Jump to content

The Power of the Right Analogy


Recommended Posts

I spent three days this week unable to write. It was because I was exhausted at the end of the day is what I told myself. I was eager and excited to complete the current chapter of my book on Ecclesiastes, had completed my research and already written a third of the chapter. Then I got to the section about Ecclesiastes 10.

 

It was more than exhaustion. I had a vague sense of what I was trying to say with the section, but how could I tie it all together? I needed a pedagogical structure. I needed an analogy.

 

Analogies can make prose memorable. A visual metaphor can make the facts easier to digest and remember. Jesus spoke in parables and it worked for him! The problem is, Proverbs 10 is like a dozen parables strung together. All I had was a loose categorization - they all have to do with kinds of work, like cutting stone, splitting wood, and digging.

 

Finally, I just read and reread the passage until the lights came on. Building a house! It was one of the latter verses that gave me the idea: a house with a leaky roof and sagging rafters.

 

A good analogy explains and makes ideas memorable.

 

A great analogy reveals deeper truth. This was the latter. Once I had the image of building a house - an image that the Apostle Paul likens the church to - I returned to the text. All of a sudden, every verse fit the analogy. Digging a pit? The foundation work. Quarrying stones? For the masonry work. Cutting logs? For the framing. Choosing wise or foolish people to be in charge? Hiring building contractors. Breaking through a wall? Demolition for site preparation. Fools multiplying words? That’s the real estate people advertising the house for sale! Sagging rafters? The roofing, as well as ongoing maintenance. Having a party? The celebration after the work is done.

 

Once I saw this, I finally saw Ecclesiastes 10 for the first time. When you are researching a topic to write about, do you have such a story to tell? Can you make all the pieces fit into a puzzle? It doesn’t always happen for me, but when it does, it is sweet.

 

So today I wrote the whole section and it worked. No exhaustion. No writer’s block.

 

Now what do I do about chapter 11? (I don’t think it has to do with bankruptcy...)

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.