Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… A “paraprosdokian sentence” is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence, phrase, or larger discourse is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader (or listener) to reframe or reinterpret the first part of the sentence.
Let me give you some examples:
· I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming like the passengers in his car.
· Light travels faster than sound; this is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
· If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong!
· Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
· The early bird gets the worm, but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese.
· To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
These figures of speech are often insightful, funny and even instructive. Jesus often used figures of speech that caused the listener to do a double-take. “What did the Rabbi just say?” Jesus said things like:
· “The first shall be last”… Whaaaa?!
· “Give and you will receive”… Does that make sense?!
· “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other side”… That’s awful!
· “He who is not with me is against me”… but I just want to be neutral!
WHAT’S MY POINT?
In our everyday conversations let’s seek to be winsome in our words: instructive without condemning; pointing the way without poking a sore spot; sharing an insight without being a know-it-all.
Winning spiritually-lost people with language is important. We need to think before we open our mouths and “share a word in season”. I wish Bible teachers spent as much time in crafting their study or sermon as they did instudying for their message. People would hear more of the message if it were intentionally crafted to win their hearts, not just their ears.
Here are a few more paraprosdokian sentences to tickle your ears and penetrate your heart:
· I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted pay cheques.
· Always borrow money from a pessimist; he won’t expect it back.
· I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not sure.
· Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
· You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
· Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
Let’s be intentional about what we say and how we say it—something to think about.
Have a blessed week,
P.S. Our Fellowship National Conference (November 10-12) is in Toronto, featuring special speakers Ed Stetzer and Dom Ruso. Check our website for more information.