples of illustrations that the preacher will want to use him or herself someday.
On page 140-141, he warns against the temptation to make the illustration the main part of the message. He states that "snappy speech starters, canned anecdotes, and emotional climaxes do not make a sermon even of they capture and delight an audience. Only the Holy Spirit working by and with the Word of God in the hearts of men and women can effect the spiritual changes that are the mark of true preaching."
He goes on to say that "If explanation of the truths of the Bible does not have the highest priority in the pulpit, then no amount of combing through illustration files and preaching magazines can supply the material necessary to form a message worthy of the preachers' ultimate task."
There is also a chapter cautioning against taking credit for someone else's illustration, using inappropriate humor, telling outdated, worn out stories, improbable stories, or inaccurate stories, as they damage the credibility of the speaker.
Dr. Chapell concludes with some helpful suggestions toward building a personal illustration filing system.
This is a great book, and all ministers should read it.