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                                                               Illustration for Sermons

                                                                                                                                       Dr. Richard Park

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Why should we use illustrations for our sermon? According to Augustine, preacher has to please audience. Illustration can make the message clear, ease congregation, and the truth impressive. Also illustration makes preaching interesting, sermon remembered, and help to persuade people. Through illustration repetition of the same truth and word is possible without weariness. This is why we should spend some time to make our sermon interesting with illustration.

 Mark 4:34 says, "Jesus did not speak to them without a parable..." Jesus never preached without using parable which is “like” to connect the truth of heaven to the earth. What is it like?

However we should know that bible is 1/3 illustration sources with readings (newspaper, books etc) and experiences (conversation, observation etc). Illustrations consist of mainly three: word, sentence or paragraph. One word can be illustration as image: “It is like sun. Without sun we can’t live…” Biblical verse or one sentence: “Life is short” “Love your enemy!” Paragraph of story is also part of illustrations. Illustration use the word “like” or implicit “like-is.” When we make illustration we should be careful for these possible mistakes:

1.     Don’t make a rule that each sermon must contain a given number of illustrations, and don’t illustrate the obvious.

2.     Don’t glorify yourself.

3.     Don’t use illustrations that steal attention from the sermon theme.

We don’t need to make illustration all the time with certain number. It can’t be none or little if the message has its own power. Illustrations come behind explanation and before application. We don’t need to make illustration in every sermon the same way.

We are living library. First focus on getting message by prayer and bible. In the meantime you can get some illustrations of inside bible or outside bible. Keep writing and collecting them until Saturday from Monday when you finish flower preaching and manuscript. Live with the sermon and you can throw your net and will catch a lot of fish(illustration) throughout whole week till Sunday. Listen to your mind and memory!

Ask Holy Spirit how to make parable to please them and ease them! Even for illustrations ask help to Holy Spirit and your own soul and mind and memory!

Now let us read this article "Illustraciones para sermones y el uso de fuentes de consulta." This is very well written article about illustration. I was impressed with it.

And then let us discuss about this article:

1. What did you learn from reading this article?

2. How can you find illustrations particularly?

3. What was problem when you search illustration?

4. Do you agree that we need illustration in our sermon?

5. How do you use bible as illustration?


1. W.E. Sangster, The Craft of Sermon Illustration, Baker Book House:

Grand Rapids, 1951

2. Clarence S. Roddy, "Illustraciones para sermones y el uso de fuentes de consulta,"

Diccionario de la Teologia Practica: Homiletica, Libros Desafio/CRC:

  Grand Rapids, 1976