Something To Say?

Something To Say?

The ancient philosopher, Plato stated,

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.

Having been a Bible teacher for nearly four decades, I can readily admit that there is a certain arrogance associated with teaching the Bible. Webster defines arrogance as:
an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.

All teachers, whether secular or religious, share some common beliefs that the material they are teaching:

is being presented to someone who wishes to know the material
is currently unknown or misunderstood by most
has some innate value to the audience

Going by Webster’s definition, it can easily be seen that the teacher believes he or she has material that is currently superior to what is possessed by the audience. To state that another way, there is little to be gained by offering inferior materials to any audience. If you do not believe that the material you are wishing to present is superior in some way to what your audience already possesses, then you should be a student, not a teacher. Thus, the writer/speaker/teacher believes he or she knows something that others do not, or at the very least, has a better understanding of that material. Additionally, the teacher expects the material to be both learned and applied. These thoughts are what bring me to the keyboard today.

Do You Have To Say Something?

You do not have to travel far on the Internet to find some folks who feel they have to say something...anything. The spectrum is a vast ocean of plutonic utterances that may possibly be entertaining, but fall woefully short of being of any real, lasting value to people who partake of those compositions. These types of communications, regardless of the medium in which they are discovered; Internet, Facebook, texting, books, magazine articles, etc., all share a common source of origin; recognition.

Some people want recognition, others need recognition, and still others crave it. Regardless of the degree of recognition sought, those who “have to say something” do so to gain that element of recognition. I am not saying that these are bad people, nor are they necessarily egocentrics. But what is said by them is to boost, or magnify, or bring focus upon themselves. They are not teachers.

Do You Have Something To Say?

For the pendulum to swing the other way, you really need to be able to take yourself our of the equation. If you have something to say, then your material is not going to cause people to focus on you, but rather on the material you are presenting. I will admit that there is no way to completely disassociate yourself from your message, after all, it is your hand or your voice that is doing the communicating. Therefore, in the final analysis, you will be associated with your message, that is inescapable.

But when your audience comes to the end of your message, will they be thinking more about you; what a clever fellow you are, or will they be thinking more about your message? Will the words of your message shine more light on you as the author/speaker, or on the truth(s) that you want people to embrace?

Five Minutes
Before you even begin to write or speak, you should honestly pass judgment on your own knowledge and understanding of your topic. You should carefully consider what you are trying to get across to others. I try to judge myself by the five-minute test. Am I capable of speaking on this topic for five minutes with the world’s leading authority on the subject (whatever that subject may be)? If I can honestly answer, “Yes,” then I may have something worth passing along to others as a benefit to them. If I am struggling to make a meaningful presentation from a plethora of mere words, I take that as a sure sign I need to research or study my topic a little more. At the very least more prayer is definitely required.

How Will It Help
Even passing the five-minute test is no guarantee that what is intended to be offered is going to be helpful. How do you anticipate the material being helpful? Will the material encourage, inspire, educate, train, correct, or admonish those who read it or hear it? Do you expect the material to be as beneficial in a year, or five years, or twenty years?

Offer people something that they can use for a lifetime. If you want people to learn it, then make it worth their while to learn it. Make everything you communicate as timelessly meaningful as possible. While people might like the latest fads for keeping milk fresh longer, or how to get whiter whites, when the topic turns to things that affect people as they really live, the desire for the flashy and innovative is obscured by a need for that which has been proven effective over long periods of time. A verbal or written parade of the latest buzz words is a waste of everyone’s time.

Teach The Entire Crowd
School teachers, college professors, and even some business settings deal with respective audiences of roughly the same genre. But get a group of churchgoers together and the teacher’s job increases dramatically. You only find third graders in a third grade classroom, but there are all ages and all levels of Christianity represented in most church services.

Assuming you truly have something to say, you should be able to reach the entire audience. You must stimulate the thoughts and desires of every reader or listener to be better; from the least to the greatest. For that reason, you must have something worthwhile to say, or it will either never be received, or it will be abandoned all too quickly for something that is worth holding onto.

Practice The 3 T’s

The three T’s are very simple:
Tell them what you are going to teach,
Teach them what you said you would, then
Tell them what you have just taught them.

Do not try to set an ambush for your audience with a blockbuster revelation that completely catches them off guard. Antics like that serve more to generate questions than to minister answers. Let the audience know from the very beginning what your teaching plan is so they can prepare themselves to receive that well prepared lesson/sermon.

Do Not Be Lukewarm

If you come across as lukewarm in your lesson/sermon you will most likely be perceived as someone who “has to say something” rather than someone who “has something to say.” If you are not excited or enthusiastic about what you are teaching, then why should your audience be excited or enthusiastic? Where are they going to get that excitement? Certainly not from you. Why should they bother to learn it?


Whether you are delivering your message to a secular audience, to your home church, or something in the middle, prayer can make all the difference between a good message and a fiery crash and burn. This should be a given for any Christian, but too many try and tough through it on their own without inviting (or expecting) input and direction from the Holy Ghost.


I ended with prayer above so that I could make it the first thing in my concluding remarks. I will invite you to start recognizing that prayer is asking for and expecting a miracle. If you do not need a miracle, then you can do it yourself. If you can do it yourself, then stop being lazy and go do it. But if you cannot do it yourself, then you need outside help, and God is still in the miracle-working business. And if you think for one minute that you can capture the hearts, minds, and imaginations of an auditorium full of people on your own, I want to be there for that event. Pray! Pray fervently! Expect God to work that miracle for you. Only then will you be ready to share the truth and the revelation of your message.

Decide right now never to be just “someone who has to say something.” Decide that you will always present relevant, meaningful, timely material to your audience, knowing that your message/lesson will better the lives of people who take it to heart.

Never forget to tell them what you are going to teach, then go ahead and teach them what you told them you would, and finally tell them what you taught them.

Be excited about your material. I do not mean the sidelines cheerleader sort of excited either. I am talking about the sort of excitement you would have if you had just discovered the cure for cancer. You would be excited about that, I know. You would want others to take your message seriously and apply it to their lives. You know if you discovered the cure for cancer that your material would be superior to all other material, because you have the CURE for cancer, not merely a treatment. That kind of excitement!

We all like listening to and reading people who have something meaningful to say. Be wise.

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