This is a short blog on the rhetorical question. In my observation of many sermons, preachers like to use rhetorical questions. A rhetorical question is a question that does not really want answer. Sometimes, its purpose is to cause the listeners to think. Other times, its purpose is to exhort the listeners to action. Whatever the purpose behind such a question (I’m sure my readers can name quite a few more), here are the observations on its usage.
The rhetorical question is like dessert. Eating too much of it will overwhelm your system. Some preachers get very excited in throwing in all sorts of emotive rhetorical questions to call the audience to action. No matter what the question is, every question is there to seek an answer, even if the answer is painfully obvious. By this bombardment of rhetorical questions, the preacher might cause the listener to feel frazzled. Thinking is great. Being badgered is not.
My suggestion on rhetorical questions is the same as for accessorizing men’s clothing or cologne. Less is more. If one rhetorical question, followed by a strategic pause, is good enough for the embellishment of the sermon, don’t use two. The audience will get the point of a well-placed question.