Preaching is serious business. It speaks to issues of right and wrong. Good and bad. Salvation and damnation. Heaven and Hell.
Yet, I believe there is a place for employing humor in teaching God’s Word.
Elton Trueblood, the noted and often quoted 20th century theologian and author of 33 books on very serious subjects once wrote a book entitled “The Humor of Christ. It is said that Trueblood was inspired to write on the topic after reading Jesus words about specks and logs in people’s eyes that made his four-year old laugh. (Matt 7:3-5)
Jesus often used humor, dry wit, and satire in making his points. The idea of a camel going through the eye of a needle was an amusing way to make a serious point about one’s attitude toward wealth (Lk 18:25).
The prophet Isaiah employed humor while poking fun at the folly of idolatry (Isa 40:18-20; 41:5-7; 44:9-20).
Much of the humor in the Bible is subtle. And often hidden in the language differences. But there is humor found in irony, sarcasm, word-play, exaggeration, hyperbole, imagery and funny situations.
The book of Proverbs has some expressions that will bring a smile to your face. Proverbs 11:22 says, “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” What a visual description!
Suppose Solomon had a fight with one of his wives when he wrote, “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife” (21:9).
This month ThePreachersWord is participating in The Ultimate Blog Challenge on facebook. The goal is to write one new post every day for 31 days. So, we will add Saturday and Sunday this month to our normal schedule. On Saturday we will share some humor that hopefully will bring a smile to the your lips and teach an element of Truth.
This funny story, told by the late Paul Harvey, illustrates the value of using humor to make a serious point.
The Butterball company set up a Thanksgiving hotline to answer questions about cooking turkeys. One woman asked if she could use a turkey that had been in the bottom of her freezer for … 23 years. The Butterball expert—how’s that for a job title—told her it would probably be safe if the freezer had been below zero the entire time. But the expert warned her that even if the turkey was safe to eat, the flavor would likely have deteriorated and wouldn’t be worth eating. The woman said, “That’s what I thought. We’ll give the turkey to our church.”
What are you giving to God? Leftovers? Odds and Ends? An afterthought?
“I will not give unto the Lord that which costs me nothing” (2 Sam 24:24)
Have a great day!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
12 responses to “Using Humor To Teach Truth”
Giving God the “leftovers” is serious business! May we learn to give sacrificially. Thanks brother!
I became a clown for a period of time, people called it my ministry, I was surprised to hear that. It was fun. I went to the hospital and senior living centers with other clowns. It was amazing to see the transformation in people’s bodies with simple, silly, and clean humor.
Thanks for sharing that, Linda. I have a friend who turned her “clown” act into a business, but it was an effective ministry. Humor cheers up sad hearts. Glad to know you liked the post.
I can only imagine the look on Peter’s face when he caught a fish and opened its mouth to find a coin inside.
So True, David. In fact, there’s quite a few places where you’d love to know the reaction or expression to some teaching or situation.
Loved your post
I love that you point out humor in actual Bible verses! It’s easy to overlook and it’s one book that can be taken very sternly. I appreciate you pointing out the lighthearted side!
Thanks, Shannon, for reading and taking the time to comment.
Ken, I love your topics and your writing. I was hoping you would participate in the UBC this month. This is a great post. And I really appreciate your recommending Elton Trueblood’s book, The Humor of Christ. Blessings to you!
Thank you so much, Kebba. I really appreciate your kind words about my blog. You have just ended my day on a high note. Thanks! 🙂
My favorite is instance of Bible humor is Proverbs 27:14. My paraphrased version is “He who rises early in the morning and blesses his neighbor in a loud voice, it will be counted to him as cursing.” I’m a late sleeper because I work until the wee small hours, so I love this verse.