My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:4
Alan came to me for advice on how to deal with his fear of public speaking. Like so many others, his heart would begin to race, his mouth would feel sticky and dry, and his face would flush bright red. Glossophobia is among the most common social fears people have—many even joke that they’re more fearful of public speaking than of dying! To help Alan conquer his fear of not “performing” well, I suggested he focus on the substance of his message instead of how well he’d deliver it.
Shifting the focus to what will be shared, instead of one’s ability to share it, is similar to Paul’s approach to pointing others to God. When he wrote to the church at Corinth, he remarked that his message and preaching “were not with wise and persuasive words” (1 Corinthians 2:4). Instead, he’d determined to focus solely on the truth of Jesus Christ and His crucifixion (v. 2), trusting the Holy Spirit to empower his words, not his eloquence as a speaker.
When we’ve come to know God personally, we’ll want to share about Him with those around us. Yet we sometimes shy away from it because we’re afraid of not presenting it well—with the “right” or eloquent words. By focusing instead on the “what”—the truth of who God is and His amazing works—we can, like Paul, trust God to empower our words and share without fear or reluctance.
What has prevented you at times from sharing the truth of God with others? How can Paul’s approach embolden you to share the gospel?
Father in heaven, thank You for revealing Yourself to me through the Bible and those You put in my life to share with me. Please help me to share with others, trusting You to empower my words.
To learn more about public speaking in ministry, visit odbu.org/ML111.
In the Roman world of first-century Corinth, the threat of a state-ordered crucifixion was meant to shame, intimidate, and deter anyone who challenged the authority of the empire. So only in light of credible evidence for Jesus’ resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1–7) would Paul’s emphasis on the way Jesus died have deserved a hearing. Even then, such a death would be good news only within a bigger story. According to Jewish Scripture, the God of creation promised that a wounded child of Eve would defeat the serpent of Eden who’d planted seeds of doubt about the goodness of the Creator (Genesis 3:1–15). Only with the news of Jesus’ willingness to die a criminal’s death would God show how far He would go to expose His enemy, bear the consequence of Adam’s sin (1 Corinthians 15:22), dethrone the rule of death (vv. 12–58), and show how much He loves us.