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The Word Picture: How Jesus Used 1-Sentence Stories

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

 In his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them. (Mark 4:34, NLT)

A Word For Writers

One thing that fascinates me about Jesus’s stories is that many are so short.

The Word Picture: how Jesus used 1-sentence stories as illustrations with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #ChristianWriting #Storytelling #Copywriting

In fact, some are just one sentence long. They are quick word pictures.

For instance, in The Parable of the Yeast (Matthew 13:33), Jesus used one sentence to explain that the Kingdom of God may have small beginnings, but will grow exponentially – just as yeast, though tiny, allows dough to expand aggressively.

He used the Parable of the Hidden Treasure (Matthew 14:44) – again, one sentence – to  illustrate that the Kingdom of God has inestimable value.

And the one-sentence Parable of the Storeroom (Matthew 13:52) demonstrates that those who understand the Kingdom of God are to share its good news liberally.

In each instance, Jesus paints a word picture to illustrate a truth.

A one-sentence story can be just as effective as a story that takes up nearly a full chapter. The distinguishing factor is not length, but rather the visual image you draw by using words. 

A Wise Word

Use word pictures – no matter the length – as illustrations.

A Word To Pray

Heavenly Father,

Your Word is filled with word pictures. They are a powerful way to make a point. Show me how to find and use word pictures to give my writing color and clarity.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.


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