You get a sense for the kind of language that is meant by this word. A proverb. A slogan. A saying. A short, pithy truth-capsule.

Jesus used this kind of language all the time. Here is an example:

  • Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 (NIV)

This teaching is quoted by preachers. It is quoted by atheists. It is etched into stone in cathedrals and courthouses and schools. You probably memorized it without trying to memorize it.

Here is another one. See if you can recall what comes after this:

  • You are the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13a (NIV)

Jesus explains himself a bit: “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Matthew 5:13a (NIV) Can you recall what he says next?

  • You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14a (NIV)

It is easy to recall because of the way it is written. Because Jesus reduced it to a slogan, it sticks to the brain. Andy Stanley says, “Memorable is portable.” That is, or course, a memorable saying in and of itself. Bruce Wilkinson said, “Don’t use paragraphs; use short, punchy sentences.”[1] Rick Warren said, “People don’t remember sermons or speeches—they don’t even remember paragraphs. What people remember are. . . slogans.”[2]


[1] The Seven Laws of the Learner: How to Teach Almost Anything to Practically Anyone by Bruce Wilkinson

[2] Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Church.