Jump directly to the Content

Pastors, I Think You Should Use ‘I Think’ Less Often

Preaching God’s truth from the pulpit doesn’t require equivocation.
Français
Pastors, I Think You Should Use ‘I Think’ Less Often
Image: Illustration by Mallory Rentsch / Source Images: Mohamed Abdelghaffar / Pexels

The other day while going for a jog, I listened to a sermon on the seventh commandment, which addresses adultery. In the 40-minute sermon, the preacher used the phrase I think over 40 times and the phrase we think another half dozen.

Of course, I was not counting at first. But as the preacher neared the conclusion, it occurred to me how often I’d heard that phrase. So, I went back and listened again and tallied the nearly 50 references.

Consider the following two examples. When talking about sexuality, he said, “I think all of that truth is grounded in Scripture.” Later in the sermon he said, “I think we have to take Jesus seriously when we wrestle with the biblical view of sexuality.”

Clearly the phrase I think functioned at the level of a subconscious tic, like saying umm or swaying side to side. And while these kinds of empty repetitions may be distracting to listeners, the theological import of sliding errr or ahhhh into a sentence amounts to essentially ...

July/August
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
My Dreams Had Come True. But the Panic Attacks Remained.
My Dreams Had Come True. But the Panic Attacks Remained.
How I discovered God’s peace and found relief from debilitating anxiety.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.
close