An online devotional for writers
The others accepted his advice. (Acts 5:40, NLT)
An expert is an authority or specialist in a particular field, whether it’s a geriatric upper extremities orthopedic surgeon or a teenager who has reached the highest level of a video game.
The expert’s comments are powerful social proof to use in persuasive writing because he knows the topic thoroughly, knows the issues associated with the topic, and has earned respect from others in the field.
One such expert was Gamaliel (guh-MAY-lih-ehl). He was a well-respected teacher and member of the first century Great Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council of 71 rabbis.
Picture this scene that demonstrates Gamaliel’s influence: the Sanhedrin was infuriated with Peter and John for preaching about Jesus in the temple. Seventy-one angry, powerful men were ready to unleash a death sentence on two backwater fishermen.
But Gamaliel advised his colleagues to be cautious. And the Sanhedrin – the other seventy men – listened. Thanks to Gamaliel’s influence, the lives of the two apostles were spared.
People listen to the views of people they respect. Gamaliel is a perfect example of the persuasive power of social proof.
An expert provides persuasive social proof.
It can be easy for me to avoid seeking expert advice because I am intimidated. Forgive me. Let me seek out specialists and their expertise. Let me use their words to give authority and credibility to my writing.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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