In preaching or teaching settings, good illustrations are essential and with good reason: people tend to remember illustrations easier than other parts of a lesson or sermon. We see illustrations used throughout the Bible, from the Prophets to the teachings of Jesus. An essential part of any communicator’s “toolkit” is a good collection of illustrations, so today we are releasing the much-treasured AMG Illustrations Set comprising 4 volumes of over 4,000 illustrations on every topic from Actions to Worship.
The AMG Illustrations Set contains the following titles, each with over 1,000 illustrations per volume:
- Illustrations of Bible Truths
- A Treasury of Bible Illustrations
- Practical Bible Illustrations from Yesterday and Today
- Heartwarming Bible Illustrations
All of the illustrations were compiled from past issues of Pulpit Helps Magazine, so they have all been collected with the preacher and Bible teacher in mind.
Click/tap the image above for a larger view of the AMG Illustrations Set.
This past weekend, I was teaching from 1 Samuel 18-20 which details the friendship between Jonathan and David. Searching for the topic “friendship,” I found a number of entries, including these two:
“A friend—a true friend—the first person who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”
Friend! What a precious word. Most of us concur wholeheartedly with William Shakespeare who said:
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.
One of the privileges of friendship is being able to speak frankly. Little by little, and day by day, we become accustomed to saying what we think we ought to say instead of what we really think. How comfortable and how pleasant it is to speak freely without having to be on guard. As the Arabian says, “A friend is one to whom we may pour out the contents of our hearts, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away!”
Another privilege of friendship is that of being understood. Perhaps it was this quality which caused George Eliot to write: “Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” Understanding is to be expected of friends. Total agreement and acceptance? Not necessarily! As one anonymous writer has said, “The strength and sweetness of friendship depends on sincerity tempered by sympathy.”
A third privilege of friendship is the privilege of silence. If one is but a mere acquaintance we feel that we must talk. So we turn to such exciting subjects as the weather, our ailments, and our latest surgery. But what a joy it is to have a friend that will even understand your silence and not say, “My friend is not my friend anymore because he is not talking.”
Friends have mutual interests. They enjoy doing the same kinds of things, and talking about their shared interests. That’s why there is such great camaraderie between fishermen, woodworkers, gardeners, authors, etc.
Friends are mutually devoted to each other. When you are in trouble, it is not merely your friend’s duty but his privilege to stand by. If he is in trouble, you count it a privilege to help.
Friendship is this… and a whole lot more. But it causes one to ask, “Are God and I friends?”
Each volume contains both a subject and Scripture index. Of course, because these titles are in Accordance, even the content is fully searchable, allowing the user to find information that may have been missed when the publisher compiled the original indexes.
Bonus Tip: Create a User Group for all of your illustration and quotation titles that allows you to search through all of them at once using the Research tool.
If you're a preacher or teacher, your work is only half done when you've finished exegeting a passage. Next you face the daunting task of organizing what you've discovered into a meaningful sermon or lesson. Unfortunately, most commentaries focus on helping with the task of exegesis, but do little to help with the challenge of communication. The Exploring Commentary Series by John Phillips is different: it focuses on presenting the books it covers in a way that can be easily communicated with others.
First, Phillips organizes his commentaries around extensive alliterative outlines of each book. If your congregation expects you to alliterate every point and subpoint of your sermon, Phillips' outlines alone will be an enormous help. Here's an example of how Phillips outlines the book of Mark:
Even if you're not a big fan of such extensive use of alliteration, you'll likely find that Phillips' outlines help you divide a passage up into individual sermons or lessons, present the passage in a way your listeners can understand, and avoid getting side-tracked by minor points and rabbit trails.
In addition to his gift for outlining the books he covers, Phillips also has an engaging narrative style. He weaves helpful background information together with interesting stories and illustrations in a way that draws the reader into the text rather than taking the reader's focus off of the text.
For example, when commenting on Romans 1:20, Phillips quotes Longfellow to illustrate the power of nature to reveal God. He then follows it up with a quote by F. W. Boreham discussing the self-deception of the man who claims that "he does not need a church in order to worship. He finds God in nature." Boreham's point is that such a man finds God only in nature's beauty and must conveniently ignore its cruelty—a point which Phillips then goes on to illustrate with a poem by Robert Louis Stephenson. Phillips finally draws this discussion to a close in a way that clearly reinforces the message of Romans 1:20.
Phillips' commentaries read like the kinds of sermons and Bible lessons we would all like to hear. Preachers and teachers would do well to soak in the richness of Phillips' narrative style.
Phillips' Commentary consists of twenty-seven volumes covering Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Daniel, the Minor Prophets, and every book of the New Testament except Jude. It lists for $650.00, but you can pick it up for just $169.99 from now through April 3.
If you're looking for a commentary that can help you organize your material, craft better sermons and lessons, and illustrate them with engaging stories, you'll find Phillips Commentary to be an indispensable resource.