What can a preacher learn from a novelist? What specifically can we learn from Earnest Hemmingway? The Preaching Today Blog picks up this interesting question.

There are two primary things that the author notes that he learns from Hemmingway. First is Hemmingway’s question for love and deep healing. The second is his effectiveness in communication.

Hemmingway, according to the article, painted vivid pictures with strong words and analogies rather than cleverness. He used “concrete terms rather than depending on adverbs and adjectives.” The author of the article states:

For example, he used “climbed” instead of “went up,” and he described blood as “dripping” and “pattering.” Hemingway also created simple but pointed analogies. For example, he writes: “The drops fell very slowly as they fall from an icicle after the sun has gone.” That analogy is short yet thought-provoking.

Then the author suggests that you go through your manuscript and edit it for rhetorical features. In my own free ebook You Can Preach, I suggest that you have at least 3 major edits of your final mansucript. One of these is the “Rhetorical Edit.” Go through your sermon line by line seeking to make your manuscript sing.

What can we learn from great novelists? That words matter, use them, and play with them. Great preaching comes from effective use of words.

1 thought on “Learning to Preach from a Novelist

  1. Roger B. Abuloc says:

    Most sermon writers are also like a novelist. Their description of time and space in the Bible must be bursting with vivid pictures as in 3D of present day movies. Very powerful words that can move the imagination of the congregation. Not for show but rather to exegete more deeply the truth in the Bible.

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