Clarity: The Responsibility of Every Christian Writer

I am thankful for blogs. Good writers who would otherwise go unread are able to make helpful and edifying insights available for public perusal and reflection. Nevertheless, I am convinced that ease of writing and posting does not always guarantee better writing. At the same time, I am also convinced that Christians have the responsibility—if we are going to write about Biblical truth and important theological issues—to cherish clarity above all other literary qualities.

As I look back over past entries, some of what I have written causes me to grimace. In several posts, clarity was sacrificed for cleverness; precise statements gave way to long, cumbersome sentences; and healthy content was smothered under a thick layer of syrupy rhetoric. Can you relate?

Yet, if we desire for our readers to be edified by our writing, then they must first be able to understand our writing. Veiling precious truth behind a cloak of showy words and phrases does nothing for our readers, and it only serves to swell our pride. And if we find this plea for clarity and simplicity to be an insult to our “writing ability,” then perhaps we need to ask ourselves why we are writing. Are we writing because we like to string fancy words together, or are we writing in order to serve others?

This does not mean that we must cast aside rich illustration, or purposely write dry, stiff prose—certainly not! What this does mean is that we should labor, every time we write, to make sure that what we write is clear, and that our communication has not been hindered by silly word games. Practically, this will mean carefully choosing words that enable learning instead of words that only show off our extensive vocabulary. It will mean spending more time over fewer entries to ensure that what we post falls under the category of quality rather than mere quantity. And it will even mean that we are willing to risk being regarded as unsophisticated and unscholarly by some of our readers because we desire their spiritual good far more than we covet their admiration.

Photo by Antonio Litterio

One thought on “Clarity: The Responsibility of Every Christian Writer”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s