Observations on life; particularly spiritual

Posts tagged “communication

Mind the gap

gap-4-cropped-400px“Mind the gap” is a warning phrase to take caution while crossing the spacial gap between a train doorway and the station platform. It’s used by many train and rapid transport systems. This gap is wider at stations with curved platforms, which increases the likelihood of passengers or luggage falling into the gap between the train and the platform.

In this blogpost we look at the temporal gaps between the events described in the New Testament and their communication to us today. We will see that as the memory gap (from an event to the original written account) is less than one generation and the copy gap (from the original written account to the oldest manuscript available today) is significantly less than for other ancient documents, we can trust the historical accuracy of the New Testament.

According to scholars, the New Testament was written between AD 50 and AD 95. And most of the events described in the New Testament occurred between 5 BC and AD 65. But why was the New Testament written so long after the events it describes (up to about 65 years)?

Oral communication

The major way in which events and ideas were communicated in the ancient world was through the spoken word. It was an oral society. Many people were illiterate and writing materials were scarce. There were few books (scrolls) and they were very expensive to produce. So information was passed on by word of mouth and oral accounts were valued above written accounts.

In oral communication, the accuracy of a message received by a listener depends on the reliability of the speaker (sender) and the reliability of the information that the speaker wants to communicate. A reliable speaker tells the truth (instead of lying) and the information they communicate is more reliable if the speaker has access to the original source of the information, such as eyewitnesses.

A message can become unreliable if it passes through many intermediate speakers between the original speaker and the final listener. This is demonstrated in the telephone (Chinese whispers) game in which one person whispers a message to the ear of the next person through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. What usually happens is that the statement announced by the last player differs significantly from that of the first player. Obviously, if a message (or story) has been retold by many people, some of it can change if people forget parts of what they are told.

But the telephone (Chinese whispers) game doesn’t apply to the New Testament, because the time period when it was communicated orally was less than 65 years, which is one lifetime, and not many lifetimes. I call the gap to the first written account of the New Testament “the memory gap”, because in this case the accuracy of the message is dependent on the accuracy of the messenger’s memory.

The memory gap

The New Testament was written by the apostles and their associates who were eyewitnesses to the events they described.  An apostle had accompanied Jesus Christ during His 3-year ministry (from His baptism to His ascension) and had been with the other apostles when Christ was resurrected (Acts 1:21-22). So they knew Jesus very well. This means they had accurate source of the information.

The memory gap for the gospels is 30-55 years. Mark, Matthew and Luke were probably written in the AD 60s, and John about AD 85. Some skeptics claim that, even with eyewitnesses, memory isn’t trustworthy over that period of time and that all kinds of things can contaminate the message. But the accuracy of the New testament message is enhanced by the fact that:
– there were multiple witnesses. According to the Old Testament, there must be at least two witnesses to establish the truth in a court case (Dt. 17:6; 19:15). For example, the accounts of four separate witnesses are given in the gospels (Matthew, Mark. Luke and John).
– there were 12 apostles who could oversee (control) the accuracy of the message. In this was there was corporate control of the message.
– When it’s all you’ve got, memory works well. For example, children have good memories for stories and the words and tunes of songs.
– Memory works well if you have a stake in what took place. The apostles had a stake in the gospel message because they had given up everything else to follow Jesus and most of them were martyred for their Christian faith.
– Corporate repetition is important for retaining stories and memories. The Christian message was repeated at weekly church gatherings.

It seems as though the message in the gospels was put in writing when the eyewitnesses were near the end of their lives. This enabled an accurate record to be passed on to subsequent generations. In a eulogy children recollect events that occurred in their family up to 50 years earlier. When they do this, the gist of their accounts will be the same, although they will recollect different details. Likewise, the gospels have the same core message, but each writer records different details. Most alleged contradictions in the gospels are just minor variations in the account. One eyewitness will include a piece of information, while another one will leave it out. If the accounts were identical, then there could have been collusion or plagiarism.

As Paul was in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion, he knew what had happened. So when he was writing letters between 50 and 66 AD (20 to 26 years later), he knew what he was writing about. Paul was probably converted a few years after the resurrection. He summarized the gospel as “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance; Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4NIV). He received this message orally from other apostles (Gal. 1:18-19) and passed it on to others. That’s an example of oral communication.

Oral transmission was done very carefully in ancient times. For example, Paul commended the Corinthians “for following the teachings I passed on to you” (1 Cor. 11:2NLT). These teachings were prescribed standards for Christian living.

The copy gap

The Bible is like a library (or anthology) – it’s a collection of books written by different authors. The text of each book was originally written on a manuscript (written be hand) called an “autograph”, which in the case of the Bible would have been a scroll. The memory gap is the period of time between the writing of the autograph and the events described in the autograph.

We don’t have the autograph (original manuscript) of most ancient documents. Instead we have copies that were made at a later time. Textural critics use the available copies to reconstruct the original autograph. I will refer to the time gap between a copy and the autograph, as the “copy gap”. Obviously, other things being equal, a longer copy gap provides more opportunity for copy errors to accumulate in the manuscript.

Ancient texts were written on papyrus scrolls which may have had a useful life of about 100 years (and up to 500 years in dry climates). However, some papyrus codices (books) from the third century AD survive today (such as the Chester Beatty Papyri written about AD 200). Between the late 3rd century and the 5th century AD, papyrus scrolls and codices were replaced by parchment pages in a codex (book). Parchment (or vellum; made from animal skins) was more durable and could have a lifetime of about 1,000 years. For example, marginal notes in the Codex Sinaiticus indicate that it was still being used by scholars about 300 years after it was written.

codex-vaticanus-2-400pxAccording to classical scholars, the oldest surviving complete copies of single New Testament books were written around AD 200, and the oldest surviving (nearly) complete copy of the New Testament, was written about AD 350 (see below). And the oldest surviving fragments of manuscripts of the New Testament were written in the second century AD (such as the John Rylands Papyrus written about AD 125). The fragments and books could be 1st and 2nd generation copies of the autograph, while the whole New Testament (copied in the mid 4th century AD) could be a 2nd or 3rd generation copy of the autographs. It should be understood that “complete manuscript” when used by a textual critic does not necessarily mean 100% of it has survived. “Complete” is a technical term meaning that the manuscript has the beginning and end of the book in question. For example, a “complete copy of John” would be required to have John 1:1 and John 21:25 and substantial portions of those verses between.

It’s instructive to look at the “copy gap” (between the original autograph and the oldest complete manuscript) for other historical documents. The copy gap is about:
– 1,400 years for the Histories of Herodotus (written in the 5th century BC),
– 800 years for the works of Josephus in their original language of Greek (written about AD 90),
– 1,000 years for the Annals of Tacitus (written about AD 115),
– 750 years for the letters of Pliny the Younger (written AD 112),
– 700 years for the “The Twelve Caesars” by Suetonius (written AD 120).
It has been stated that the copy gap (for the oldest complete manuscript) for most non-biblical classical sources is about 700-1400 years.

On the other hand, for the New Testament, the copy gap is about 300 years – Codex Vaticanus was written in about 325-350 AD and Codex Sinaiticus in about 330-360 AD. So the gap is significantly shorter for the New Testament. A longer gap means more copies of copies, which means more potential for copy errors to appear in the text. So the version of the New Testament we have today should be a more accurate copy of the original than is the case for most other ancient historical documents.

The scholar Sir Frederic Kenyon concluded, “The interval then between the data of original composition and the earliest extant (complete) evidence becomes so small to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scripture have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established.”


An investigation of the gaps between the events described in the New Testament and their communication to us today shows that as the memory gap (from an event to the original written account) is less than one generation and the copy gap (from the original written account to the oldest complete manuscript available today) is significantly less than for other ancient documents, we can trust the historical accuracy of the New Testament.

Appendix: Dating the New Testament

We can infer that most of the NT was written before AD 70, because there is no mention of the invasion of Jerusalem by the Romans and the destruction of the Jewish temple. This event was prophesied in Matthew, Mark and Luke. So these gospels were written before AD 70.

Also, the martyrdoms of James in 62 AD, Paul in 64 AD, and Peter in 65 AD, which would have had a significant impact on the Christian community aren’t mentioned in the New Testament. So Acts was written before 64 AD, and Luke was written before Acts (Acts 1:1-2). This is consistent with Paul quoting from Luke in 1 Timothy (Lk. 10:7; 1 Tim. 5:18).

Most scholars agree that John was written after Matthew, Mark and Luke because it seems to build on and supplement these. The fact that the destruction of Jerusalem is not mentioned in John may be because the book was written 15-20 years later, when the shock had worn off. Also, church fathers thought that John wrote Revelation in about AD 95 (during Domitian’s reign over the Roman Empire).

Written, January 2017

Also see: Is the New Testament reliable?
Can we trust our Bibles? How the Bible came to us.
Do we have the right Bible?

Partners In The Gospel

A look at the letter to the Philippian church

The Mission
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave instructions to His followers: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NIV). They were to be witnesses who told people everywhere about Jesus. This should also be our mission today.

Paul used another illustration: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us” (2 Cor. 5:20). As an ambassador represents his country in a foreign land, believers are to represent Jesus in our world. We are ambassadors for Christ, sent on a mission to speak on His behalf and carry out the business of the gospel.

The Message
The message to be brought to unbelievers is, “Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God … now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 5:20-21; 6:2). This is a dangerous activity because it is often strongly opposed: when Paul preached this message he was placed in jail (Mt. 10:17-23; Lk. 10:3; Eph. 6:19-20). What was Paul’s motivation to continue in such a hazardous occupation? It was Christ’s love for us that compelled him to live for the Lord instead of pleasing himself (2 Cor. 5:14-15).

The Messenger
Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples, “As You sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (Jn. 17:18). That Jesus was sent to the world is mentioned six times in John 17. God sent Jesus to reveal His love to man. Similarly, Jesus has sent His followers to reveal God’s love to man. We are to be God’s ambassadors. In the Incarnation, God left heaven and came to where the people were. Similarly, His witnesses today should go from the local church to where the people are, because the gospel is spread primarily through relationships. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (Rom. 10:14-15).

Evangelists are those who share Jesus with others more easily; it is a God-given gift (Eph. 4:8,11). We need to acknowledge them and let them use their gifts where the people are. Let them “do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5). Some evangelists are: Peter and John, who took the gospel to many Samaritan villages (Acts 8:25); Paul and Barnabas, who preached the good news in Lystra and Derbe (Acts 14:7); and Paul, who preached to those who had never heard of Christ (Rom. 15:20; 1 Cor. 1:17).

Partners In The Gospel
Paul’s Philippian letter illustrates the relationship between a local church and a missionary. It describes the partnership between Paul and the church at Philippi: “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:4-5). They shared a common interest. Paul called them co-workers, which illustrates that evangelists and missionaries can’t work alone – they need the local church (Phil. 4:3). This partnership was fostered by communication, visitation, prayer, and practical support.

Paul wrote this letter while he was under house arrest in Rome (Phil. 1:13; 4:22). The Philippians had heard that he was in prison, so they sent him money. Epaphroditus took the gift to Paul and stayed to help him. While there, he became very ill. When he was ready to go back to the church in Philippi, Paul sent this letter with him to thank the Philippians for their gift, to encourage them, and to warn them about false teachers.

Paul and the Philippian church communicated with each other. His letter gave them news about his work in the gospel – how God enabled him to witness to the Roman soldiers in prison (Phil. 1:12-18). He also expressed appreciation for the work of Timothy and Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:19-30). He shared his passion with them; “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” and “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Phil. 1:21; 4:13). His life was centered on Christ; he lived by faith.

Paul was aware of their struggles. He knew about the disagreement between Euodia and Syntyche (Phil. 4:2-3). He knew enough about their situation to warn them against false teachers. He looked forward to hearing from them. He and Timothy had a genuine interest in their welfare (Phil. 2:1-20; 3:1-3). So local churches, evangelists and missionaries need to communicate regularly by letters, phone and e-mail.

Face-to-face communication is most effective, and relationships grow when people spend time together. Epaphroditus was sent from Philippi to take care of Paul’s needs; he risked his life to help Paul (Phil. 4:18; 2:25-30). He was willing to sacrifice his own interests and health for the gospel.

We read that Paul sent Tychicus to Ephesus and Colossae. “Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose … that he may encourage you” (Eph. 6:21-22). “Tychicus will tell you all the news about me … I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts … They will tell you everything that is happening here” (Col. 4:7-9). Paul also wanted to visit the believers at Thessalonica, but when he couldn’t, he sent Timothy to visit and bring back news from them (1 Th. 2:17; 3:6). Local churches, evangelists and missionaries need to visit one another to share news personally.

Paul knew that the church at Philippi was praying for him and he prayed for them (1:4,19). He knew the power of prayer, and was confident that through their prayers he would be delivered from prison (Phil. 1:19). He also urged them to pray for everything and not be anxious (Phil. 4:6). To the church in Thessalonica he wrote: “Pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men” (2 Th. 3:1-2).

Christians should pray for evangelists and missionaries. First, we should pray that God would raise up more of them. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field” (Mt. 9:36-38). Jesus is the one to ask that more evangelists and missionaries would be identified and sent. Second, we should pray for their success. Paul asked for prayer to help him preach the gospel in prison: “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains” (Eph. 6:19-20). Local churches, evangelists and missionaries need to share prayer needs and pray for each other.

Practical Support
Paul thanked the Philippians for their financial help. At one stage they were Paul’s only means of support, and they met his needs more than once in Thessalonica. Because they financed evangelism and missionary work, they were promised that God would meet their needs (Phil. 4:14-19).

We are to give because: it helps to meet a need (Phil. 4:14,16); it is an investment in the future – like storing up treasure in heaven (Lk. 12:33; Phil. 4:17); it pleases God, being an act of worship (Phil. 4:18). The church at Corinth was reminded to give generously to those in need (2 Cor. 8-9). This was viewed as being a service to the saints. Local churches need to be aware of the financial needs of evangelists and missionaries and endeavor to meet those needs.

Unity And Christ-Likeness
The church in Philippi is a good model for any local church to support evangelists and missionaries. What are the characteristics of such a church, besides communication, visitation, prayer, and practical support? Their partnership in the gospel endured; it was “from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:5); they remained loyal to the faith (Phil. 1:6-7); it was evident that God was at work in this church (Phil. 1:6).

Of course, like all humans they were not perfect, and Paul told them how to deal with one of their problems, a difference of opinion between two women. He tells them it was a problem of selfishness: “Everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 2:21). The solution was to “consider others better than yourselves,” to care about them as much as you care for yourselves, and be willing to serve them (Phil. 2:3-7). They were told to solve the problem, realizing that God was helping to make them willing and able to obey Him (Phil. 2:12-13). In this case a third party, possibly Epaphroditus, was asked to assist (Phil. 4:3).

Paul stressed that unity, being like-minded, loving one another, and working together with a common purpose was important (Phil. 1:27; 2:1-8). Do we pull together? Are we looking for ways to work together even though we might disagree? Do we think the best or the worst of people? Do people have to bend over backwards to please us? Do we disregard the opinions of others? Local churches need a shared vision and common goals.

Paul mentions five things that can help us come together in unity: remember what you have received; resolve to pull together; resist selfish attitudes and actions; regard others as more important than yourself; and consider the needs of others (Phil. 2:1-4). They were to have the same attitude as Christ, who left heaven and became the perfect servant on earth.

The local church should encourage Christians to be witnesses and ambassadors for Christ wherever they live, wherever they go. We should pray that God would raise up more evangelists and missionaries, and give them success in spreading the good news. And we should partner with them in the gospel by: communicating with them; exchanging personal visits; praying for them; and supporting them.

We see from the letter to the Philippians that the key is unity and Christ-likeness. We should encourage these characteristics in one another. As Paul wrote, “Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus.”

Published: December 2003

Target Your Messages

Preachers and teachers

God is in the business of communication, and the Bible is His super-special message to us – given so we can be saved, and tell others about His marvelous gift (2 Cor. 5:19-20; 9:15; 1 Th. 1:8). So Christians should endeavor to be good communicators, especially preachers and teachers.

God has communicated to mankind either directly as He did to Abraham, through a prophet or teacher such as Isaiah or Paul, or through the text of the Bible. Today He speaks to us through the Bible, as it is read or presented by others. We should communicate the messages in God’s Word to others by our words and by our example (Mal. 2:6-7) – to turn people from sin to the Savior.

When communicating, it is important to: research the receivers of the message; catch their interest so they pay attention; tell them what to know – influence their thinking; tell them what to do – influence their behavior. Let’s look at three examples from the New Testament.

Jesus In Samaria
In John 4:4-42 we read about a missionary journey undertaken by Jesus to the country of Samaria. When He arrived at the town of Sychar, being tired from the journey, He sat down beside the well and talked with a Samaritan woman.

Research the receivers. As the Son of God, Jesus knew all about those He spoke to. He knows people’s thoughts (Mt. 9:4; 12:25). On this occasion He knew that the Samaritan woman had been married five times and that she wasn’t married to the man she was living with (Jn. 4:17-18).

Catch their interest. Jesus began the conversation by asking for a drink of water. Although his request was simple, she was amazed because usually Jews would not speak to Samaritans. Then He offered her “living water.” At this stage she didn’t understand that He was referring to eternal life. Next He told her that she had been married five times and that she wasn’t married to the man she was living with. She was astounded at this and assumed He was a prophet.

Tell them what to know. Now that He had her attention, Jesus said that He was the promised Messiah that they were expecting to come (Jn. 4:26). This didn’t need to be explained, as the woman knew that the Old Testament prophets had foretold the coming of the Messiah.

Tell them what to do. The woman now had to decide whether to believe the news she had been given. From her response, it is obvious that she accepted that Jesus was the Messiah. As this was the greatest news that could happen, Jesus didn’t need to tell her what to do next – she was so excited that she told everyone in the town the good news.

Response. Many of the Samaritans believed that Christ was the Savior of the world as a result of her testimony: “Many of the Samaritans … believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’” (Jn. 4:39-42 niv). Here we see that the woman passed on the message to others like a chain reaction (2 Tim. 2:2). This shows that the words of our messages can be important in leading others to Christ.

Messages To Jews
This pattern of communication is also evident in various messages given by the apostles to Jews in the book of Acts.

Research the receivers. In this case the apostles were speaking to fellow Jews – they had a common heritage. This means they knew them very well, including their needs and interests.

Catch their interest. On these occasions the apostles usually began by recounting incidents from Jewish history. It may have been prophecies by Joel (Acts 2:17-21), mention of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Acts 3:13) or facts about their ancestors such as King David (Acts 2:29). Stephen recounted the lives of Abraham, Joseph and Moses (Acts 7:2-53).

Tell them what to know. Then they told the people that Jesus was the Christ and the evidence of this was the fact that He was raised from the dead (Acts 2:24, 32, 36; 3:15). When the people were convicted of this, they became upset and asked what they should do (Acts 2:37).

Tell them what to do. They were urged to repent by turning from their sins and turning to follow God and show this by being baptized (Acts 2:38; 3:19).

Response. There were two responses to this preaching. First, many became believers (Acts 2:41; 4:4). Second, the religious leaders were angry and put the speakers in jail (Acts 4:1-3). On some occasions the message was cut short by the opposition, such as when Stephen addressed the Jewish leaders (Acts 7:57-58) and when Paul addressed a crowd in Jerusalem (Acts 22: 22-24).

Paul In Athens
When Paul was in Athens he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. As a result, he was invited to speak to the Areopagas, the council in Athens that met on Mars hill (Acts 17:16-34).

Research the receivers. Paul was “greatly distressed” that the city of Athens was full of idols. He “walked around” and looked carefully at their objects of worship (Acts 17:16, 23). He was with the people in the market place day by day and debated with their philosophers (Acts 17:17-18). So Paul did his homework and got to know the people of Athens very well.

Catch their interest. When given the opportunity to address the Areopagas, Paul began with their objects of worship, saying he had seen an altar with the inscription “To an unknown God.” He said, “Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you” (Acts 17:23). He also quoted one of their poets (Acts 17:28). As he was speaking to Gentiles and not Jews, they didn’t have a background knowledge of the Old Testament, so he found another subject of common interest.

Tell them what to know. After arousing their interest, Paul told them about the true God, the Creator who made the world and everything in it (Acts 17:24). He began with creation and then emphasized that God is not an idol – He is separate from creation (Acts 17:29).

Tell them what to do. Then Paul told the Athenians to repent by turning away from their idols and turning to God, or face God’s judgment (Acts 17:30-31). God showed that Jesus would be the judge by raising Him from the dead.

Response. When he mentioned the resurrection, some sneered, some believed and some said, “We want to hear more about this later” (Acts 17:32-34).

It is interesting to note that when Paul spoke in a Jewish meeting, he used the approach under the heading “Messages to Jews” (Acts 13:15-45). However, he used the story of creation when he spoke to those who were not familiar with the Old Testament (Acts 14:15-17).

Successful Communication
As an archer strives to hit the bull’s eye, believers should endeavor to target their messages. When this occurs there is an obvious response in the receiver. The things that can help us reach the target in our communication are:

Research the receivers. These are the targets. Know what life is like for them. What are their interests, their dreams, their concerns, their needs? Ask them questions. Listen to the answers and make sure you know them and understand their situation. Empathize with them, as Christ has compassion for people (Mt. 9:36; 14:14; 15:32). If you don’t know the target, you don’t know where to aim, making it difficult to carry out the next point.

Catch their interest. Start on common ground. Use stories, illustrations, metaphors or drama – whatever it takes to get their attention. Jesus did this on two levels. First, He came as a man: “He shared in our humanity” (Heb. 2:14). Second, He used many parables. If the receivers are familiar with the Bible, build on this by asking if they understand it (Acts 8: 30). If they need to be introduced to the Bible, start at the beginning with the creation story and the origin of sin.

Tell them what to know. These are facts and principles that should be planted in their minds so they can understand the Scriptures and God’s purposes (Lk. 24:45). Be careful to take the context into account when interpreting Scripture. Speak the truth in love – your attitude is important (Eph. 4:15). Speak with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15). Include personal experiences – Peter and John said, “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Remember, this is not just intellectual knowledge for its own sake, because next we should tell them what to do.

Tell them what to do. God’s Word demands a response – we should “do what it says” (Jas. 1:22). His truths should be practiced in how we think and how we behave. True Christian faith leads to good works (Jas. 2:14-26). Jesus spoke so that people would put His words into practice (Mt. 7:24, 26). Make sure you include something on the application of the topic to people – otherwise it may be just an intellectual exercise and the receiver may think, “It’s got nothing to do with me.” Aim to challenge, convict and touch the conscience, but don’t seek to cause guilt feelings.

Finally, speak clearly – use words and concepts that are familiar to the receiver (1 Cor. 14:9, 11). Paul asked for prayer that he would make his messages as clear as possible (Col. 4:4). Avoid making the message too long and summarize the main points to communicate the most important part of the message (1 Cor. 15:3).

May God help us to cover all these points when communicating with others.

Published: July 2002

See other articles in this series:
Illustrate your messages
Prepare your messages