Illustrations, Eloquence, and Humor in Preaching
A Lecture on Sermon Illustrations, Eloquence, and Humor in the Pulpit
The preacher must freely preach the word of God in a way that is natural, yet prepared. In this sermon titled “Illustrations, Eloquence, and Humour,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones addresses the preacher’s need for freedom in the pulpit. On one hand, some preachers are bound to a manuscript and never make eye contact with his people. On the other, the preacher is unprepared and forgets what he intended to say. He argues for a well-prepared outline. Additionally, as the man prepares his sermon, he must consider the use of illustrations. Many preachers focus heavily on stories as their sermon becomes nothing more than an exegesis of their own illustrations. The illustration in a sermon must never be an end to itself. They must be used carefully and minimally, only to illustrate the truth of Scripture. Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues his lecture with thoughts on eloquence and humor. While the apostle Paul was eloquent, eloquence was never his goal. We should be wary of preachers who are more concerned with how something is said rather than what is said. The same applies to humor. A humorous individual will certainly, and naturally, use humor in the pulpit. But this should never become the goal in preaching.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.