Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Just Say the Word!: Writing for the Ear Paperback – May 8, 1981
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Back Cover
Drawing on nearly thirty years of experience in critiquing sermon delivery, Jacks here offers a practical, hands-on approach to writing sermons that consider listeners first. Jacks gives samples and examples of writing that effectively captures and holds an audience's attention, and he offers practical tips and suggestions intended to help each of us find a preaching style and voice of our own. He also shows how to translate the jargon of theological textbooks into everyday language, suggests methods for rewriting sermons to avoid some of the pomposity of sermonic proclamation, and demonstrates ways to retell biblical narratives in fresh and imaginative ways. Just Say the Word! Writing for the Ear is a valuable resource that will help pastors and lay leaders communicate as effectively as possible the faith that is ours to share.
About the Author
(1934–2002) Was the Arthur Sarell Rudd Professor of Speech Communication in Ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey.
Top customer reviews
Short sentences with no sub clauses, no sentence more than one line long so that eye can leave the text and scan the congregation with lots of eye-contact. So no run-over sentences.
A tutor once told me that I write sermons in blank verse and that I should never lose that. Well, I haven’t.
Don’t waste words, no long words, especially Greek to show off your knowledge.
Avoid the passive voice.
‘I was informed by him that he intended to go…’ = ‘He told me he was going…’
‘I am of the opinion that…’ = ‘I think.’
‘I don’t need to tell you…’ – then don’t tell! Strike it out.
Approximately = about
Prior to = before
I’d like to share with you something that happened to my friend Tim…. = Tim…
Do you really need words with more than two syllables? Egotistical = selfish.
Strike out ‘that’ and ‘which’.
Don’t feed the faithful with junk food – is your anecdote really necessary?
Don’t tell the congregation how you did your homework. Do they really need to be told, ‘When I looked at the passages in the lectionary for this week….’? Just dive in.
This book has some major problems. First, it is organized badly. The information that is practical hasn't been organized in a manner conducive to remembering it and the table of contents and index are worthless. Second, it has no real overarching theme, except that if you are writing a speech you should write it the way you would speak, not like a term paper (now you know). It doesn't really tell you how to do so. Istead of a coherent system, Jacks provides a laundry list of isolated tips with mimimal or no explanation.
The book is a collection of seemingly random thoughts on things that are nice to do when planning and writing a speech. The list of items is huge. In one section SUMMARY, the author provides a handy list of over 50 tips you would have to remember WHILE SPEAKING. Several are contradictory, some redundant, and many expressed so badly that the author's purpose can hardly be divined. The whole book is like this: confusing and impractical.
Further, this book is badly written. The author bulks it up with lots of quotes and excerpts that he found interesting (although the link to the subject matter can be unclear) and lots of white space. $22 is an obscene price to pay.
A list of good books:
Aristotle's Rhetoric - this is the classic. It can be a little tough to read, but some translations are easier than others and there are even commentaries. The text is still taught, from high schools to graduate programs. If you have time, it's great and timeless. Inexpensive.
Cialdini's Influence - the author writes about general tactics of persuasion, but they all work in speeches. The focus is more on the psychology of persuasion. It's an interesting read, and cheaper. Cialdini has a much better resume than Jack, too.
Carnegie's Quick & Easy Guide to Public Speaking - not very in-depth, written for absolute beginners. It isn't the best out there, but it covers the basics and is a quick read. If you are at the point where Jacks might be helpful to you, you should buy this instead. Very inexpensive.
Lucas' Art of Public Speaking - this is actually a commonly used textbook. It includes lots of training exercises, samples, and excerpts from good authors. It also covers different types of speeches. It's in its 8th Edition at the time of my review, but you can still find the 7th for a bargain. If you will be speaking often (a preacher, for example), this is the perfect book. It will give you all the tools you need.
Whatever your needs, good luck on your next speech or presentation!
*** Edit 4/6/08: I guess some people like "Just say the Word!" My point is this: it is terribly written, horribly organized, and contains less substantive material than other similarly priced books. You will learn better from a competently written guide. I've had the bad fortune now to come across this book in two educational settings and the only reasons I can think that someone would use this book is if they like the idea that it is specific to preaching or because they don't know any better. I've worked with preachers, studied the style, and even took a class from two prominent preachers who train preachers. My analysis of this book is not a rejection of its emphasis on preaching, but a recognition that a preacher ought to be well prepared to speak the Word. This book doesn't get better just because the writer comes from a religious perspective, sadly. The idea that you should prepare a speech differently than a written work is 1000s of years old and some folks have done a better job explaining it than Jacks. If you are a preacher, you owe it to yourself, to the Word, and to your flock to turn to the best resources available.
Simply put, this was impactful stuff. Highly recommended! Your listeners will be thrilled at the changes in your presentations.