Lessons From Listening, Part 1

I rarely get to listen to other peoples’ speeches at tournaments. I compete in five events plus debate, and normally take several speeches to Semifinals and Finals. Down time is a rare commodity.

But yesterday, I was at a tournament in my area in which I wasn’t competing due to league differences. Because several of my friends were competing, I went to support them. I finally got to listen to some speeches! I listened to an Apologetics round and came out of it with seven lessons that you can apply to improve your speaking. I will be posting one of these lessons per day for the next seven days. Here’s the first lesson for you.

Lesson 1. Know Your Terms

One of the speakers was very eloquent and very smooth in speaking style, but had one fatal flaw in his speech: He misinterpreted what “inerrancy” is. He defined “inerrant” as “not changing”–that’s immutability, not inerrancy. Inerrancy means that the Bible is “in-error-ant”–it does not contain errors. Because of his misinterpretation, he ended up discussing “the inerrancy of Christ,” which is not a real theological term–no one discusses whether or not Christ contains errors. He also ended up discussing the accurate transmission of Scripture through the ages, which doesn’t directly relate to inerrancy. Hypothetically, the Bible could be inerrant (in the original manuscripts) but have been corrupted as it went from scribe to scribe. I certainly don’t believe that is the case, but accurate transmission and inerrancy are not the same thing. Make sure you know your terms.

If you own Thoroughly Equipped, you can read “Verbiage Imperative to and Efficacious for Discussing Theology: Big Theological Terms You Need to Know.” This is, quite simply, a theological glossary specifically for NCFCA and STOA Apologetics. You could even print this out on 4×6 cards and bring it into the round with you–that way, you’ll always avoid the fatal mistake of misinterpretation.

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