Qualities of a Good Speaker
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
We have the honor and responsibility to carry out the Great Commission that Jesus gave to his church (Matthew 23:18-20).
The great commission gives clear direction to the Lord’s churches on what our primary mission is: to share the truth of God’s Word and His Son, Jesus Christ. However, it is important to acknowledge that sharing your faith with both believers and unbelievers can sometimes be stressful and difficult. In fact, some people feel that it is impossible to talk about their faith due to their personalities. There is a lot of truth to that situation. However, there is hope for all of us. While it may come easier to some, we must realize that Jesus was not speaking to top notch public speakers when He issued the commission.
We will be focusing on qualities that will us to help understand how we can teach even when we feel like we can’t. Many of the qualities of a good speaker are standards set by the world. However, as we will see in this lesson, God’s power and will are stronger than human limitations.
The basic idea behind eloquence is being a good public speaker. It describes someone who can get up in front of a group of people and speak flawlessly and without stuttering or hesitation. An eloquent person can be standing in front of a group and can make you feel like he or she is talking directly to you – even while addressing ten, one hundred, or even more than one thousand people.
By the way, Moses was not eloquent. The following verses in Exodus come from the account where the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush. God had just declared that Moses would be the voice of the Lord in Egypt.
10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.
11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?
12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.
13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.
14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.
15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.
16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.
So there you have it. Moses declared himself to be incapable of being the Lord’s representative to Egypt. His belief was that his so-called physical limitations would prevent him from doing as God commanded. However, God had other plans. God is the maker of all things, including our mouths.
The result of God’s almighty power dealing with Moses and his weakness is illustrated in Deuteronomy 5:1.
1 And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.
Moses followed through with God’s direction. He spoke, and Israel listened.
Let’s consider a man in the Bible that was an eloquent speaker. His name was Apollos.
24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
Apollos fell short on his knowledge in this time of his life. I’m not saying that he was a false preacher, because verse 24 said that he was “mighty in the scriptures.” That means that he had a great understanding of what the Old Testament was about. He understood the promises of the coming Messiah, but he did not know that the coming of Jesus Christ had fulfilled that promise. Notice how Aquila and Priscilla were able to expound “unto him the way of God more perfectly.” One very important thing to note about Aquila and Priscilla is that they were not a Pastor and Pastor’s wife team. They were church members doing as the Lord had commanded. It’s a common misconception that the Pastor is the one who is supposed to do all the work, but it is clear from the Bible that each church member has a responsibility to share the truth of God’s Word as well. It says nothing about Aquila and Priscilla being eloquent. This demonstrates that there is more to the message of the gospel that how well you speak.
Confidence and Boldness
Have you ever seen someone standing before a crowd and noticed the obvious anxiety in his or her voice? It is not only uncomfortable for the speaker, it is uncomfortable for the audience as well.
We have discussed many times before about he importance of the armor of God. We are in a spiritual war and therefore need spiritual armor. However, I’m not going to spend the time now to discuss each piece of armor. What I am going to share is a prayer request that Paul shares. Take note of verses 18 through 20 in the following passage.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Paul simply asks that the church in Ephesus in verse 19 to pray for him as well. He was asking that they pray that God give him the right words to say when he preaches the gospel. However, he was asking for more than just the words, he wanted the ability to speak the words BOLDLY! We talked about the idea of being confident in the previous section, and the same can be applied to the word “boldly.” That is, speaking in a way that does not show fear. But, recall that many of our discussions have centered on the spiritual and not the physical.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
These words of Paul are very powerful and are (to me) very encouraging. Every word that Paul spoke while proclaiming the gospel was given to him directly from God. He did not depend on any of his own wisdom. He depended on God, and so should we.
Dealing with a Tough Crowd
The tough crowd is more than dealing with a group who doesn’t get your jokes. Consider the prophet Ezekiel and what he had to deal with.
1 And he [God] said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
2 And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.
4 For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.
5 And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.
6 And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
7 And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.
8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.
God basically told Ezekiel that Israel was not going to listen to his preaching. The Lord mentions several times that Israel is a rebellious nation and a rebellious house. However, Ezekiel was to speak anyway.
Well, that was the Old Testament. Jesus gave his church the following command concerning our responsibilities to preach.
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
Did you notice that not much has changed? You might agree that we are dealing with aggressive opposition even today in this world. If you share the truth of God’s word, you will be ridiculed and humiliated. However, we are not exempt from the commandment of Jesus Christ. No one knows what it’s like to deal with hostile crowds better than Jesus Christ himself.
There is a lot to say for those with experience. Consider Jeremiah the prophet. He probably had one of the loudest mouths for the Lord of anyone in the Bible, but he didn’t start out that way.
6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
Jeremiah was called by God to preach to Israel, but he did not feel qualified to carry out such a demanding task.
Isaiah the prophet acknowledged that the source of his words came from God above. God not only shared what to say, but when to say it.
4 The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.
Did you know that there was a day when our pastor, Bro Jim Brasseal, did not have any experience preaching? Praise the Lord that his inexperience did not stop him from pursuing the grand calling of being a pastor. Now, we can learn from his 47+ years of experience because he trusted in the Lord’s ability to put the words in his mouth.
There is more in this grand effort of teaching that just speaking. We are also to be active listeners. I don’t just mean listening to a sermon or a lesson. Did you know that it’s also OK to listen to a person that is LOST?
19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
“Swift to hear” means more than just hearing. It implies an understanding and acknowledgement. We should actually take in and listen to the things that are going on around us, especially things relating to the “word of truth.” This even means letting a lost person finishing his thought. Why should they listen to us if we aren’t going to listen to them? It’s a great way to gain their trust and confidence.
“Slow to speak” does not mean that we should not speak at all or that we should hold back if we have something valuable to share. It means that we should give careful thought to things before we say them.
An important quality that we must achieve in being an effective witness is to know what we are talking about.
2 Timothy 2:15
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Studying the Bible helps us to prepare for any and every situation that we encounter in this life on earth. However, there are several points to take away from this verse in 2 Timothy. The act of studying is a way of actively demonstrating our loyalty to Him, and if God approves, He will bless the efforts. Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). You never have to ask people to take your word for it. Everything in the Bible points to Jesus Christ, and there is no substitute.
Second, we never have to be ashamed if we allow the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts when we study. We can share the Truth of God’s Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, without being embarrassed or ashamed. Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Paul stated earlier to Timothy, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8).
Finally, through the efforts of exploring God’s Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to work, we can accurately share the Gospel. Once again, Paul stated, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). The power rests in God, not man.
Having a good understanding of the plan of salvation is vital in sharing, and the Holy Spirit can help us achieve understanding...IF WE ALLOW HIM!
The main point in this lesson is that we consider how great our God is. You see, he used so many unqualified men in the Bible to carry out his will. Friends, I hope you will consider these words encouraging and uplifting. Know that God is always with us (Matthew 28:20).
Jesus left us with a great promise speaking of the Holy Spirit who came on the day of Pentecost.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Everything that we need is in God’s Word. My prayer for all of us is that we will allow the Holy Spirit to do His job so that we can do ours...Go and Teach.