When we want to illustrate causation or chronology, we usually motion from left to right: that’s the way we do math, that’s the way we write. Preachers sometimes do so, but most will begin at their left and move or gesture toward their right. That is, what seems the natural order to the speaker is backwards to the audience, who see movement as from right to left, that is, like Hebrew or Chinese or maybe some new math.
It’s a detail, and only we fussy ones who notice things like this will see the difference. A student in preaching class wouldn’t even lose a fraction of a point over it.
But it illustrates a larger truth: when preachers want to communicate clearly, they must go beyond, “Does this seem clear to me?” They must put themselves in the place of the listeners and ask, “But will it be clear to them?”
For related articles, search for PREACHING in the right-hand column. Your right, not mine.
“Preaching means putting yourself in the place of the listener,” by Gary Shogren, PhD in New Testament Exegesis, Professor of New Testament at Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica